Remember when mobile phone screens were the size of airmail stamps and the images on the screen so pixelated you could hardly pick yourself out of a group of four? Unless you’ve been locked into a very long phone service plan and still use one of those dinosaurs, you know the camera phone of today is not the camera phone of just a few years ago.
Even when image quality was poor and sensor size was less than two megapixels the world somehow knew things would get better, because people started snapping images at record-breaking speed. In 1990, according to the website BuzzFeed (BuzzFeed.com), fifty-seven billion photos were taken worldwide. The first mobile phones with cameras were marketed in 1997 and today there are a whopping three hundred eighty billion images taken per year. And since 2003, more images have been made with camera phones than all the single-lens reflex and point and shoot digital cameras combined. Quora (quora.com), the collaborative, question and answer website states 1.4 billion images are taken per day on smart phones. Wow…
There are still purists who cringe at the thought of a camera phone being called a digital camera, much less used as one. You may know one or two people like that. Well if you do, tell them to hold onto their hats, because smart phones are here. Apple’s latest add tells us the iPhone is the phone you need for photos. (See the commercial at: http://www.apple.com/iphone/videos/#tv-ads-photos-every-day ) My wife, Joanne, and I owned the iPhones 3S for four years. They were good phones.
But when we decided to upgrade we honed in on the Samsung Galaxy 4S. Joanne liked the phone, I thought the camera was great. With a 13-megapixel camera, a five-inch high-resolution screen and all those image tweaking apps available, I was all in. We got the phones in April and we are not disappointed.
Here are two examples of images I recently shot. We were with friends in a restaurant when I took a shot of the table setting using the “cartoon” mode. One of several modes built into the basic Galaxy S4 camera. I like the camera speed and barely notice shutter lag. Image sharpness is terrific and there are many ways to manipulate or play with the images to suit most any mood.
At the top is an image I took on a recent bike ride when the two-track I was on dead-ended into a pond that spilled over the trail after several days of rain. Rather than wade across I took pictures. Like most any smart phone or camera that relies on a screen to preview the image, it was difficult to see the screen in the sun as I framed the shot. The shot needed a little horizon straightening, but the color, focus and clarity is right out of the camera.
I have no doubt iPhone and all the other mobile phone makers will soon have the capabilities of the Galaxy S4, and Samsung will push their camera functions even farther over the years to come. Who is that better for? Us of course. So don’t be concerned when you pull your cell phone out to get a shot. Just look around, you’re not alone.
Chase Jarvis is a Steamboat Springs, Colorado photographer and credited with the quote, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” And he’s right. I have a large DSLR with several lenses and a bulky camera bag. It’s great gear, but too much to lug around every day. I also have a Canon G11 for travel, but driving to the store is not considered travel and so doesn’t always make the trip. I now have this new lightweight camera that is with me almost all the time. And what’s really nice is, the camera answers my occasional phone calls and takes messages while I’m shooting pictures.
For more information on Chase Jarvis, read his blog or buy his book titled: The Best Camera Is the One That’s With You, go to www.chasejarvis.com .