Originally Posted by Bergermeister
Alright, boys, back on topic now.
Personally, I am thrilled with the new iPhone - primarily because I can finally get my hands on one here in Japan! My wife and I both are getting 16GBs; asked our local electronics shop (which has a cell phone shop inside) to order for us as soon as they come available.
That amazing music app that was previewed (luv the blues) shows some of the power of the iPhone in creating audio, so I am sure that it is a matter of time before more recording apps come available. Screen capture might come, too, with something like Snapz. A simple sketch program would be awesome.
Yeah, it needs video capture. My current phone, which is four (just checked) years old, has it, but with a 1 megapixel cam.
The cam could also be improved; I was seriously considering the new Sony model that has a 5.1 MP cam, but would buy an iPhone any day for other reasons.
So, are you Japanese? If so, I never knew that. If not, what brings you to Japan. Just out of curiosity.
Side-question aside, now the post:
As a photographer (by hobby, not by profession), I own a dSLR (Nikon D80, I'm hoping to upgrade to the D300 if I can sell my D80 for a decent price and have enough money), and a few compacts for portability/casual shooting. That info isn't really related, but it just provides background for my perspective. It always bothers me when people have high expectations for cell phone cameras. For the same reason that I have shitty (compared to my dSLR) point and shoot cameras is because there is a benefit to having a portable camera where you don't care so much about picture quality but rather just getting SOMETHING that looks ok. In this sense, I feel that SLRs
are to compacts
are to cell phone cameras
. The point of a cell phone camera is not to get great photos, but just to capture a moment of spontaneity, or for the phone features (i.e. pictures for contacts). It will be a long time before cell phones are even par with even point-and-shoot cameras, and I don't think they'll ever replace them entirely.
A few reasons why camera phones suck:
- Cost. Good cameras are still expensive: the better the camera, the more expensive. Of course point-and-shoots are not all that expensive as stand-alone products, but as part of a cell phone, you're talking about a pretty good percentage of a camera's component cost. Cell phone makers don't want to integrate a great camera if it's half the component cost of the camera.
- Size. It's true what they say. Size does matter. A cell phone, unlike an a camera, unlike a iPod (unless you have an iPhone!) you take everywhere and you need almost everywhere. It matters to people if they're carrying around a hefty and bulky brick in their purse or pocket! Good cameras are heavy, and good cameras take up space. Space that's really critical in a product like a cell phone.
- Optics. What does sex have in common with lenses? The bigger the better. Jokes aside, larger lenses have far superior optics. That means better, sharper pictures. You simply can't have a big lens in a cell phone. That would be like a this (south park reference, viewer discretion advised).
- Light. Cell phones do poorly in low-light settings causing dark, blurry, or shaky photos. Again, this has to do with size. Many cell phone sensors don't actually have a real aperture, but rather a digital aperture. As in, the cell phone records what the sensor sees for a given period of time, but no aperture is physically opening or closing. This is a good thing in one sense because it means the aperture is always at it's maximum so the most light is getting to the sensor and the light is adjusted digitally though the sensor. But what's bad about this is that the sensor is really small so not a whole lot of light is getting there. New sensor technologies are drastically improving low light performance in cell phone camera chips, but the techs not to market yet and is still more expensive). Also having to do with light, flashes are generally too weak to be effective, and even if they are strong enough, they're too close the the lens causing bad color and red eye.
- Resolution. High resolution is good because it captures more detail, allows you to crop later (therefore not require zoom), and generally lends to better quality photos. But the best resolution with the worst optics and lighting still makes for a shitty picture. You're essentially wasting great resolution when there ain't the mojo to back it up. That's why I always laugh when I see these 10MP point-and-shoot cameras with tiny lenses because those cameras are so much worse than a 6MP dSLR. It's like having a super efficient air conditioning unit with the least efficient coil. The entire efficiency is limited by the (lack of) efficiency of the coil. Also, another important thing to note is that you have to QUADRUPLE the megapixel to DOUBLE the resolution. A 10 Megapixel camera is not twice as good as a 5 megapixel camera, it's 25% better (in terms of resolution).
- Performance. This is becoming much less true every day, but it's still a mild concern. And that is to say that powering a good camera requires extra juice that's already being taken up by other functions of a cell phone: talk time and more and more, data, entertainment (music and videos), and the internet.
Sorry for the long and laborious-to-read post, but I thought I might explain my thoughts fully. And for the reasons above, that's why I'm happy Apple isn't wasting money putting a 5MP sensor in the iPhone. In the future better cell phone cameras will be a good upgrade path, but not now.
P.S. – I haven't proof read my post, so please excuse the embarassing
typos that are sure to be there.