There really is no comparison when it comes to choosing between cell phones versus a camera to take great pictures! You don’t use your camera to make telephone calls, so why would you rely on your cell phone to create photographs? Aside from the fact that almost everyone has their cell phones handy to create photos at a moment’s notice, why would you trust a cell phone to preserve your precious memories?
Most Cameras Can Connect to Your Smartphone
The fact that you can share your memories across social media is not a valid reason; when you consider almost all cameras from point and shoot to APS-C (Crop Sensor) cameras are equipped with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth technology which allow you to connect your mobile device directly to your camera by using the camera manufactures phone app. Apps such as Nikon’s SnapBridge and Canon Camera Connect which are available for both Apple and Android smartphones. These apps not only allow you to search the camera’s images and import them from your camera into your mobile device, but allow you to control the camera remotely.
Certainly it cannot be the quality of the image a cell phone creates. Cell phones do not have any vibration control/image stabilization features, which means when you zoom in you’re bound to end up with a blurry image as a result of camera shake.
The quality and size of a camera’s sensor and the lenses that are used make all the difference in image quality. Lenses on cell phones are extremely small and are made out of plastic. Sensors on the other hand are all constructed differently using millions of photosites and size does matter! The larger the sensor the more detail is captured, which yields better quality. Let’s face it, the better the quality the better your enlargements will be. Upon reviewing the diagram below, you can see that the sensor for a cell phone is the smallest of all the sensor sizes. Please note the actual sizes differ from the above diagram.
The camera sensor
Smartphone manufacturers use very small sensors because they want to keep devices pocketable and not deal with the bulk of larger lenses. The diagram clearly demonstrates why professional photography equipment is large, bulky and heavy. The cost of producing larger sensors is why the cameras that use them also have a larger price-point.
Larger sensors are better for isolating a subject in focus while having the rest of the image blurred. Cameras with smaller sensors struggle to do this because they need to be moved further away from a subject, or use a wider angle (and much faster) lens, to take a similar image.
Sensor sizes affect what the lens sees. For instance, in the image below you will see that a full frame sensor sees more that the crop sensor. Lenses are made for both camera types, however, if you were to use a lens manufactured for a full frame camera on a crop sensor camera the sensor sees less of the image. For example, if you were to use a full frame 200mm focal length lens on a crop sensor camera, the virtual focal length increases by a factor of 1.5 to 1.6, which yields a virtual focal length of 300mm. Why virtual? Because crop sensors only sees 1.5 to 1.6 less than a full frame sensor sees using the same lens.
The camera sensor and the megapixel
Next to the word “Edit”, “Megapixel” is probably the most misused term in the photography world. Let’s start with the sensors; as mentioned earlier, all sensors are made up of millions of additional light-sensitive sensors called photosites, which are used to record information about what is seen through the lens. Think of a sensor as if it were a glorified photo copy machine. The megapixel relates to the color channels which are made from the primary colors, Red, Green and Blue (RGB), which make white when combined. So when you are told a camera is 10 megapixels, it means it captures approximately 10 megabytes per color channel – This means a 10 megapixel sensor is going to produce a file size of approximately 30 megabytes.
So why does sensor size matter? It’s simple, the larger the sensor, the more photosites there are to capture digital information; the more information that is captured, the better the quality of the image. The diagram to the right demonstrates what a sensor visually sees using the same camera and same lens selection. This doesn’t mean you can’t create similarly cropped images in the viewfinder of a camera and a cell phone; it simply demonstrates the quality loss which depending on the camera used can be dramatic! Bottom line, while each sensor can yield 10 megapixels, the fact is the larger the physical sensor the more photosites, the more detail is captured. Thus, the mystery of the megapixel and the sensor are revealed.
In the store, we are asked to make photo enlargements from cellular devices on a daily basis. There are several issues we generally run into that prevent us from making quality enlargements. Our software cannot read your emails or text messages; it only reads files in your photo directories.
The most common issue are with image files attached in an email or a text message are with the file sizes. They are generally meant for viewing purposes on your device and not intended for you to make enlargements. Solution, make sure you get the sender to include an original image taken on their device. Then transmit an “actual” size file so you can make enlargements. Those images should also be saved to your phone not kept in your texts or emails. Images are often soft when photos are created using a smartphone. This is often the result of camera shake/movement. This becomes more apparent the larger the print and, as a result, are unprintable in larger sizes because it
Another issue with mobile devices occurs when they are used to create “Screenshots” and/or use a third party image manipulation app. These apps create their own style of JPG/JPEG file which is not compatible with most, kiosk or online printing systems. They create a “CT NETWORK FILE ERROR – INVALID JPG” that causes us to take additional time correct. The same cannot be said when you use other labs at un-named pharmacies and big box stores.
Employees at pharmacies and big box stores are trained only to run their systems in an automatic mode. Unlike us, they do not correct color or density on your good files; nor do not fix your files with errors. Files with errors are bypassed and do not get printed. This means you end up paying for un-printed images unless you check your order and question the lab. Remember you don’t bring a photo lab your prescriptions, so why trust your photo memories to a pharmacy?
At FOTO FORUM, we are currently fixing CT Network File Errors without charging for the service; however, with the growing popularity of photo manipulation apps, the number of orders affected has grown. CT Network File Errors are time consuming to fix; and, prohibit us from not only producing your order, but the orders from other clients in a timely manner. So, we’re asking your help. Please be more cognitive of what you are ordering. Surcharges for fixing these file types will be implemented if this trend continues.
Please feel free to stop in for a visit if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to have addressed by one of our experts.