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5 Steps to Comparing Camera Phones

By Edited Feb 13, 2014 0 0

Smart phones come in all shapes and sizes and pretty much all price ranges nowadays. And from web browsing and emailing to traditional calling and texting, they can do everything but wash your dishes. It's expected that a smart phone will have a camera. For the last ten years or so, a camera has been a standard feature on most mobile phones. But camera phones aren't just for quick snaps and drunken nights out any more. Even serious photographers are using smart phone cams to take some great pics. There are plenty of expensive add-ons, include full SLR lenses that you can attach to your phone to take professional looking pictures. But those accessories come at a price, and even they won't help you take the perfect pic if your phone's camera isn't up to scratch. If you're a keen photographer, then you're going to want to get the best camera phone that you can get your hands on. And today we're looking at what exactly you should look for in a camera phone. Want the perfect picture? Then read on to find out how you can get it with your phone...

Compare Mobiles and Resolution...

Obviously the very first thing that you're going to be looking at in a phone camera is resolution. 8 MP is pretty standard among phone cams nowadays, though there are still some manufacturers that insist on putting a 5 MP cam in an otherwise perfectly good phone. If you're serious about your pics then when you compare mobiles you're looking for a minimum of 8 MP. But don't make the mistake of thinking that bigger is always better. Some phones are pumping things up with 13 MP or even higher in their camera resolution. Above 8 MP, more isn't always better. What can happen is that the increased megapixel count simply gives you more digital interference in your picture rather than better fine detail. Once you reach 8 MP you need to take into account lens and sensor size to accommodate more megapixels. When you compare mobiles you'll want to check out the sensor and lens specs in combination with the number of megapixels to get the best results. You can, of course, always add a lens on later, but as we said before, these can get expensive. However, there's nothing that you can do about a poor sensor, so choose carefully.

All about Flash...

Given how important flash is in taking photographs it's surprising that a number of smart phones do still come with flashless cameras, or with poor quality flash. Watch out for these, because you're going to need a good flash. Ignore anything that doesn't come with at least an LED flash. An LED flash will be fine for simple portrait photography, and close up work. However, if you're more of a pro than that, then you're going to want to look for a phone with a xenon flash, which is what you'd get on a regular digital camera. For panoramic photography, wide shots, group shots and overall good lighting a xenon flash will best serve your needs.

Focus, Please...

Whilst pro photographers use SLR cameras and do most of their work manually, camera phone photography doesn't really work that way. There are phone cams that don't have auto focus, but honestly, using them is fiddly and it's difficult to get good focus on a small camera phone without your hands shaking or the subject moving. That's why a phone camera really should have auto-focus. It will make your life an awful lot easier. Plenty of camera phones come with all kinds of settings and options, but the truth is that you will rarely use them. Look for something that has simple controls, exposing or focussing at the touch of a button; having said that, there are some automatic features that are pretty nice to have. Auto exposure or intelligent exposure is useful, as is face detection. A rare, but great, feature is burst mode, which allows you to press the button once and then the camera takes multiple shots every second, so you're sure to capture the perfect picture.

Hardware Considerations...

Whilst the camera itself is important in taking your pictures, so is the phone’s hardware. The screen is the key to making sure you've got the shot you want before you take a picture. Larger screen size will offer you greater detail when looking through the camera, and will also make using on-screen controls easier. Screen resolution and PPI (pixels per inch) will change the way you see the picture, with higher resolution and PPI giving you a more realistic view of the picture that you're about to take. You'll want to think about internal storage as well. Taking hundreds of pictures can rapidly fill up your phone's memory, making the phone run slowly, or even freeze or crash. It's important that you've got plenty of internal storage, a minimum of around 16 GB. Look for a device that will accommodate a micro SD card, letting you get even more storage on your phone. You should also consider cloud storage through services like Dropbox, or Apple's Cloud service, which will let you store your photos on the web so you don't need to clog up your phone with them. Finally, look at the phone's processing power. If you want to edit your pictures directly from your phone, you're going to need some great processing power to edit quickly and efficiently. Dual or quad core processors are the best bet.

Don't Forget the Software...

Not only the hardware is important for camera photographers, you'll also need good software. From camera apps to photo editing apps there is plenty of software available to help you take the perfect picture. However, the majority of these apps are available to Apple or Android users only. That means that if you decide to go for a Windows phone, or even a Blackberry, you're not going to get as much support as if you went with an iPhone or Android device.

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