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Are Smartphones the Future of Photography? [You Told Us]

Dave Parrack 12-06-2013

Smartphones are rapidly condemning a multitude of single-purpose devices Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace Phones have gone through an incredible evolution over the past few years. Besides serving as mobile phone and a tiny window into the world wide web, the modern smartphone accommodates a multitude of tools. The... Read More to a slow descent into pointlessness. Over 50 percent of U.S. consumers now own a smartphone, and their popularity is booming in other parts of the world as well. This heady combination means it’s very likely that some products will be withdrawn from the market due to a lack of demand.


Alarm clocks, personal media players, and sat-navs are all surely goners in the near future, but will cameras join them? None of the devices previously mentioned in this paragraph engender passion amongst their users, but cameras do. They are, after all, what we use to capture memories on film, where they will remain long after our measly brains have forgotten the moments associated with them.

The future of the not-so-humble camera formed the basis for last week’s We Ask You column.

The Results

We asked you, Are Smartphones The Future Of Photography? We received a healthy number of responses, but nowhere near the number of the previous debate regarding old gadgets you still use to this day. Still, those who did add their viewpoint to the discussion helped us find a clear consensus of opinion.

Are Smartphones the Future of Photography? [You Told Us] smartphone photography1

The consensus is that smartphones will knock out the need for point-and-shoot cameras but that there will always be a place for high-end DSLR cameras Hands On With Your DSLR: Best Camera Tips For The Amateur Photographer From Youtube There are umpteen resources on learning how to photograph. And believe me; it is as easy to get drowned in the quicksand of learning as it is to be buoyant with nuggets of wisdom. Photography... Read More . In other words the proles will need nothing more than a smartphone, while the professionals and amateur enthusiasts will stick to the dedicated equipment.


There were some dissenting voices, however. Some suggested that smartphone cameras will only ever be a second choice to dedicated cameras, while others think smartphones will continue to improve until the cameras on them even outdo DSLRs and the like.

I personally think the consensus will be proven correct. As more people leave their cameras at home because they know their smartphone offers an alternative Top Tips: How To Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone Smartphone and mobile photography are becoming increasingly popular. And no wonder. Every year, mobile and smartphone cameras get better and better, until many people don’t feel the need to carry real cameras around anymore. While... Read More , the low-end camera market will disappear. But there will always be holdouts, and DSLRs are unlikely to be beaten in terms of options and quality for a long time, if ever.

Comment Of The Week

We had great input from the likes of Rob H, Jorge Saborio, and druv vb, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to Austin H, who receives the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this:

As an avid lover of mobile photography (both viewing and shooting) to the point that I would call myself an “iPhoneographer”, I must admit that I do not believe that it is the future of photography. It might replace a point-and-shoot, but certainly not a DSLR. Mobile photography is certainly a present-day game-changer for camera companies, and that they should be taking it more seriously.
I think that even if companies like Canon and Nikon were to ignore the growing trend toward mobile photography, they would still be successful. There is just too much that DSLR’s can do that phones will probably never compare to, especially without tons and tons of additional expensive equipment. Like amount of control over every aspect, quality of lenses (yes, I know, the SLR mount for iPhone’s exist but it’s really not the same), the physical view finder, and I’m sure there’s others.
However, they really ought to consider all the things that mobile photography brings to the table that they, currently, do not. Sharing and social media immediately come to mind. Nokia has released some point and shoots that can share to social media, but they ought to implement this in DSLR’s as well. The next advantage, and most important, in my opinion, that smartphones have is the ability to immediately edit. Snapseed, Photoforge2, Photoshop Touch, and the myriad of other editing apps allow for the quick and easy editing of photos. Not to mention the million and one apps that apply “filter” style edits. And they are only improving in quality and advanced features too.
All in all, I guess I’d say that smartphones may not be the ‘future’ of photography in that I don’t think they’ll ever fully replace a DSLR, just like DSLR never fully replaced film/analog. However, DSLR’s should take a cue from smartphones and find a way to make in camera editing and sharing a reality.

We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.


Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski

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  1. ANKUR T
    June 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    with the emergence of new gen smart phone which is able to take 41 mp photos, i feels point and shoot camera will be out of market soon

  2. Paul Prakash J
    June 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Just read about Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom with 16MP rear camera with Xenon Flash, BSI Sensor, OIS and 10x optical zoom.........phones are going to replace cameras. It has just started

  3. diliproy55
    June 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    yes doubt about that.

  4. LovesFLSun
    June 12, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I help out a pro photographer.. I'm waiting for the day we shoot an entire wedding on our smart phones!!

    • Dave Parrack
      June 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      I suspect it will happen... perhaps don't try it without the permission of those paying for the photographs though ;)

  5. Barnabas
    June 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

    My phone in auto mode takes better photos than my SLR. So I dump it as it was bulky compared to my smartphone. So for those that just want to point and shoot anywhere spontaneously, a smartphone will suffice. But if you are a professional photographer with knowledge about lighting, aperture settings etc get a DSLR.

    • Dave Parrack
      June 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      That's good solid advice :)

  6. Sidharth Verma
    June 12, 2013 at 6:45 am


  7. Sidharth Verma
    June 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

    people are lazy to carry digital cameras which are bulkier than phones and yet only captures photos and nothing else.So most people would prefer a good phone with a great camera to fulfill the need of both camera and phone.
    so yeah camera isn't a choice until and unless they are as good as carrying phone. so we can say that phones are future of photography for unprofessional. but professionals will always go for the SLR