Why Cameras Are, and Will Always Be, Better than Smartphones

Yash Varma ’24


Smartphones are an amazing piece of technology. They offer a variety of tools, one of which is the convenient camera attached to the back. They provide a wonderful, quick method for taking photos, whether it be mouth-watering butter chicken or a victorious hockey team. However, there are considerable shortcomings that continue to make them inferior to hand-held cameras. This article will highlight why cameras are far better than the cameras on smartphones. 

One of the first things smartphones don’t have is the ability to zoom naturally. Instead, they rely on something called digital zoom, which doesn’t change the magnification of the lens, but rather enlarges the whole image at a specific point. This results in the grainy images commonly seen when digital zoom is used on smartphones. When looking at handheld cameras, lenses with different magnification levels can be attached, allowing for a natural, optical zoom that provides clarity and precision in whatever is being shot. Additionally, a lens being able to change magnification is significant when it comes to photos of people. This is because higher magnification levels can create less distortion within a person’s facial features. Contrarily, since smartphones generally have a lower magnification lens, facial features often look distorted.  

Another shortcoming smartphone cameras have is not being able to customize your camera settings. Cameras have three basic yet powerful functions: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. ISO refers to the sensitivity of the camera’s light sensor. For instance, a darker scene would require a higher ISO sensitivity, as opposed to a lighter scene, which requires a lower ISO. The aperture settings also control the amount of light of the camera, but mainly contribute to the depth of field in an image. This is what creates the blurry backgrounds seen in professional photos, caused by a lower aperture and lower depth of field. Lastly, the shutter speed settings control how fast the camera’s shutter moves, which also determines the amount of light that enters the camera. In the case of shutter speed, it portrays the motion seen in an image. To illustrate, a faster shutter accounts for a stiller image whereas a slower shutter accounts for an image filled with motion. 

When these aspects combine, it leads to one key component smartphones cannot achieve: artistic choice. Photography is an art that allows people to express themselves, just as how one would paint or make music. This allows for cameras to be able to visualize the photographer’s concept. For instance, a photographer could decide what feeling the viewer could get in a picture of a basketball game. When taking a picture of a player who is about to shoot at the net, the photographer can manipulate the camera’s functions to create a stunning image of the player frozen in the air, complemented with a glossy background and a lot of light. This is a mere fraction of the glory cameras possess, which will continue to make them superior to smartphones for years to come.  

Photo by Yash Varma

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