Will Camera Phones Replace Digital Cameras

The short answer is no—certainly not any time in the foreseeable future.

To make camphones as small and portable as possible, as well as give them long battery life, lots of technical compromises have to be made. For example, the lenses and image sensors are tiny—far smaller than those on digital cameras and DV camcorders. That means the optics can't capture as high-quality images as bigger lenses, and the sensors will generate more noise. In addition, camphones lack a superior mechanical shutter; plus there's not enough battery capacity to adequately power a robust built-in flash. For these reasons, phone image quality will probably always be inferior to that of a dedicated digital camera—at least those cameras in the mid- to high range.

While camphones may never produce the print and video quality better digital cameras and DV camcorders can, don't underestimate the public's ingenuity when it comes to adapting. Many times before, we changed (lowered) our standards of excellence and our definitions of quality to accommodate the technology, rather than the other way around. But for the time being, if you want great print quality, use a digital camera, and if you want beautiful video, shoot it with a DV camcorder.

Camphones will give you adequate quality prints and videos, and that may be enough for your purposes and satisfaction. Besides, it's the one device you'll always have with you, which means you'll be getting pictures and videos you never would have captured otherwise.

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