11 Oct 2013

Samsung S3 mini pics - no wonder traditional style camera sales are down

Every now and then I see something and I want to photograph it but I don't have my camera with me. At these times I naturally pull out the camera I have in my pocket all the time, my Samsung S3 mini, and take a few snaps. When I have done this and I finally get to view the pics on my computer screen at home I am normally amazed by how far cell phone cameras have come and it sinks in again just why the camera companies are reporting a slump in sales and smartphone manufacturers are booming! Take a look at these snaps of some autumn foliage I took today on my way home. I edited them in the very handy Snapseed program on the phone before sending them to my computer where I simply resized and branded them before posting.

While they are not dslr good you have to admit they look pretty darn good for a cell phone camera! I don't even have the latest, greatest, bestest model either.

No wonder then that so many people choose their cell phone cameras as their primary camera. I have sometimes heard people I know choosing their phone based on the performance of the camera it has built in.


  1. Yep pretty good. I definitely look for a decent camera before I buy a phone, because It's so useful and light. With a 1020 you could almost get rid of your camera altogether :P

    1. The main problem with these is that everything is in teeny tiny micro format, from the lens to the sensor, and so they will never be able to replace a large glass large sensor camera for serious work that requires decent iq and resolution. But as a genuine point and shoot replacement they have already won the battle.

  2. Well, my friend, I must disagree with you! Why not, from time to time ? :-)

    I mean, you are probably right, for people that aren't photographers and only want to post small pictures in Picasa or whatever. More than that: in certain cases (like the one you show us here), you may get pretty decent results. And with some modern phones like the iPhone 5, you get a HDR function that often (but not always) gives you very surprising results. but for the rest...

    No control on dof, shaky low light images, et cetera. Yes, DSLR sales have gone down and will continue to do so, up to a point. It is painfully obvious that not everyone needs a heavy, bulky camera. This industry will lose those customers to smartphones and the like, and the DSLR market will readjust for... photographers. And no insult intended for those using smartphones as a camera: it's small, efficient... and you can phone with it! :-)


    1. I agree 100% Roger, in fact I think you actually agree with me too! ;-)

      Phone cameras are the new carry around point and shoot cameras just like the Olympus Trip 35 used to be in it's day. Most people just want pics to post to Facebook and other places like that and have discovered that the dslr they thought they needed was actually a pain to carry around. Now they just get whatever smartphone has a good enough camera for their needs.

      Phone cameras will never satisfy advanced or pro needs simply because they simply don't measure up with their teeny sensors and teeny lenses. But they are handy enough for most folks and at normal internet resolutions who cares if it's 16 megapixels or 6?

  3. I read some great reviews of the 1020, but what do you think Lanthus? Is it really useful for a pro photographer? It seems to me that there are very few things stopping one from taking some excellent pictures!

    1. The first thing to understand is that the 41 megapixels is just there for marketing, it will make very little difference to getting good photographs. Being a phone camera it has a tiny sensor, bigger than most (smaller than the 808) but still tiny compared to any dslr. If the light is perfect then you will get good photos, but as soon as the light drops the picture quality is going to drop rapidly and by the time you hit 800 iso all you are going to have is a really big 41mp grainy blurry mess that looks just like every other phone camera but takes up a LOT more space on your hard drive.

      "Real" cameras have a whole lot more sensor real estate which means much better light gathering ability, and they can have much larger physical area per pixel to gather that all important light. They also have much bigger glass attached to the front which collects much more light than a tiny lens can and delivers it to the larger sensor much purer and less distorted than smaller cheaper glass can. Most new cameras can also get all the way to 1600 iso without significant loss of quality because of these factors.

      Then to top it off the "real" camera has a slew of easily accessible manual controls that speed up the entire process and give the photographer ultimate control over every aspect of the photo making process. Camera phones are generally auto with whatever settings they do have buried in a complex system of menus.

      Now lets look at what you can get for your money. A Nokia Lumia 1020 costs about 6500 Krona here in Sweden and a Nikon D3200 (with a nice lens) costs about 3500. At almost half the price you get a camera that will outperform the 1020 in every single way, no matter what you look at. For the extra money you can get a nice tripod and a flash, both of which will improve your ultimate image quality even more.

      There is a reason "pros" spend a lot of money on a Nikon D4 (which "only" has 16 megapixels btw) and invest thousands in good glass and lighting equipment.

      Do I think the Nokia 1020 is up to being used for pro work? Most definitely not. ...and I'm not impressed by the 41 mp's either, I actually consider that to be a severe liability in a camera that has such a small sensor. Can people take great photos with it anyway? Absolutely! But they have to work within the cameras significant limitations and understand what they can and cannot do.

    2. Here is a graphic that shows the sensor sizes: