All right, those words might strike some -- especially photography purists -- as sacrilege, but the stark fact is that modern cellphone cameras are offering a whole lot more to the casual photographer than basic digital cameras. If that sounds very difficult to believe, here are seven points on why a cellphone camera has a digital camera licked.
Seen what you think is a potential snap right in front of your eyes? Well, there is a fair chance that you can pull out your cellphone and grab it much faster than you can on a digital camera (take out of case, switch on, focus and all). The quality might not be as good, but heck, for impulse shots, you cannot beat a camera phone, simply because it is just a click away.
Want to take a snap and upload it to the internet or mail it to a friend? That is so much easier to do on a cell than on most cameras, where you have to transfer the snap to a computer and then mail it or upload it.
With GPS becoming more mainstream on phones and still the exception rather than the rule on cameras, geotagging (the process of automatically logging where you have taken a snap) is almost automatic on a camera phone, while the process is a bit more tedious on a real camera, where one generally has to get co-ordinates from a separate GPS device and then align it with the image using a PC.
Most camera phones today come with larger screens as well as some basic image and video editing tools, making it easier for one to tweak images on them, without having to transfer them to a computer. Doing the same on a camera can be a tad tedious.
Better battery life
Can you imagine carrying a camera in your pocket for an entire day and snapping away fifty shots, geotagging them and mailing them to your friends, without draining out battery? Well a cellphone lets you do just that.
A camera is just a camera, but a camera phone (depending on which one you have) can double up as a phone, media player, computer...you name it.
In short, it is simply a more versatile gadget. This is the era of convergence after all.
One less gadget to carry
Let's face it, having a camera in a cellphone is more convenient that lugging one around, batteries and all. The fact that most cellphones are easier to carry than cameras only adds to their advantage. And of course, if you have a really good camera phone (like the Sony Ericsson Satio or the Nokia N86), you can even do away with carrying a notebook!
Photographs: REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (L); REUTERS/Toshiyuki Aizawa