Cell phone photos are generally thought of as low quality snapshots. Details in big panoramas are unimpressive. All settings seem automatic – there’s little control over how to focus or what to focus on. Sure, some companies claim to have mastered this with touch-screen focus, but I never was able to get it to work that great. There’s no settings to control depth of focus. The color and tone of the flash seem pretty awful. It’s like a joke to suggest any superiority over DSLR. However, there have been some recent advances in cell phone cameras (such as the one I own, the T-Mobile branded HTC MyTouch 4G, not the slider model which I heard has an even better camera) that qualify them to be reclassed as the right tool for the job with some huge advantages, on a whole new level in certain situations.
1. I can, and do, take my camera *everywhere* because it’s also my phone (and my internet, my gps, etc..the down side to this is that if anything happens to my phone, I lose so much…which makes it slightly more amazing how cavalier I can be with this one single device that does everything.)
But seriously, I can put my phone in my pocket and climb over a tree blown over another tree stacked on another blown over tree and take it with me on some search and rescue mission after the whole neighborhood and town get tornadoed. for example. (here’s a link to a video of the tornado tearing up my neighborhood. literally.)
And I can whip out my camera and take a photo when I send my friend Jon through the roof of a neighbor’s house (a house completely missed by first responders) to check for any occupants.
2. Some settings are not as automatic as it first seems. There are some very handy tricks I have learned that allow for manual control over some critical settings. More on this later.
3. It is far easier to hold a cell phone steady than any camera with a lens attached. For some close and very still shots, I’ll take my ultra-light cell phone with the slim profile over a heavy, bulky, and big DSLR camera any day.
4. I am not afraid of taking photos with my camera in the rain. I just whip it out, take my time with slow and steady aim to get what I’m looking for, then my camera is safely back in my pocket. No worries.
With cell phone camera technology improving every minute, I think there is a photography revolution right around the corner. It may have already started.