Digital Camera Or Smartphone?

Smartphones can be a great thing to have in your pocket or purse - if you want to take a quick photo or short video, it's right there. They have quickly become the go-to device for most of us - even being used by one large newspaper instead of having traditional photographers following a story. However, while smartphones can take good photos, the convenience factor may mask some important things that you miss from a more conventional digital camera, particularly a digital SLR like the one shown below (even an inexpensive one).

Three big things you currently find only in a dedicated digital camera are:

1 - an optical zoom: the "zoom" on a smartphone is a digital zoom (similar to enlarging the image in photo editing software, where you may start to see unwanted pixels or other artifacts show up).

2 - full shutter speed control: when trying to capture faster action without blurring, you need to either be exceptionally lucky and take the photo at *just* the right moment, or else you need to be able to employ a faster shutter speed to "freeze" the action. 

3 - a larger optical sensor: because smartphones are very compact, you simply can't have a large optical sensor and this limits the ultimate image quality and performance of the camera (for example, in lower light situations).

There are other things - like the ability to use interchangeable lenses - but those three are probably the biggies for most people trying to improve their photos.

So, while the smartphone trumps in the convenience department and can produce great images under good conditions, don't expect dedicated camera performance from these small marvels. Yet.

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