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Old 01-06-2013, 11:59 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
At least on my verizon plan, the monthly price doesn't change whether I have a subsidized phone or not. (Just can avoid the commitment of a long term contract).
So the monthly price is the same. Only way I know to save significantly on the monthly cell bill, is to skip the data -- skip a smart phone altogether. But I need a smart phone and a good data plan, regardless of the camera.
The data plan is required for most smartphones. That's where they're subsidizing the cost of the phones. Sure, it costs the same weather you have a subsidized phone or not. They make more money that way.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:38 AM   #32
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At least on my verizon plan, the monthly price doesn't change whether I have a subsidized phone or not. (Just can avoid the commitment of a long term contract).
So the monthly price is the same. Only way I know to save significantly on the monthly cell bill, is to skip the data -- skip a smart phone altogether. But I need a smart phone and a good data plan, regardless of the camera.

Most people are not photo-nuts like us. Most people would spend $300 - $700 for a smart phone - and this is the true retail cost of a smart phone; not what you might see as a headline subsidised number by your service provider. Remember that your service provider is in the business of selling air-time; not handsets, and definitely not cameras.

Most people will have a cell phone with a camera these days. They would have bought the cell phone because they wanted to make calls or to have a smart phone for data roaming. The fact that the phone makers are putting in better cameras in them these days means that most people now have a reasonable portable camera at their disposal. And as they upgrade their phones to more recent models, they might well have a better portable camera than anyone of us could have imagined some 3 - 4 years ago.

But a standalone camera? They would probably consider that a luxury. Its highly likely that most people would not want to spend $150 - $200 on a P&S. Afterall, a standalone camera does not allow them to access FB; nor listen to their music or even make a basic phone call.

However, I wanted to clarify something. What is your reason for this thread and your question?

I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to your question as I truly believe that the individual needs, wants and wallets will factor into the decision making. Whilst interesting and amusing to discuss, what difference does it make on which device takes a better picture? As your pictures demonstrate, both take pictures that would satisfy most people. I would guess that most people would want to take a picture and share on twitter, FB or MMS to a friend/loved one. If that is their need, a standalone camera just adds additional time and effort to load up.
And remember, most people are not photo-nuts like us (and there is nothing wrong with that).

The bottom line for me is that at the end of the day, as long as no one asks me to buy them a camera or a smart phone, I'm cool with whatever they choose to use to take their pictures and their memories.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:32 AM   #33
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.However, I wanted to clarify something. What is your reason for this thread and your question?

I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to your question as I truly believe that the individual needs, wants and wallets will factor into the decision making. Whilst interesting and amusing to discuss, what difference does it make on which device takes a better picture? As your pictures demonstrate, both take pictures that would satisfy most people. I would guess that most people would want to take a picture and share on twitter, FB or MMS to a friend/loved one. If that is their need, a standalone camera just adds additional time and effort to load up.
And remember, most people are not photo-nuts like us (and there is nothing wrong with that).

The bottom line for me is that at the end of the day, as long as no one asks me to buy them a camera or a smart phone, I'm cool with whatever they choose to use to take their pictures and their memories.
The reason for the thread was discussion. Prompted by a debate in another thread about whether a standalone is always better than a smartphone. Thus, I tried to perform an objective test. Personally, I found the p&s perform better in 1 or 2 shots, they matched in 1 or 2, and the iPhone won out in 6 or 7 shots.

As to a conclusion, I think you voiced a conclusion very well, and I agree with you.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:28 AM   #34
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I stayed out of the first 'discussion' (ie: argument) and was hesitant about getting into this thread. It's generally civil, so I figured I'd offer my analysis since there is at least an attempt to compare two cameras and asking for true input from others.

First - in many cases, a normal glance at the two sets of photos has #2 looking better than #1. However, there are a few caveats. In several of the photos, the background or foreground blur is downright ugly on #2 - the colors look peppier, and the exposures sometimes are better, but some strange things are going on with motion blur, or doubling/tripling of lines and outlines. Ripples and other odd effects in backgrounds which do not look very good. The cases where #1 looks bad to my eye appear to be due to severe underexposure, or poor WB choices. So part of the analysis might be that camera #2 might be capable of creating peppier, happier looking photos without close analysis and with less or no actual input from the shooter, ie: better for a total amateur uninterested in learning anything about photography. The colors, while brighter and peppier, are often not as true-to-life looking, and the highlights are almost always clipped. Better technique and a little more input from the shooter on shutter speed, WB, and focus would likely yield better results with camera #1 in all cases above.

Second - all of this requires ignoring the relevance of a zoom lens - as soon as the variable focal length capability comes into consideration, the P&S camera has significantly more overall versatility and can often get shots that will not be possible or at least will be quite poor due to high levels of cropping with the phone. Even a simple 3x zoom that can get you to 105mm or 110mm for a shot to fill the frame better will improve your results for something on the other side of a fence where you can get no closer to the subject.

Third - I find it's all a matter of how much (or little) effort one wants to make towards taking a photo, and whether they want the presentation to have maximum pop and presentation for normal small print viewing or TV slideshows with the family, versus achieving realism in color and saturation. If one wanted the peppier look, the phone camera defaults to precisely that - whereas with the P&S camera, MOST of them have the option to tune the JPG output to something more like this - Vivid modes, amp up saturation and contrast one or two notches, and increase sharpness. This will deliver that more dynamic looking photo that looks better from a normal distance, but might not hold up to closeup scrutiny as well. But even a very basic P&S camera, that has no true manual controls, and shoots mostly in auto, can still be better controlled and manipulated by someone who is interested in photography and learns the basics of exposure...so in the long run would still be the better camera choice...being able to change focus area, metering area, white balance, set drive mode, even very basic controls like that can be used to force a mostly 'automatic' camera to do what you want. Most of the shots in this thread that were badly underexposed would have been easily adjusted by choosing a different metering mode, or by adjusting EV up +1 or so. The bad WB shots could have been adjusted manually with the camera's WB controls. The motion blur shots could have been fixed by a steadier hand, a faster shutter speed by metering differently or manually controlling the ISO level, etc. Yes, this would require actually having some input regarding your output, and if not interested in that, an iPhone can probably produce shots that look prettier with less involvement in the shot taking process.

The big problem is when in boards like this one - not camera-specific enthusiast forums - where many people just come to the 'photography' forum to see photos from Disney but really have no interest in becoming a 'photographer'...because some of us here are actually camera-enthusiasts, and are camera nuts...so when making comparisons, recommendations, etc, it's hard for us to put aside our enthusiast side and consider that others may not have any real interest in knowing how or why an exposure did something, or how to override a camera and force it to do something else - they just want to point in the general direction, press a button, and get the prettiest photo they can share on Facebook or in a low-res television slideshow...with as little effort or knowledge on their part as possible. IPhone has developed a simple camera in their phone that produces what many non-enthusiast consumers want to see - bright, happy, colorful photos that look good at normal viewing distances. Realism, pixel-peeping, blown highlights, etc are not part of their expectations or desires.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #35
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Third - I find it's all a matter of how much (or little) effort one wants to make towards taking a photo, and whether they want the presentation to have maximum pop and presentation for normal small print viewing or TV slideshows with the family, versus achieving realism in color and saturation. If one wanted the peppier look, the phone camera defaults to precisely that - whereas with the P&S camera, MOST of them have the option to tune the JPG output to something more like this - Vivid modes, amp up saturation and contrast one or two notches, and increase sharpness. This will deliver that more dynamic looking photo that looks better from a normal distance, but might not hold up to closeup scrutiny as well. But even a very basic P&S camera, that has no true manual controls, and shoots mostly in auto, can still be better controlled and manipulated by someone who is interested in photography and learns the basics of exposure...so in the long run would still be the better camera choice...being able to change focus area, metering area, white balance, set drive mode, even very basic controls like that can be used to force a mostly 'automatic' camera to do what you want. Most of the shots in this thread that were badly underexposed would have been easily adjusted by choosing a different metering mode, or by adjusting EV up +1 or so. The bad WB shots could have been adjusted manually with the camera's WB controls. The motion blur shots could have been fixed by a steadier hand, a faster shutter speed by metering differently or manually controlling the ISO level, etc. Yes, this would require actually having some input regarding your output, and if not interested in that, an iPhone can probably produce shots that look prettier with less involvement in the shot taking process.
Great post. But just to comment on these notes, for this little experiment:
The P&S used has virtually no manual controls. Cannot change the EV, cannot change the white balance.
The only manual modes on this camera are: Macro focus or regular focus. And flash on, flash off, flash auto.
And of course, a 3X optical zoom.

Other than that, absolutely no manual control. (And as you noted in another paragraph, the type of users who are looking at the cheaper budget cameras versus iphones, aren't those with an interest in learning how to use manual controls). I found this to be a pretty fair test, as other than turning on and off the flash, I wasn't choosing any options.

Now, more manual control is coming down the compact camera ladder. Where 3 years ago, most compacts had only minimal manual control... Now advanced compacts have as much control as a dSLR, and even mid-level had substantial amounts of manual control. Meanwhile, something like the iphone doesnt really offer manual control of the exposure, but allows for tons of processing options with different apps. And even some pretty basic cameras have some basic scene modes and control.

What I find interesting..... for someone with a low interest in photography... who already has a smartphone and likes the convenience of the camera, what is the approximate price point where a separate compact camera gives a significant upgrade and reason to switch.
Now, the answer to that question is largely driven by the individual needs. As fully acknowledged, if optical zoom is important, than even an ultra cheap compact camera could be useful.
But for someone who is happy with the fixed lens/digital zoom of the iphone, what is the price point where image quality started to undeniably surpass the iphone, and the extras start to compete with the convenience of the iphone?
This number is changing as technology evolves and becomes cheaper.. but right now, I peg this number at about $150-$200 plus.

For example... I've played around with the Canon SX line... The current model, the SX260 goes for about $200. Now, putting aside price, some people might still like the convenience of photo sharing on their iphone. So the iphone still has some advantages. But the Canon SX does start to offer significantly better image quality, manual control, with a huge zoom. So unless someone is completely and totally hung up on the convenience of the iphone, I'd strongly recommend they go with the SX260.

On the other hand, if someone were to say, "I already have an iPhone 5/Galaxy 3/etc, Best Buy has a 10mp 4X compact camera on sale for $75, should I get it?"
To that person, I'd personally recommend they consider just sticking with their phone unless the zoom is a big selling point.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:17 PM   #36
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Now, more manual control is coming down the compact camera ladder. Where 3 years ago, most compacts had only minimal manual control...
I bought my A570is in 2007 and it has manual control:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...IS/A570ISA.HTM

In the past the Canon A series always offered manual, but I think that stopped recently. The Canon SX series has been offering manual control for many years now, so have many Panasonic Lumix travel zooms.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #37
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I bought my A570is in 2007 and it has manual control:
[/img]
Exactly! That camera was about $250-300 back in its time.
Nowadays, you are seeing at least some level of manual control even on some budget compacts.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #38
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Exactly! That camera was about $250-300 back in its time.
Nowadays, you are seeing at least some level of manual control even on some budget compacts.
I got it on sale at Staples for about $150 and the deal included a free Epson PictureMate photo printer. It was not considered to be a high-end model at the time.

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #39
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I got it on sale at Staples for about $150 and the deal included a free Epson PictureMate photo printer. It was not considered to be a high-end model at the time.
Canon has really watered down their A series..its both sad and deceiving. At best you now get scenes and a P mode to go with Auto. And why does a new A2600 have a 16mp sensor when their top of the line SX50 and SX260 only have 12?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:49 PM   #40
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And why does a new A2600 have a 16mp sensor when their top of the line SX50 and SX260 only have 12?
The 12MP sensor is cleaner and faster. That is more than enough MP for a 1/2.3" sensor.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #41
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The 12MP sensor is cleaner and faster. That is more than enough MP for a 1/2.3" sensor.
Exactly. Canon is going for "bigger specs" at the expense of IQ in their cheap line...which makes the iPhone vs bargain camera argument more equal...
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:14 PM   #42
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Now, more manual control is coming down the compact camera ladder. Where 3 years ago, most compacts had only minimal manual control... Now advanced compacts have as much control as a dSLR, and even mid-level had substantial amounts of manual control. Meanwhile, something like the iphone doesnt really offer manual control of the exposure, but allows for tons of processing options with different apps. And even some pretty basic cameras have some basic scene modes and control.
All but one of my point and shoots, and they date back to just before the turn of the century (it sounds so cool to say that LOL), have the same level of manual control as my DSLR with the exception of focus. Meaning I can control shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance. They are not advanced or high end point and shoots as I was still mainly shooting film and couldn't justify the cost of more back then. From what I've seen the last few years have seen small point and shoots take a step away from having manual controls as the line between causal cameras and enthusiast cameras has become better defined.

That one point and shoot that I have that doesn't have manual controls was a $20 Vivtar in 2004 that I bought for my daughter to play with when she was 4.

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Exactly! That camera was about $250-300 back in its time.
Nowadays, you are seeing at least some level of manual control even on some budget compacts.
Not too long ago that price range was budget for a digital camera. My first p&s was considered cheap and low end at $500.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:46 AM   #43
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My P&S camera, which I rarely ever use, is a 3-year-old Sony - it's a slim credit-card style, internal folding lens design with a tiny sensor and no manual controls. It does have some moderate settings accessible in P mode (It's either P or Auto or Scene modes)...such as White Balance, ISO, EV, metering mode, and focus area. That's it - no actual control over shutter or aperture. However, the fact that it has a center-weight meter and a spot focus, plus EV, allows one to control the exposure to a fairly high degree...I can adjust the shutter and aperture by metering off lighter or darker areas in the frame, lock down with a half-press shutter, and adjust the exposure under- or over- using the EV. So despite being a mostly automatic slim pocket camera, I can still exert photographic control over the shot by limiting the metering and focus areas and using that for exposure control. Even such a tiny amount of control makes a big difference for me as a photo enthusiast, and part of the reason I haven't warmed to phones as cameras. Not to mention the fact that when I'm in a place inspiring enough to make me want to take a photo of it, the last thing I want to be doing is chatting on a phone, so in most such places my phone is turned OFF! I can't even imagine how annoying it would be if I was lining up a beautiful shot, and suddenly my camera started ringing and flashing caller ID! I prefer to keep my phones and my cameras as far apart from eachother as possible.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:32 AM   #44
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There really is no definitive answer as to which is "better" any more than which camera is "better", which is what this is actually about. If a phone takes photos that are acceptable to us then we should not need another camera, if the phone does not deliver then we need something else. Funny enough, when I posted two images of the same scene taken with iPhone5 and Panasonic G3 side by side (both in HDR) over half of the viewers chose the iPhone image as the best even though I found it to be poor.

This may explain the high level of acceptance of phones as cameras, the average viewer is not looking for the same things in an image that photographers are looking for. I have met several people at WDW who were taking photos with their phone but left their dSLR back in their room. Again, it may be that that non-photographers do not look at a photograph in the same way in which serious photographers do. The phones provide a crisp punchy (but harsh, in my opinion) image compared to the more subtle tones of an enthusiast camera and many people seem to prefer the phone images.

As an engineer I like numbers to quantify things and consider DXOMark a good guideline for sensor performance. Still, the numbers do not measure everything (more accurately, we do not know how to measure everything that matters). This is similar to audio where equipment that measures the same can sound quite different.
Bottom line: my iPhone5 does not deliver what I need (not even as well as an inexpensive camera) so I will continue to carry a real camera. That and what ZackieDawg wrote, I too prefer to keep devices separate.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:36 AM   #45
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My P&S camera, which I rarely ever use, is a 3-year-old Sony - it's a slim credit-card style, internal folding lens design with a tiny sensor and no manual controls. It does have some moderate settings accessible in P mode (It's either P or Auto or Scene modes)...such as White Balance, ISO, EV, metering mode, and focus area. That's it - no actual control over shutter or aperture. However, the fact that it has a center-weight meter and a spot focus, plus EV, allows one to control the exposure to a fairly high degree...I can adjust the shutter and aperture by metering off lighter or darker areas in the frame, lock down with a half-press shutter, and adjust the exposure under- or over- using the EV. So despite being a mostly automatic slim pocket camera, I can still exert photographic control over the shot by limiting the metering and focus areas and using that for exposure control. Even such a tiny amount of control makes a big difference for me as a photo enthusiast, and part of the reason I haven't warmed to phones as cameras. Not to mention the fact that when I'm in a place inspiring enough to make me want to take a photo of it, the last thing I want to be doing is chatting on a phone, so in most such places my phone is turned OFF! I can't even imagine how annoying it would be if I was lining up a beautiful shot, and suddenly my camera started ringing and flashing caller ID! I prefer to keep my phones and my cameras as far apart from eachother as possible.
lol.... That's a funny picture. But, you can always put your phone in airplane mode...
And truthfully, the iphone can exert the same level of control, probably a bit easier than the compact you're talking about. With the iphone, you can also select a focus/metering spot, using the touch screen. So arguably, slightly easier than on the basic budget camera.

Of course, in terms of exerting control and final image quality.....
A photo enthusiast will want/need something very different than a total layperson.
For an enthusiast -- They can exert control in the manner you suggest. But for the total layperson, they wouldn't understand "spot metering."
The "aps" on a smart phone can enhance photography for enthusiast and layperson alike.
It's pretty telling, IMHO, that you see many professional photographers embrace the iphone as their "back up." Personally, I prefer the Sony RX100 as my backup.... but even for me, there are times that the iphone is a nice addition to the camera lineup.
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