The capabilities of camera phones range from
handsets that simply make phone calls and
snap pictures to those that can apply image
manipulations, upload images to remote websites,
and more. The so-called “smartphone,” with
multimedia capabilities and multiple functions, is
invariably equipped with a camera, and one with
increasingly respectable performance that is able to
rival that of simple point-and-shoot cameras.
The camera in your pocket
When the emphasis is on being ready to grab a shot
whenever it may occur—particularly in a dramatic,
once-in-a-lifetime situation—the best camera,
without doubt, is the one that is in your pocket. That
is most likely to be the camera on your phone.
The differences between camera phones and
point-and-shoot cameras has narrowed to the
extent that camera phones can start up, respond,
and shoot almost as rapidly as point-and-shoot
cameras. However, ﬂash is much weaker on camera
phones and they are not usually equipped with
either fast (large-aperture) or zoom lenses. Low-
light capabilities of camera phones are much
weaker than those of compact cameras. Most use
a combination of ISO selection and exposure time
to adjust exposure.
The largest weakness of camera phones is their
unprotected lens. Even when they are recessed for
protection, lenses easily attract dust and ﬁngerprints.
Keep the lens clean by regularly using a microﬁber
cloth to remove grease and dust.
Camera phones offering resolutions
of 12 megapixels or more can make a
good substitute for a point-and-shoot
camera if they have a good range of
controls such as auto-focus and
Some designs hybridize camera and
phone features. This results in a
bulkier body, but one that is easier
to use for a variety of functions, from
video to stills, watching ﬁlms, and
making phone calls.
The basic camera phone lens may be
supplemented by attaching converter
lenses: these range from ﬁsh-eye and
wide-angle lenses through to
telephoto. However, the latter tend to
add an awkward bulk to the phone.
This feature takes the image produced by the
lens’s longest focal length setting and
progressively enlarges the central portion. The
camera appears to offer a zoom range that is
longer than that of the lens alone, but this comes
at the price of a reduction in image quality.
Longest zoom setting Digital zoom enlargement