5 Questions You Should Ask When Purchasing A Smartphone As Your Camera


Are you having trouble trying to decide what to look for to best suit your cell phone photography needs? I have played with almost every brand and model of phone over the last 5 years. And I would like to provide you with the 5 questions you should ask your sales advocate when one of the most important primary uses of your phone is to take brilliant photos.

1. How many mega pixels do I really need?
The truth is mega pixel is referring to the size of the image your camera will capture and produce as a physical print more than the over all image quality. Phones generally have 2 cameras. The camera on the front has fewer mega pixels than the one on the back. The reason for this is that when you are using your device for video calls whether it is through Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, or any other web based video program, the higher the mega pixels, the more data you use to broadcast the image. The rear camera is where you want to place most of your focus, and that is the camera I will refer to throughout the rest of this article. A standard mega pixel for that camera generally ranges 5 to 16 mega pixels. If you are printing images 4×6 like most people do 5 mega pixels is sufficient, however, if you like to live life on the wild side and prefer to print you images 16×20, the 16 mega pixels is perfect for you.


2. What is the lens made of?
This question may seem silly, but it is one question very few consumers actually ask. Lenses in phones are made of either plastic, or glass. Much like quality from an SLR camera, people that shoot with plastic lenses often end up with images that are washed out, and slightly off in focus. In your cell phone you get the exact same result. If you are not worried about the cost of your phone, always go with the glass lens, you will get far sharper, vibrant images without the use of software for enhancement.

3. Is the camera capable of shooting in HDR (High Dynamic Range)?
What on earth is HDR? The simplest way I can describe it is that it is your camera taking 3 looks at the same image one that is dark, one that is metered as just right, and one that is over exposed. It takes these 3 views and with no additional effort on your part smartly adjusts the image so you get a nearly perfect final product. A camera without HDR will often meter your subject, but leave you with the sky being white, or perhaps it is getting dark and it will meter to give you a beautiful blue sky, but your subject is merely a silhouette.

4. What kind of focus does this phone have?
Generally, image when you look at what your camera sees are always in focus, but how does it determine focus? Digital auto focus, which is what most phone cameras have, looks at the image and decides how far away your subject is by adjusting until it determines solid lines in higher contrast areas. This is also why a lot of phones allow you to tap on the screen to give it an idea if you are looking at the subject closest to the camera, or if you are wanting to focus on an object in the Distance. A somewhat new feature some phones are equipped with is called laser focus. Like it sounds, the device beams out a laser to measure the distance between you and your subject, then sends the reading to the lens so that it can adjust to the corresponding focal length. This is relatively new for phones, but from the tests I have done, the accuracy of laser focus is quite spectacular. In this instance, which
feature you choose is up to you, but it is good to know which feature you are getting in the device you are planning to purchase.

5. Flash, or no Flash. that is the question!
The flash on a phone camera for me is the best way to locate my house key at night. When it comes to photography, that small little LED is good at one thing, turning your friends and family blue. iPhone has even played with adding a second Amber colored LED . While it does help to keep everyone human colored, it often over exposes the image. In the end, it is up to you if your device has a flash or not. For me, I will leave my flash off, unless I need to find my way in the dark.

In the end, get the phone you want. The more you spend on your phone the happier you will be, not only with the device itself, but with the phones photo taking ability. Use care to try to get one with a glass lens, as that will keep your image quality sharp and vibrant. The feature that will make the biggest difference in your photo quality, is the phones ability to do HDR. As long as your devices possess those two features, you will be able to easily get the likes and comments you are looking for on social media. Those two features are also going to give you the best results when you make physical prints off your phone. We have come a very long way since Alhazen ibn al-Haytham and his invention of the pinhole camera. The invention of the camera phone has made it more affordable than ever to put a camera into everyone’s hands. I can’t wait until you take this information to heart when you purchase your next phone. Your images will be spectacular!


ShaneO is a photographer and vlogger living in the sunny front range of Denver, Colorado. His passions include fine rum, fine women, and chicken wings.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: