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Should I buy a new camera or just use my phone's camera?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 2, 2015 5:37 PM PDT
Should I buy a new camera or stick with using my phone's camera?

Just recently, my beloved 6-year-old Sony point-and-shoot digital camera died. After calling Sony to inquire how much it would cost them to repair it, I decided it wasn't worth it and I would be far better off buying a new one instead. I used to use my camera quite often, but now with my iPhone in hand every where I go, I've come to realize that I don't use my digital camera nearly as much and now I'm contemplating if I should even bother buying a standalone camera. My question to your readers is, what do you do? Are there any features or advantages to buying a standalone point-and-shoot camera or should I just stick with using my iPhone and save myself the money? To give you a little background, I'm not a professional photographer obviously, but I do like to take pictures often. And what matters to me most is a good picture and memories it captures of family and friends. Thank you for your advice.

--Submitted by Maria G.
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by tedtks / October 2, 2015 6:12 PM PDT

Maria,, just keep useing the one you like, and use the most.
If - you change the way, and what you want to take pics of, only then
look at a regular camera.
I dont use Iphone, I have a lot in my camera outfit so I can take pics
of whatever hits me. telephoto's, special filters, wide angle landscape.
just things Iphones are not made for but they do fullfill the needs of millions
of people.
the plus's - you have the pics to look at right there in hand.
camera's also, but really eat up batteries - and you have to download them
into a pc to print them.
what you are doing is just fine, less stuff to carry around hahahaha

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by timothyecraig / October 14, 2015 7:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Camera's

Sounds like the easiest option for you is an iPhone (or any smart phone) since you aren't shooting "professional" shots. I use the iPhone video recorder for some of my productions and I do video work professionally. Obviously it's not my only or main source of camera, but it has the ability to handle some camera shots for me and I'm sure all camera shots in your case.

I just want to stress to you that please learn the correct way of holding you iPhone (smart phone) to get the proper picture (horizontally vs vertically), so you won't have to worry about how the picture is displayed on you computer / devices etc. Also learn how to download the pictures / videos.

Part of my video service includes downloading pictures / videos from smart phones to other devices for clients. If the clients knew how to download on their own they'd save money by not needing me. And if the clients that just want to hire me to do the work they don't know how to or want to perform themselves, they could save a bundle of bucks if they had properly use the camera so I don't have to make corrections while I download the pictures.

Good luck in you picture taking.

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Good luck needed!
by liguorid / October 14, 2015 10:29 AM PDT
In reply to: iPhone

Downloading pictures from an iPhone isn't too bad. Uploading them (if you want to display pictures shot with another camera on your iPhone or iPad) is a PITA!

The volume control buttons on an iPhone can be used as shutter buttons. Therefore, I assumed incorrectly in landscape mode buttons up is the "right way". No big deal with stills but I had to hunt around for an app that could turn videos right side up. Also, lens is on top the "right" way, portrait or landscape mode. Someone who has probably never used or heard of a twin lens reflex decided that.

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The Usual "It Depends" Response
by Hforman / October 2, 2015 6:32 PM PDT

Since you are already using your phone as a camera, you know what kind of photos it takes (hopefully, nice ones). Cameras on cell phones have been getting better and better but so have point-and-shoot cameras and even DSLRs. Some people may have and use all three types depending on what you are doing.
For example, if you generally don't expect to take photos, most people would be OK with a cell phone. However, if you are on safari in Africa, you can't run up to a leopard and line up your shot, exactly. You may need a good super-zoom camera. I actually bought one before I went there. If you are doing professional photos for a magazine, you may need some very specific lenses and cases.
It is kind of up to you. Personally, I wouldn't run out to buy a camera just to have it sit around the house and get full of obsolescence. I'd wait until I needed a new one that my old camera (or cell phone camera) could not handle. So, what I'd suggest is, stick with your cell camera as long as it is producing useful photos for you. As soon as you realize that, for a special event, you need something more, then take a look what is out there that will meet your new requirement. Depends also on how "surprised" you get with new requirements to have time to review and purchase (and learn how to use) new equipment. CNET has some great reviews on cameras so you can do a sample comparison with what is out there right now with what is available on cell phones at the moment.

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Another deja vu all over again topcic
by liguorid / October 2, 2015 6:51 PM PDT

I have 3 cameras I use fairly regularly: an FX format DSLR, a shirt pocket sized point and shoot and my phone. When you see something you want to photograph sometimes the best camera is the one you have, which often turns out to be the phone. It's fixed focal length and fairly wide but will tolerate a surprising amount of cropping. The DSLR is too big, heavy and expensive to take everywhere. The little point and shoot is cheap enough where if I took it on a kayak ride and it ended up in the water it wouldn't be a huge loss, which is not true of the phone. $100 will buy you a pretty decent point and shoot, which may not have been the case when you bought yours. The DSLR wins hands down for quality but it comes at a cost.

But you're not me and the only person who can decide what's right for you is you.

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Are You a Pro?
by JCipo / October 9, 2015 9:57 AM PDT

Most of us are not pros and only need 6 my cameras. Just about every cell phone has this as a minimum. You do need to know how to take a good picture....stand like a tripod, bring arms in, fire with flash and/or high speed. Many phone have 10+ Meg systems. If you can take the picture well, you can blow the interesting part up on your computer and crop. Some phones (and cameras) have stability controls as well to make them sharp. For most...use the cell phone.

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What's Right for you
by ExisD / October 10, 2016 1:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Are You a Pro?

The sensor in the smartphone's are so small that significant cropping and enlarging of a cell phone image will produce less then desirable printing results whether done in a lab or a home printer. It's not the megapixels that makes quality images it's the camera's image sensor.

Even though the image sensor on a point and shoot is smaller then the mirrorless, Bridge or DSLR camera it is larger then the sensor in a smartphone. The optics in the point and shoot lens system carries more quality then in a smartphone and that in combination with a little larger image sensor will give much better quality then the smartphone when it comes to cropping, enlarging and printing.

If you just want snapshots to show others on your phone or tablet and are not concerned with doing any kind of post processing then the smartphone is the way to go. But if you get the one beautiful shot and you want to enlarge it to put on your wall like an 11x14 or 16x20 good luck.

This is a debate that will be going on until the end of time like what's the best DSLR Nikon or Canon...It will never end. No one can tell you what is best for you. What works for one does not mean it will work for someone else.

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Spend more
by jdonalds / October 9, 2015 6:58 PM PDT

If you're going to have both a good smart phone and a point and shoot a $100 point and shoot won't be of much use. The phone will likely produce better photos than a cheap point and shoot.

I think you have to spend more like $250 to get a really good point and shoot that will be sufficiently better than a smart phone to justify the purchase.

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Dedicated camera v.s. smart phone
by richj120952 / October 2, 2015 7:15 PM PDT


Camera's now a days have much higher resolution, but are pretty much stuck at being a camera. Smart phones cameras can have higher resolution photos, and have the advantage that you can connect to remote drives (ie: Google drive) or you can directly send them via Email or messaging to someone, or yourself on your home computer. Also, typically, you carry your smart phone around all the time, and it can snap the picture because it is there when that special event happens.

So, the answer is that it depends upon the use you will be putting the camera to. If you are a professional photographer, then the new camera is a must. Otherwise, get a phone with the resolution you want that has the SD card memory expansion, and has a good data plan.

One issue that came up in the news today is that in some states (NH) they believe that using the camera option in the smart phone (which should really be called a computer with multifunction capabilities including a phone application) when stopped at a red light constitutes using a smart phone while driving and will give you a ticket for doing so.

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You should stick with the phone unless...
by capoderra / October 2, 2015 7:28 PM PDT

There are certain shots that you can only get with a DSLR and a nice lens. They're better at low light and long distance and fast moving objects. If you typically take pictures of people posing for photos in bright settings, then stick with your phone.

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The tripod is an important feature
by clamoreaux / October 9, 2015 6:13 PM PDT

Any camera is improved with a tripod. A P&S or big SLR both do well in more situations with a sturdy tripod. One of my nicer pics is an automatic 9 second exposure with my DSLR at night. I have not figured out a tripod for my phone yet.
OTOH the phone's big advantage is that it is always handy and with me. But it is sometimes shaky.

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Get a real camera
by BonneSLE / October 2, 2015 8:35 PM PDT

I'm really the wrong person to ask about this but I'll respond anyway. As a former newspaper photographer, I've never been satisfied with any phone's camera, nor does a point-n-shoot really do it for me. They're okay for a quick shot when that's all you have, but I always end up wanting more--more resolution, more lens options, more overall control. I personally prefer shooting with a digital SLR and I don't mind hauling around a few pounds of gear. For those occasions when I want to travel light, I grab my Panasonic Lumix FZ35, which is a super zoom bridge camera with most of the features of a DSLR in a compact package.

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You know the answer better than we do
by Bob_Meyer / October 2, 2015 9:09 PM PDT

Ask yourself a few questions: Do you tend to take spur of the moment snapshots (with your iPhone) or do you plan to take photos at a particular event (with your camera)? Are you nearly always happy with the snaphots you take with your iPhone or do you wish you had your camera so you could take a better photo? Do you share the pictures on your iPhone in person, post them to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Or do you download them from your camera to a computer and tweak them in Lightroom before posting them on your blog or wesite? Are you happy with the convenience of having your snapshots digitally on your iPhone and in the cloud, or do you want to make prints, big prints or really big prints and hang them on your walls? Are you satisfied with (or perhaps overwhelmed by) your ability to enhance your snapshots with the apps available on the iPhone, or would you rather use Photoshop to create digital art from your photos?

And our final question: How often do you upgrade your iPhone? Because camera phones are evolving faster than point and shoot cameras, your next iPhone camera may leapfrog the point and shoot camera you buy today

I hope you have a better idea which way you want to go now. On the one hand, your iPhone, on the other hand, a new camera.

PS: The Q&A for video is much the same, except that smartphone video capabilities (iPhone 6s) are already ahead of point and shoot cameras, with 4K video, time lapse and slow motion.

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A new camera or your phone's camera?
by el_indio1 / October 2, 2015 9:29 PM PDT

A lot depends on what you want and expect with your photos. The camera in your phone is ok for the quick basic shots but if you want your photos to be something special a DSL is the way to go. The costs of a good medium range DSL are quite reasonable and with the range of lenses available you can turn picture taking into an exercise in creativity. I have always liked Nikon since my first 35mm one in the 70's. You can get a Nikon 5200 with basic lenses, filters, tripod, etc. for less than $800 or a 3200 for a hundred or so less. For me, the challenge of learning photography and trying for that one of a kind photo makes a DSL worth the extra work and money.

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Should you really buy a new camera?
by 94520shatto / October 2, 2015 9:49 PM PDT

Open Road, with Doug McConnell did a segment with a professional photographer who was seeing what it would be like to take pictures like everybody else, so he bought an I-Phone and went to work. Then there are the I-Phone and GoPro TV commercials using pictures civilians took. They show that good pictures are no longer relegated to the Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Leica and high-end 35 MM SLR with tons of accessories.

I suggest thinking about how important your kind of photography is and that will determine the necessary tools.
Happy snapping of shots.

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Should I buy a new camera or just use my phone's camera?
by Sing L / October 2, 2015 10:01 PM PDT

Please see the benefits of using compact super-zoom cameras at my web page at:

These benefits are not available on smartphones including iPhone. These benefits are very useful and helpful in day-by-day photography and especially on various sightseeing trips.

Sing L

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Are you kidding me?
by ransome43 / October 10, 2015 7:14 AM PDT

Your pictures are total trash.

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To zoom or not to zoom, that is the question ...
by Gerdd / October 2, 2015 11:37 PM PDT

... or - to move on from Shakespeare's English - that is the long and short of it and if you see the pun here - okay, it is intended Wink

Check if your point&shoot has an optical zoom and then think if you ever used it. If the answer to both is "yes" consider a separate camera, otherwise smile and know that you have the best camera for your usage pattern.

Explanation: All phone cameras have a "digital zoom" which is just a way of stretching the pixels in your photo to where they become blurred - in an attempt to make the objects in the distance look closer. Advice: Never use that, it doesn't improve your pictures. You get better results shooting in wide angle mode and cropping the image later.

No phone camera has an optical zoom. Someone is always working on bringing us that but it makes the phone bulky and that doesn't sell. You end up with a camera that can make phone calls rather than a phone with a camera Wink

So, basically, if you don't miss the ability to zoom in on your subjects you already have the best camera for your needs in your phone. From your perspective point&shoot cameras are there only for folks that want a very compact picture taking device that is not burdened down by the phone and internet access and navigation components.

Some point&shoot cameras have a small optical zoom built in. That may help a bit, but designers rarely go beyond what is known as a 5x (magnify the image five times) since anything more will make the camera bulky - same argument as with the phones ...

There are lots of other parameters to look at if you take this discussion further, but you left it at "point&shoot" and that means we can ignore all of the other factors.

Now the hint at the longer answer (or rather discussion:) If you wanted more than what a phone or a point&shoot can give you, then you should really look at a more "complete" camera, and they come roughly in these categories:

1) the "serious" point&shoot (has a bigger zoom range and maybe more light power in the lens but is too bulky for the shirt pocket - a lady's handbag? Yes, maybe ...)

2) the "bridge" camera - called that because it bridges the gap between the point&shoot and the "professional" cameras; main characteristics: mostly bulky enough to need its own camera bag, much bigger zoom range (50x and beyond) but not too much light power in the lens - those can be taken to a safari in Africa as long as the sun shines. Unlike the next options, this one has only that one built-in zoom lens, which cannot be changed.

3) and 4) are the mirror-less system camera and the DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera; they share the feature that you can use a range of interchangeable lenses on them that can have very special characteristics - long telephotos, extreme wide angle lenses, high light power lenses, special macro lenses for extreme close-ups, and even special lenses for architecture photos that don't let tall buildings appear to fall over when you take a picture of them from across the street. As you can see, those have the potential for very special purpose professional use. Coming from the phone vs. point&shoot discussion, the difference between the electronic viewfinder of the one and the more powerful mirrored optical viewfinder of the other would rightfully appear totally academic.

Conclusion: If I wanted a decent zooming capability I would check out the bridge cameras and pick one that I am still willing to carry around for those occasions where the phone's camera just won't do.

(What I REALLY do/did, however, is this: When I realized that my old film based SLR kit was no longer useful I bought a small bridge camera and watched the market for the right DSLR kit to invest in, while I waited for the right reason to buy. A family wedding was it, eventually, but it could also have been a trip to the Game park or something else. Now I have a big SLR kit, a somewhat smaller system camera kit and my smart phone. Some bridge cameras tempt me, but, honestly, between my kits, I don't need one.

And still, when I travel on business I sometimes can't take either of my kits with me, so I end up photographing, say, Istanbul or Barcelona, with just the phone - and I have hundreds of wonderful pictures. Yes, I could have hundreds more if I had a decent telephoto capability in there ...

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Should I buy a new camera?
by davidwheeler / October 3, 2015 1:40 AM PDT

Buy a second hand one for very little money. A camera 3 years old will work very well indeed for about a quarter of the original price!

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Maybe I should ...
by Gerdd / October 3, 2015 5:23 AM PDT

You may have a point - and you may have found me the excuse to get me a smallish bridge camera; something I could still squeeze in the 7kg hand luggage or even the laptop bag. The second hand aspect and the saving of money isn't what would motivate me one way or another.

But if the bridge camera is too bulky then I might as well just bring the no-mirror one with its midi zoom ... okay, I'll think about it.

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There is a solution
by JLovell99 / October 10, 2015 12:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Maybe I should ...

Although I use my iPhone 6 for lots of shots, when on vacation, I also carry a Canon SX700 HS (latest model is the 710) in my pocket. Yes, you can carry this in your pocket. Decent low light performance and a 30X zoom. When closed, it's very small. The newer model does 20 megapixels - lots of good quality in that. Wide angle of the lovely church is OK on the iPhone, but I can zoom in to one of the gargoyles with my Canon. Check it out.

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Zoom it is
by victork1 / October 9, 2015 6:30 PM PDT

+1 to the zoom question. That's the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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smartphone with optical zoom: the Samsing galaxy S4/5 zoom !
by vdweerd / October 9, 2015 11:56 PM PDT

Two years ago I bought a Samsung galaxy S4 zoom (now there is the S5 zoom or galaxy K zoom) with a `10 x optical zoom lens, and am very happy with it: ideal combination of a good smartphone with a good point and shoot camera, with more options than in any of my previous point and shoot cameras. The bulkyness I find no problem; I always carry it in a separate little special bag on my belt.

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Options for purchasing a newer camera
by GolferJL / October 3, 2015 5:22 AM PDT

When I read your question, there were two salient points I picked up on.
1) You had a point & shoot camera, and 2), you openly admitted you are not a professional photographer. Which tells me a good replacement would be similar to what you are comfortable with. I am in a business where I need to take marketing pictures for companies i represent. I did not want to carry around my very good small Canon, so I went to various Pawn Shops in the area until I found a small Sony point & shoot for less than 50 bucks. It had the manual, a 2gig card and battery charger. Pawn Shops today are nothing like what they were in the past. Maybe I got lucky, but I have taken well over 1000 pictures with that camera. Personally I do not like smart phone cameras and use that feature very little. One other thought.
I would check Best Buy's Outlet web page. I just looked and they had 12 camera's between $60 & $150 bucks.
Good luck.

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If a good picture is the goal...
by Flatworm / October 3, 2015 6:32 AM PDT

Phone cameras are much improved, to be sure. The latest iPhones and Samsung Galaxies are now adequate for casual uses like holiday snapshots.

But if it is your intention to take good pictures, you need an actual camera for that. The lenses in phone cameras are inferior to the lenses even in inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras and are simply too small to collect enough light to take good pictures under low-light conditions. Furthermore, the zoom capabilities in phone cameras are digital, reducing the resolution of the zoomed image.

I have both a point-and-shoot (a mid-range Nikon Coolpix S-6800) and a DSLR (a lower-middle range Nikon D-5300). The quality of the pictures and videos from either of them blow away what I can obtain from my Samsung Galaxy S5 or my sister-in-law's S6, even though the Galaxy can nominally shoot video in 4K. The Coolpix in particular is very small, convenient to carry, and easy to use, but it is no match for the D-5300's versatility, particularly with its combination of interchangeable lenses ranging to very long-range telephoto to very wide angle (almost a fisheye when unzoomed) to macro.

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Buy a new camera or use iPhone?
by ecphelps12 / October 3, 2015 7:17 AM PDT


I'll try to keep this simple & informative. I read many of the post & I think you are looking for something more direct. The iPhone takes very good pictures & HD video and will also allow you to send them to other people very easily.
Here's where & why you might want a new camera ... first you should look at a point & shoot, the iPhone is a 3x zoom, you can find a point & shoot with 40x (which is very good) for a reasonable price. It will also zoom while taking HD video. This will be very important when your subject is more that about 20 feet away. There are also point & shoot cameras that are WiFi enabled. This will make it very easy to send you picture to someone's email, either by downloading them directly to your PC ... or some will even have the capability to send then from the camera itself. (this is more costly & really not needed BUT very much a convenient)
The net net is that both can take great pictures but if you will be needing to take pictures from a distance, like on vacation on the ski slopes, you should have a camera too.
Good luck!

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I changed my mind
by Zouch / October 3, 2015 7:19 AM PDT

Hi Maria,
I was a firm believer in using the right tool for the job, if you want to talk to someone remotely, use a phone, if you want to photograph them, use a camera. I was a long time user of film cameras, mostly SLRs, way back when. But then I joined the digital age maybe 20+ years ago with a Fujifilm 3 MP EVF camera. It served me well and even when I got a smartphone with a 5 MP camera, my go-to was always the Fuji. As others have said, the camera phone, although having greater resolution, didn't have an optical zoom and I have never really adjusted to the idea of holding a camera at arm's length to take a photograph, I still prefer an optical (or EVF) viewfinder. The lens on the aging Fuji was in a different league to the smartphone and its low light performance was outstanding.

Then last year, the Fuji gave up the ghost and I retired the SLR in favour of a DSLR, a Canon D600, with which I am delighted. But as others have also said, however, DSLRs are big and certainly not discreet or pocketable! So I started looking around for a new compact camera.

In the meantime, I got a new smartphone, an LG G4. The rear camera is amazing, 16 MP stills and HD video. In manual mode, it has almost all the controls of my SLR (except optical zoom) and it will even take photographs in RAW format, so pop them into Photoshop or Lightroom and you have all the adjustments you would have with a high end camera.

I still have to hold the thing at arm's length but for all other uses, it has eliminated my need for a compact camera.

So yes, I've changed my mind, the DSLR and the G4 meet all my needs. I don't think I would buy another compact other than for an optical zoom and optical viewfinder.

I don't know what iPhone cameras are like - I have the impression that they aren't (or weren't pre-6s) the iPhone's strongest feature but if the convenience is important to you and you are satisfied with the photographs it produces, then it may be harder to justify a replacement camera. Unless, of course, you can find one secondhand like the one that died!

Always a personal choice - good luck, whichever way you decide to go.

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Best combination of convenience and quality
by Marty Isozaki / October 3, 2015 8:58 AM PDT

The most important criteria for a good camera is whether the camera is with you when you need it. For convenience, use your iPhone. If you want your camera to do more (bigger zoom, bigger flash, clearer photos, etc.), buy another digital camera and use both your iPhone and digital camera.

Good, current phone cameras are now good enough for many people to use if it is more important to capture the shot than to have higher quality photos and/or to be able to share photos more quickly and more easily. For casual, good-times memories of family and friends for indoors photos for birthday parties and other candid shots, as well as close, posed outdoor shots of them, good phone cameras work well. If you have one of the most current iPhones, you have the ability to take good photos, videos, and panoramic photos, and to share them quickly by texting, email, and social media.

The type of photo situations you are in, whether you want people’s faces or scenery to be larger regardless of distance, and cost are factors to consider when selecting a digital camera.

Personally, I like the combination of a smartphone AND super zoom digital camera. I use the smartphone far more often, because it is always with me. The super zoom digital camera with an external flash provides me with much more flexibility in taking higher quality individual/group, special event, and scenic photos. If I wanted much higher quality and were willing to carry separate lenses and pay a lot more for my camera, I would get a DSLR.

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Don't Buy What You Don't Need...Unless You Do?
by AjTrek / October 4, 2015 6:05 PM PDT

Hi Maria

I'll get this out of the way first. Today's Camera Phones can take some pretty amazing pictures and are forcing the Point n Shoot camera manufacturers (due to declining sales) to re-think their target audience...which the average consumer is not.  Brick and Mortar specialty camera shops are slowly disappearing (focusing on the professional) as a result of the camera phone's popularity, simplicity, ease of use (just pull it out of your purse or pocket) and improvements in image quality. That being said let's get to it....

Here are the acronyms I'll be using:
- CP = Camera Phone
- PS = Point n Shoot
- DSLR = Digital Single Lens Reflex

Photographers IMO fall into three (3) categories:
-Casual User (CP/PS)
-Serious Amateur (CP w/3rd party add-on optics / High-end PS / Low to Mid Range DSLR)
-Professional (High-end DSLR)

You stated that you are not a professional and I'll assume not a Serious Amateur either. My comments will center around the Casual User. Here is a list of features that are incorporated into the iPhone 6 Plus (CP), a PS or both.

Point n Shoot / iPhone 6 Plus
Autofocus with Focus Pixels (phase detection)
ƒ/2.2 aperture
Optical image stabilization to compensate for camera shake
True Tone flash
Five-element lens
Hybrid IR filter
Sapphire crystal lens cover
Auto image stabilization
Auto HDR for photos
Improved face detection
Exposure control
High-resolution panoramas (up to 43 megapixels)
Burst mode capable of taking 10 photos per second **
Photo geotagging
Timer mode

IPhone 6 Plus (CP)
Enhanced slow motion video capabilities (can be found on PS)
Tap to focus (can be found on PS with touch screen)
Backside illumination sensor
Overhauled front-facing camera that lets in 80% more light

Point n Shoot (PS)
Wider f-Stops
Aperture Priority
Shutter Priority
Zoom Range
Delayed Flash
Multi-Millimeter Camera Lens
Interchangeable Lens and more

Click the link to see a relationship of megapixel vs print size:

OK,'s the thing... If when you had your used it as a PS... meaning you didn't manually set any features (other than zoom) today's CP's will probably suit you. In fact, there are 3rd party optics that can be attached to CP's for even more control over what the CP lens will see. All this assuming that 8 to 12 megapixels meet your needs for printing and image manipulation (i.e. cropping etc.). However, if you want the features that cannot... yet... be found on a CP then you should get a PS.  Good luck!

Together Everyone Achieves More

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Valid points all, but you've already answered your question
by dbrad / October 5, 2015 12:02 AM PDT

A lot of good advice here. A certain percentage of it from photography enthusiasts who advise you to get a new camera; they would like you to make it your new hobby. But just the fact that you're asking the question means that you probably don't need one.

The best camera is the one you have with you. Wait a while and see if you crave a higher level of photography. Do you really miss that zoom? iPhones have excellent miniature cameras, and they get better every year. You probably won't get appreciably better quality- at least not worth carrying an additional item (unless the zoom is the issue)- unless you spend at least a couple hundred dollars, maybe a bit more.

On the other hand, maybe it's time for a new hobby.

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