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Are Smartphones Replacing Digital Cameras?


Photography used to be associated with film, cameras and other expensive equipment used by professionals and enthusiasts alike. These days though, mobile phone photography is rising in popularity. Instagram can back up the claim with over 100 million registered users who have shared more than 4 billion photos that document their daily lives.

 Are the days of Digital cameras numbered?

This quote from an article over at Amateur Photographer Magazine is worth mentioning. Nigel McNaught, Director of UK operations of Photo Marketing Association said:

It’s realistic to assume some loss in [compact unit] sales is down to smartphones. Smartphones are getting better.”

Camera phones still have a long way to go before they can be an ample substitute to compact digital cameras. However, the improvements on the device and the different apps that are ready for download have helped boost the popularity of mobile phone photography.

Smartphone Photography

Aside from being able to edit photos on the go, mobile devices have another edge over digital cameras – connectivity. These devices let you share new images instantly on your favorite social sites instantly. Although Samsung released their Galaxy camera with Wi-Fi connectivity, it still cannot carry other apps or even connect to 3G or 4G.

Getting Serious With Mobile Photography

Everyday mobile phone users are not the only ones who have benefited from this. A noteworthy example of a professional mobile phone photographer is Ben Lowy. He is an award-winning photojournalist who used his iPhone to document the effects of Hurricane Sandy. This is what he had to say about mobile photography published in the Digital Photography Review Connect:

Most people from say, Oklahoma don’t really have a connection to something like Libya. Just like most people didn’t have a connection to what was happening during Sandy. And when you show someone’s pictures from Afghanistan or Iraq, and you say that you took them with a 35mm camera, there’s no real kinship there. But if you say ‘Well, actually what I used to take these pictures is the same tool that you have in your pocket, that you photographed your cat with, or your kids, or your brunch,’ then all of a sudden, there’s a real connection!

Mobile Photography

Another great example of someone enjoy mobile photography is Richard “Koci” Hernandez. He is a national Emmy award winning multimedia producer as well as an assistant professor of New Media in Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He wrote several articles regarding mobile phone photography including his piece on CNN’s Tech Site entitled “12 Tips to Become a Better Smartphone Photographer.”

iPhoneography: Mobile Photography

A renowned food photographer David Griffen that works with world-class chefs uses both professional studio equipment as well as mobile phone to take pictures. Currently, he has two food photography blogs. One features his professional work with clients and the other the collection of his mobile food blogging. You can check his blog, Food Photography (with a mobile phone), for tips on how to create better food snapshots.

The Impact of Mobile Phone Photography

In today’s fast-paced world, information needs to be shared immediately with a large audience. What role does mobile photography have with information sharing in the digital age?

Here are some figures from pingdom:


· 1.1 Billion smartphone users

· 465 million Android phones sold by the end of 2012 (66% market share)

· 13% mobile share of global internet traffic

· 500 megabytes – amount of monthly data traffic consumed by an average smartphone

· According to Cisco, global data traffic grew 70% in 2012


· 300 million photos are added to Facebook every day

· 5 billion photos were uploaded to Instagram since the time it started

· 58 photos are uploaded to Instagram every second

· The Apple iPhone 4S was the most popular camera phone used by members of Flickr

· There are at least 7petabytes (1petabyte [PB] is equivalent to 1,000 terabytes of information) of photos are uploaded to Facebook every month.

The Next Evolution

The rise of mobile photography is nothing short of expected due to phones having best cameras and lenses manufactured by the best in the industry. The question remains: “Where next?”

Smartphone heaving best cameras andlenses

Photojournalists today do not only contend with their contemporaries. Sometimes an important or even tragic event would happen, and then someone would take a photo of it and upload it faster than you can set up your gear.

Photographers who are in places where they are treated with suspicion may resort to using mobile phones to take that prized shot.

What is your opinion on the matter? Will smartphones eventually replace digital cameras, compact or otherwise? Would it be just a great back up to your professional gear? We want to hear your opinions, send it to us on Twitter, by liking our Facebook page or by joining us on Google+.

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