(photography) High-end phones as usable digital cameras?

If, like me, you've recently purchased a brand-new digital camera (hi RS, RN, CR, RK!!) you may have people tell you stuff like this:

Yahoo! News - Megapixel Phones Encroach on Digital Camera Turf

"Asia's top mobile phone makers are rolling out handsets equipped with cameras so advanced many consumers may come to the conclusion they don't need a separate digital camera any more."

However, the same article goes on to explain:

"Megapixels are anyway waning as the main factor influencing purchases as people become better informed about specifications like lens quality, zoom performance and data storage capacity and special features such as anti-shake protection."

As a friend of mine who has a pretty decent camera phone knows, the fact that it is always around makes it more susceptible to wear and damage than a proper camera. The lenses on these are bad enough to start with; daily exposure to the elements doesn't help!

Updated 2005-07-24 13:51

But what's more important is the quality and number of lenses. Real cameras have multiple lenses in groups (you might see phrases like "7 lenses in 4 groups", for instance), and this is necessary to overcome various aberrations and distortions that a single lens or a smaller set of lenses cannot overcome. And then there's the lack of a proper autofocus mechanism, on most phone-cameras. Ultimately, it's the size of the instrument that causes the problem.

I've seen Sony T-3s and Casio Exilims suffer from the same problem as cameras added on to phones, although less severely. The pictures are fuzzy except for the ones shot in the conditions that are most ideal for this particular lens assembly (usually bright day, outdoors, medium distant object like a building or a tree). Anything else just sucks, when you compare it to a corresponding image taken with a real (even if it is compact) camera).

I myself now have a Motorola A780 Linux phone, with an integrated 1.3 MP camera, but I hardly use the camera except for emergencies or for fun. No photo from that camera can make me proud!!! w my Canon A80, on the other hand, is truly worth special treatment in the taking of photographs, and can handle a lot of variations (within reason).

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