Blog: Point and Shoot Digital Photography in the 2020’s – To Keep a Separate Camera, or Just use your Phone?

Do you remember having to carry around multiple devices to do many different things? You had your cell phone for calls, your CD Player (or iPod/MP3 player if you were cool) for music, and your digital camera for photos. If you didn’t mind taking 5 mins a message, you could text, but realistically Messengers (like MSN, ICQ, or AIM) and Email were your best forms of social media that you usually had to wait to get home and check on your desktop. Now? We carry all of those formerly chunky devices around in the palm of our hand, consolidated into one device with a nicely integrated operating system that has more computing power than NASA landing Neil Armstrong on the moon. And unless you’re a gamer, photographer, content producer, or are running a small server, not a lot of people still even run desktop computers anymore. Is this better for us? You could debate both ways for sure, but it’s certainly easier. What does this have to do with our topic? I’m just just using this as an example that even though things have changed drastically over the 20-some years of mobile device evolution, the point and shoot cameras that you remember from the heyday of digital cameras still exist. In fact, they’re still made by a handful of manufacturers – such as Canon, Sony, and Kodak.

How do they hold up to the modern cell phone images though? I’ll let you decide. The photo on the top is from a Canon Point and Shoot, the photo on the bottom, is from an iPhone 8.

What do you think? As much as I hate to admit it because I’ve always liked having a separate camera, the iPhone resulted in a much more crisp, and detailed image with virtually no manual adjustments other than making it slightly darker. The issue with this is the processing power – the camera is meant to be a camera, snap a simple photo and that alone. Its computing power is limited to doing what it needs to do, which isn’t inherently bad, you can offload that photo to a computer, and utilizing separate software edit the above image and get close to what you have in the below image, it’ll just take a little time to get it where you want it. But, when you take a photo on a modern phone you have the ability to snap, edit, stylize, and share all in one. You get the image you want on the first go, and can edit on device if you don’t.

I stated 2021 in the header, but realistically, this is 2019 technology we’re talking about – and while some things have changed, the principle of this all remains the same. They’re both quality images, and while the iPhone is objectively a better image off the bat, it’s just about what you see as right for yourself. Presently, I’m using an iPhone 11, it’s not the latest and greatest, or the top tier phone of it’s release year, but it has an amazing camera, and does exactly what I need it to do well. I still use the camera when I want to keep things separate, or need my phone out, but most of the time I just use the camera on the iPhone. It’s still supported (and sold) by the manufacturer, and will continue to receive updates, and get new software defined camera features.

Before this model I had an iPhone 8 (discussed above) from 2017-2019, a MotoZ Play from 2016-2017 (bad idea), and before that I utilized every (non-S model) iPhone from the 3g to the 6 (which was 2009-2017). I’m an Apple Fanboy for sure, but know that it’s debatably not even the best phone camera on the market anymore. The Sony Xperia line, and Samsung Galaxy models give them a run for your money for sure! Watching and being a part of the Phone Camera Evolutionary process has been interesting, when did you decide that keeping separate devices was no longer a necessity? Leave a comment, or drop us a line at blog@carlson-media.com and we can discuss!

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