Death of the Point & Shoot Camera

Posted by K.C. with 3 Comments


The camera on the iPhone 4S is incredible. At 8 megapixels it is more than you’ll ever really need for casual shots, and packs plenty of punch for dabbling in amateur photography.

Camera phones have come a long way. Before the iPhone they were their own category when considering what device to purchase. You could get a smartphone with a cheap camera, a phone for texting, or a simple phone with a decent camera. If you wanted the whole enchilada you’d better be prepared to shell out some serious dough.

With the introduction of a new class of smartphones (led by the iPhone), you really can have it all. When I first got the iPhone 3GS I started a 365 project and tried to take a photo every day for a year. I made it to 240 and took shots like this.


It’s been said (I think by Chase Jarvis) that the best camera is the one you have with you. It doesn’t matter how much a fancy DSLR cost or how many lenses you own if you don’t have them handy to capture the shot.

With a camera app that features 8 megapixels, f/2.4 aperture, LED flash, facial recognition, HDR, 1080p video recording and basic editing tools powered by the A5 processor, the iPhone 4S is a point-and-shoot camera killer. Especially since it’s always in your pocket.

What type of photography do you like? Portrait, landscape, etc.
When was the last time you used a non-iDevice to take a photo? 


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My name is KC and I LOVE being a husband & dad. I am a Mac fanboy, tentblogger, MBA grad, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

3 responses to Death of the Point & Shoot Camera

  1. I love my iPhone and certainly agree with the “best camera” notion, and I do take at least one photo/video per day with my iPhone. But, as pretty as those specs look on paper, being a photographer and videographer, the iPhone is nothing more than a utility camera for me. So, yes it has indeed replaced my point and shoot. The reason I say “utility camera” is because the noise level is way too high because the sensor is so small.

    The paper specs are very “intriguing” and makes you think that it could even be used more seriously than “point and shoot” applications. In fact, when I got the latest one, I told myself that I would use it as a “B” or “C” camera, and even invested in some tripod mounting devices. Yet, in all my work since buying it, I have never once considered it for a real shoot.

    While your post is specifically about “point and shoot” it got me thinking about why I haven’t used it more professionally. On paper, it has the perfect lens – wide enough but not too wide, fast due to it’s aperture, etc. But, the lens is handicapped by the processing. Even if it had an f/1.2 lens, when the sensor is the size of an ant, you’re just not going to get the kind of light necessary to keep noise down. And, despite such a small sensor, the A5 is still too slow to read the sensor fast enough to “eliminate” perceptible rolling shutter.

    I’ve watched a lot of video shot on the iPhone – there are some serious attempts to use it cinematically – and the results are good. But, it’s quickly apparent that they are operating in a very narrow window of technique in these pieces. Such films are slow-paced, in well-lit environments to reduce noise, and use techniques that avoid the effects of rolling shutter (slow moves, slow action, etc.).

    I agree that it certainly is a point and shoot killer, at least in my world. But, that’s as high as it can ever physically rise.

    • Was wondering what a true photog would have to say about it.

      • I use it the iPhone for my food blog :-) very convenient for that… but every time I open an editor to adjust the color, etc., the camera’s limitations become painfully apparent, because most restaurant food shots are going to be in poorly lit situations. EDIT: I’m still very much an amateur tho :-)

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