Photography: professional compact or smartphone camera?

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The performance of smartphone cameras is now considerable. Differences in quality are hardly recognizable on the small screen of a cell phone. The ability to edit images directly on the device is particularly convenient. And also sending and sharing on social networks works without problems. However, it should be noted that the images are compressed when sent via messenger like whatsapp. Sending via MMS or airdrop minimizes this loss of quality.

Regardless of the camera's technical performance, these tricks will instantly make your photos look better.

  • Do not use flash. The built-in flash causes unnatural light and harsh shadows. Rather, make sure you get enough exposure from the surroundings.
  • Not using a built-in zoom. Forget the digital zoom on your phone. Here the image is not really zoomed in, but only digitally upsampled. Zoom "with your legs" – just get closer to the subject.
  • Portraits always at eye level. Photograph children or animals? The images look more natural when you crouch down and shoot the photo at eye level instead of from "above".
  • Keep the lens clean. The lens of your smartphone camera usually has no cover. This makes it very susceptible to dirt and greasy fingerprints. Clean the lens regularly, preferably with a microfiber cloth.
  • Observe the rule of thirds. Imagine a grid of nine rectangles of equal size superimposed on the picture. The most important part of your photo should be on one of the intersections of the grid. With many phones, this grid can even be displayed in the camera app.

Example rule of thirds in photography

The limits of smartphone photography

So can the smartphone completely replace the compact camera? No. At least not yet. There are situations in which the small lens of the smartphone reaches its limits. Zooming in on a subject that the photographer can't get close to is definitely not one of the smartphone's strengths. The digital zoom is associated with serious quality losses. A good compact camera with optical zoom is superior here. Even in low light, smartphones can rarely keep up with good compact cameras and pictures with the so-called "shallow depth of field" are hardly possible.

Depth of field (also known as "depth of field") is a design tool in photography in which different spatial planes in the image are displayed in varying degrees of sharpness. In a portrait with a high depth of field, the background is also in focus; with a shallow depth of field, the background is blurred and the focus is only on the model.

But: smartphone manufacturers are working hard to break down these barriers, too. Super-fast processors and newly developed algorithms can compensate for many of the weaknesses of small image sensors. In new smartphone models, for example, the camera shoots several images in succession in low light and combines them into a well-exposed photo. The depth of field can be applied to the image afterwards by means of filters.
Two or even three built-in camera lenses allow an optical zoom without loss of quality, but not steplessly. But these new developments are still in their infancy.

With optical zoom, you can get closer to the subject by shifting the lenses in the lens. In the specified range, you are also not limited to certain zoom levels, but can zoom continuously as desired. This is not possible with the fixed smartphone lenses. This is where manufacturers play tricks by incorporating two or more lenses into the smartphone. If necessary, you can switch between the individual stages – for example, from 1x to 2x zoom.

Compact camera – different models for different needs

Ambitious hobby photographers quickly reach their limits with most smartphone cameras. So is a compact camera worth it? As an "always-on" camera, these have lost some of their importance – but special models offer a range of performance that can complement the smartphone camera wonderfully:

Superzoom compact cameras cover a particularly wide zoom spectrum. Often these cameras are equipped with a 40x continuous zoom lens, or even higher. However, the image quality also decreases with a high zoom, and photos in low light look much worse. Very important in this model: the mechanical image stabilizer, which allows for shake-free images.

The high-priced compacts, on the other hand, rely on a fixed focal length, so no optical zoom is integrated here. They have the best image quality of all compact cameras and are usually very well made. These models are aimed at experienced photographers and offer many manual setting options. The noble compacts are well suited as a second camera for ambitious hobby photographers, in addition to the smartphone.

Outdoor cameras are waterproof and robustly built. They are suitable for taking pictures in extreme situations, for example when canoeing or snorkeling. The zoom range is limited so that the lens does not have to extend out of the protective housing.

  • Always with you and ready to hand
  • Fast image processing directly on the device
  • Fast sharing via social networks
  • Depending on the price range, good to very good image quality
  • Better pictures even in dim light
  • More design options through depth of field
  • Good zoom
  • Special models for individual needs

Conclusion: smartphone or compact camera?

In many cases, the smartphone is perfectly adequate as a camera. Especially if you know and apply some basic principles of image composition. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you.
If you want to get more involved in photography, shoot a lot in the dark or in extreme situations, or want to zoom, you should think about buying a good compact camera. If you want to take great pictures with your smartphone, you should keep an eye on the latest developments in smartphones. Here, the latest models offer exciting possibilities. And no matter which model you choose, easycredit's installment loan allows you to make the purchase quickly and easily. Then even pictures of the starry sky and portraits with an appealing depth-of-field effect are no longer a problem.

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