Smart-phone cameras have changed our lives. Think how easy it is to whip out your phone and capture stills or video of your kid’s game-winning RBI, your favorite band belting out a tune in concert, or the incredible rainbow arcing over your neighborhood following a sunshower (shown).
As smart phones have grown ever more sophisticated, their cameras have evolved almost to the point where they can replace a point-and-shoot digital camera. Almost is the key word there. If you’re looking for high-quality images, for now you’ll still want to keep a separate point-and-shoot camera (or something more elaborate). Here are the top five reasons a separate camera remains essential.
1. Superior zoom. Cameras have optical zoom whereas as smart-phone cameras offer digital zoom. Optical zoom is a true zoom lens that produces close-ups and longer-range shots without compromising image quality. Digital zoom merely enlarges the image and crops out the edges, resulting in reduced image resolution.
2. Wide-angle capability. If you want to shoot broader vistas for picturesque landscapes or get the entire family into a group photo and see their faces too, you’ll need a camera that can go wide. Smart-phone cameras typically produce mediocre wide-angle shots. (Smart phones are awesome for selfies. Learn how to take a better selfie.)
3. Better flash photography. A smart-phone flash doesn’t perform as well as one on a compact digital, something that becomes apparent when you shoot in dim light. Plus, some digital cameras let you adjust the flash output, letting you increase or decrease the strobe’s strength.
4. Longer battery life. Using your smart phone to capture memorable moments will quickly drain the battery, leaving you camera-less and phone-less until you can get to a power source. (Or you’ll need to carry an external battery pack.)
5. More storage. Images are space hogs. So unless you regularly curate the image gallery on your smart phone, you could find yourself out of storage space at a picture-perfect moment. A dedicated camera holds thousands of photos on inexpensive memory cards that don’t compete for space with apps and music.