Quality Image? Phone V Camera

Interesting debate had in the Dispo the other evening. Comment made was that a camera on a phone was, at some stage going to be as good as camera. An interesting discussion took place culminating in a question posed. If the statement were true then would you be comfortable if a professional photographer turned up to a job you were paying him/her to do with just a mobile phone? Personally I’d doubt that I would be to be honest although some of the attendees said they would.

Not to dismiss such a possibility without empirical evidence I decided to see what the current quality of various phones was like compared to my DSLR. I took this same scene with all 3 so that the same size image appeared in the photograph and selected one element to compare.

Each of the test shots were cropped to 100% and for convenience have popped them onto the one image as below:

My conclusion is that its worth carrying round the camera!

Obviously the Nikon has the biggest sensor so the image at 100% is bigger but it’s the quality that I am referring too here. Over the years more pixels have been added to phone’s cameras but with the unfortunate result of just getting bigger poor quality pictures as opposed to better ones as you can see by comparing just the two phone’s results. It is interesting to note that I initially assumed the image quality of the Samsung was better than that of the older Nokia simply because it looked better on the phone’s display. Viewing both on the same PC screen however shows this difference to be, if anything, minimal. In fact I think the Lumia, with the smaller sensor don’t forget, ironically gives the better of the two. Again reinforcing the fact that bigger pixel count just gives you a bigger image, not necessarily a better one. So where an image ends up, what you need it for and how its viewed are other key aspects in the quality mix.

Of course in future cameras phone quality may indeed improve given the nature of technology but so too would the quality of DSLR/lenses and therefore any differential would subsequently remain. Whether we will reach a point where the quality of any image produced will always exceed its need is another matter. Given a 4 mega pixel camera would produce a reasonable size image for printing off a 10×8 print, why have a 20 mega pixel one if all you are going to do with your image is post a 800×800 pixel image on the Web (which requires far less resolution anyway). Unfortunately its back to our old friend marketing. Why have a 4 when you can have 20. Thst said the best camera is always the one you have with you so the fact most folk who have a phone can now take a photo too can only be a good thing

Happy snapping!

Check out my photo gallery if have the time and make a comment.. always grateful for feedback

PS There are numerous other aspects to consider too of course that would affect quality, bokeh etc. but hey that’s for another night in the Dispo!