Wait or Buy?

  jnee 22:19 27 Jun 2005

I am thinking about get a new digital camera - a small 5mp one like the cannon ixus. But somebody told me that a whole new load of camera phones are coming out that are more like phone cameras. I like my phone and thought it might be better to kill two birds with one stone!!!

Is this phone camera thing true? Is it worth the wait?

I just want to take nice pictures that I can print out to a decent size and in a perfect world txt to people if I want to.

  Diodorus Siculus 22:28 27 Jun 2005

Keep them seperate is my opinion... mind you, I don't have a mobile phone so have to keep my camera as a stand alone item.

  Stuartli 22:54 27 Jun 2005

Some recent mobiles with built-in cameras have had 2MP or more but, even so, the best quality will be delivered by a dedicated digital camera.

With 5 and even 6MP available for £200 or even much less these days, it's not worth compromising, especially as you can get remarkably small mobiles - camera phones are quite bulky and you will probably also have the problem of battery use being heavier than usual.

  Kate B 00:31 28 Jun 2005

I think the trouble with the phone cameras is the lens, which is the most important part of any digital camera. You can have the most stonking number of pixels but if its got a rubbish or tiny lens, you're not going to get decent images. You need a good lens to make sure the light reaches the CCD.

Go for a decent point and shoot with a good lens - my other half has one of the 5mp Sony compact cameras and it produces very nice images. By contrast, I used to have a now discontinued Fuji compact digital camera which had a rubbish lens: it had very pronounced barrel distortion which drove me mad. Have a look at digital photography mags as they do look closely at the lens, which gadget/PC magazines don't.

  Pooke 01:11 28 Jun 2005

You will not get a camera phone to match that of a good digital camera. If your only going to be sending photo messages to peoples mobiles then a camera phone will be fine.

Any pic I have seen coming from a phone being printed has looked awful, all blocky etc and the phones were decent spec too. My olympus digital camera only cost £100 and the images are very good, it serves me well for taking pics of the kids.

I suggest you get a camera phone for sending photo messages and getting a digital camera for good photographs you wanna print. As the others have said it's all in the lens.

I remember when camera phones just came out and I was talking about them. I had the opinion why would you need a camera in your phone? and my late grandfather asked "why would I need a phone in my camera?" lol, That brings back memories.


  Danoh 09:33 28 Jun 2005

Agree with Kate B about the criticality of lens quality (nice vac pics on your Web site, BTW).

A basic digital camera with a decent lens will always be significantly better then the best camera-phone for the foreseable future.

Mobile phones form factor has to be small, which works against being able to have a decent lens and sufficient storage capacity for decent quality picture files.

Camera phones can be useful if you did not have a camera at the time but the picture quality of even the latest high-end models does not stand up to much inspection, at sizes larger than the phone's screen.

  jnee 09:34 28 Jun 2005

I put a post on a mobile phone forum and they said that this year (in a month or two) you will be able to get a Nokia N90 and they said it has a "Karl Ziess lens" - I looked it up, and it is on lots of cameras and is considered really excellent. They also mentioned a Sony Ericson and a Samsung (with a pentax lens) and 5mp and a sharp with a optical zoom and 3mp. It just gets more confusing!

It seems that lots of things are changing now (but, then aren't they always... all this technology gets better so quickly)...

I am hoping that somebody is going to tell me that cannon is making the ixus into a phone!

will the arrival of all these phones with better cameras and lens make it worth while to wait (esp. if I get a discount when I renew my mobile phone contract!)?

  Kate B 11:13 28 Jun 2005

Whatever the pedigree of the lenses on mobiles, they're always going to be tiny, which is always going to compromise the quality of the images. The more light getting through, the better ...

Danoh, thanks for the nice remark!! That site hasn't been updated for ages, time I had a go at it. If you fancy perusing my Australia pics they're on my family's site: click here

  wags 12:08 28 Jun 2005

Mobile phone cameras are just for fun /a gimic. The marketing hype may tell you how wonderful the 'next breed' of phone cameras will be, but who knows until they hit the shelves.

In my view, anyone who is half serious about photography will get a camera and as others have posted above, good quality kit can be bought very economically these days.

  Danoh 13:45 28 Jun 2005

if your current or intended use of pics is just very small sized emailed attachments then you might find the quality is good enough for displaying on pc screens, or maybe even printing the smaller sized snap shots.

But just be aware that the physics involved can't be avoided; even the large light-sensitive chips in semi-pro cameras are still smaller than each 35mm film negative.

You will be disappointed with the results if you want greater capability then mentioned.

But if not, even with discounts, you will be paying over the odds for the convenience of having a camera and phone in one small-form factor device.

Conversely, I'm waiting for mobile phones that do NOT have a camera but with other new functionality, to become available.

Because of the inclusion of camera functionality, none comes close to being as small and convenient as my current and very old phone, which I've been looking to replace.

I'll always prefer to have fewer devices but each of them has to do their intended job well.

Combining phones with PDA/push-email/IRC functionality is one way. Picture taking will never be, IMHO.

  Danoh 13:48 28 Jun 2005

Thx! Never made N/C Oz ~ Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne & environments is all ~ big country! Have never the same as your California/Arizona pics tho ~ keeping it short so as not to hijack JNEE's thread!

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