Image quality on mobile phones reached a par with that of digital camera. Some might argue, however that they have even exceeded them in terms of quality, sharpness and even convenience.
The mobile phone market has become more and more cut throat, with any improvement, new function or original idea quickly copied and incorporated into the phones of competitors. Any slight advantage is soon lost, removing the one aspect, which might make your phone stand out from the crowd.
The quality of picture taking has increased hugely over the past two years. In 2006, arguable the best camera phone on the market was the hugely popular Nokia 6230i, with a 1.3MP camera. In the three years since, there have been big improvements in picture, lens and zoom quality. Manufacturers saw that people enjoy their pictures, so new ranges with 3.2MP, 5MP ad now even up to 12MP cameras stuck on the back of mobile phones are now freely available at an affordable pricing structure.
The rise in the sales of mobile phones has been extraordinary to say the least. Worldwide in 2008, over 1.28 billion mobile phones were sold, 2007 there was 1.15 billion, which in turn was up from 990.9 million phones sold in 2006. Standing this against the already falling numbers of sales of digital cameras, it becomes clear which item the consumer is choosing to buy with their hard earned cash.
The general size of the average, high quality mobile phone and camera is getting smaller and more compact as the years go by. No more are they the size of bricks in your pocket; now they are manageable and more stylish. The consumer has become very price and looks savvy. The price of a good quality phone with good quality camera has decreased to point where it has become affordable to the general consumer.
Along with an improvement in the general camera functions, other applications and improvements in other areas of the mobile phone, have all contributed to the increase in mobile phone sales and shrinking of digital camera sales. The screens on most mobile phones have become sharper, giving the user a better first impression of the camera. The adding of millions of pixels gives the user an excellent view of their image, and if it’s not perfect, they can take the image again.
Storage space on phones has also increased dramatically. Depending on the handset, there could be internal memory storage, with space to save images and data up to 8Gb, while other handsets allow for external memory storage. The size of the memory card will dictate how much images can be saved. The quality of the camera here will also have a big bearing as to how many pictures can be saved, the sharper the mega pixels, the more room this will take up, and in turn, the less pictures that can be saved.
Lens and flashes are both area’s that have seen improvements. Thanks largely to phone manufacturers strategically allying themselves with lens and flash manufacturers for digital cameras. Nokia and Sony Ericsson where among the first to do this to ally themselves with a lens maker. Nokia formed an alliance with Carl Zeiss, with Sony Ericsson with their in-house brand Cybershot. This gave them the lens they needed to try and appeal to consumers, looking for a phone with a good camera.
Overall, there is a general consensus that the simple mobile phone is already replacing the digital camera. Sales over the last few years have certainly suggested this. The imaging quality of mobile phones has come on leaps and bounds, to a level where they are just as sharp, clear and usable than that of the digital. The fact of just having one device in your pocket, with you at all times and not having to bring a separate camera does appeal to many people. Before, this was not the case simply because of the quality of the phone cameras, but with improvements in sharpness, lens and flashes, the mobile phone with its camera appears to be winning.