09/02/2021

Categories: Media and Photography, Undergradute

Just How Good are Modern Phone Cameras?

Just How Good are Modern Phone Cameras?

Phone cameras have come a long way since their first introduction to the world on the Sharp J-SH04 back in 2000 (which was sold only in Japan) and had an image resolution size of 0.11MP. The camera was front facing allowing the user to take extremely low-quality selfies. As time has moved on and technology has improved, the quality of modern phone cameras has skyrocketed, leaving us with questions of whether it is worth paying out for an expensive DSLR camera or if the camera in your pocket can do just as good a job.

The iPhone 12, sporting a dual 12MP camera system, is a fantastic example of how a phone camera can include a wide enough toolset for most amateur photographers. With wide and ultra-wide lenses, optical and digital zoom, night mode and more, you can quickly see that apple has brought together a mass of features to allow its users to take incredible looking photos.

Many modern phone companies are investing a lot into improving the quality of their cameras, like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 8k video and 12, 48 and 108MP cameras, for example. The genius behind having such a ridiculously high resolution of 108MP means that instead of relying on digital zoom which, on apple cameras, often uses artificial intelligence learning to sharpen the image, you have an extremely high-quality image which can be cropped to achieve up to 100x zoom and still look amazing.

The main question of whether a phone camera is all you need, or if you should invest in a DSLR is often a tricky one to answer – will you get higher quality images as a result of using a standalone camera? Yes. Is it worth the large price tag? Maybe, maybe not. The main difference is the amount of control and versatility that you’ll get with a DSLR camera; they excel at long distance telescopic shots, motion shots, and shots in low light areas as you have direct manual access to the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Whereas your phone camera is likely to adjust the shutter speed and ISO automatically and will often have a fixed aperture, meaning that sometimes the perfect shot is difficult to properly capture.

When it comes to taking photos for social media, your phone camera is definitely good enough – if you were to invest in a DSLR camera you would likely struggle to see the difference once the image is compressed. The main application for DSLR cameras is when you are using them for a photography business where your goal is to have the highest quality photography that you can get.

Luckily, if you’re looking to get hands on with DSLRs and other photography equipment like professional flash set ups, the University of Bolton’s Media and Photography courses have a state-of-the-art facility where the lecturers will develop your skills. Based in Greater Manchester, we have everything that you need to take that step past being a hobbyist and start your career as a professional photographer. 

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