By Nimish Dubey
With the recently launched Nokia N8 claiming to be as good as a digital camera, yet another chapter has been added to the feud between camera phones and digital cameras. Speaking from purely a travelling perspective, we must confess that both sides have powerful arguments on their side. Here is our take on the entire camera vs cameraphone argument from a traveller’s perspective.
- Picture quality: Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung can go to town raving about the quality of their 8-and 12-megapixel cameraphones, but we must honestly confess that none of them hold a candle to a similarly specced digital camera. If you are looking for high-quality snaps, a cameraphone is definitely not the best option for you.
- The zoom factor: Some people might have expected this to be included in the “picture quality” factor, but we think that it is important enough to merit a point of its own. Barring a few attempts here and there (none of which have really been successful), cameraphones rely mainly on digital zooms and have hardly any optical zooms to speak of. That kind of limits their utility when it comes to zoomed in shots or long-distance shots so needed in travel.
- Picture and shooting options: We are having more cameraphones these days with options like smile and face detection and different scene modes, but again, these cannot hold a candle to the tweaks you get on a proper digital camera. So if you are type that likes to twiddle and tweak settings before taking a snap, head out and get yourself a proper camera – a phone camera can only do so much!
- Convenience: The camera loving crowd is going to be up in arms at this, but we cannot help but admit that a camera phone is far more convenient for taking snaps on an impulse. As camera phones are inevitably in our pockets, it is easier to whip them out and grab that slice of life moment, as compared to taking out a digital camera (which are generally in a case residing in our bags). Also even the bulkiest camera phone is easy to carry around and use than the sleekest digital camera.
- Connectivity: If you are the type that likes to share pictures with your friends the moment you click them, then a cameraphone is a better option as it lets you share pictures via mail and social networks without your having to connect the phone to a computer (all the phone needs is Internet – or GPRS – connectivity, which is easy and affordable enough to get). Digital cameras, alas, still need a computer to get pictures across to other people. Again when it comes to geo tagging, most high end camera phones have it inbuilt while in the case of digital cameras, you will need to lug an accessory.
- Battery life: Cameras boss cameraphones in this category, as extensive clicking on the latter will chew up battery much faster than it would on a camera. Cameraphone fans will scream that this is because the phone is connected to networks and does other tasks too, but we are going to stick to the simple line that cameras simply have better battery life, reasons be damned!
- Editing and tweaking: A lot of cameras these days let you tweak your pictures to a certain extent on the camera itself, but this can be inconvenient as cameras are not really meant to be held foe long periods of time and often are on the heavy side. The phones have it much easier, especially if you are using an Android device or iPhone – both have free Photoshop applications for them which let you edit images on the phone itself. Also, most high end cameraphones these days come with larger displays, making it easier to edit pictures on them.
- Price: The final paramater, and honestly, if it is just pictures that you are looking for, then we must confess that the edge lies with the digital cameras. You can get an excellent prosumer like the Nikon P100 for less than Rs 20,000, while purchasing something like the Nokia N8, will put you back by almost Rs 25,000, and still give you relatively poor pictures.
Our final conclusion: Camera phones are VERY good options for those who love clicking on impulse and sharing their experiences almost immediately. They are also easier to carry and are far more versatile devices. However, if what you are looking for is pure photographic pleasure – get theeself a digital camera!
And do join us for a coffee at the Kunzum Travel Cafe in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India.