With mobile phone cameras so good, do you need an actual camera?

These days there’s always a camera in your pocket. Chances are you use it a lot of the time, because it’s always on your person. From the prolific images on social media, everyone seems to be taking photographs, which is absolutely amazing! So, do you need an actual camera these days?

It’s not for you if…

Of course, before we start, even if you require a modest longer range focal length, then generally a mobile phone doesn’t cut it, but of course, wider angles are all the rage, and for many, this is all you need.

There are many phones with great zoom capabilities, but side by side with a dedicated zoom lens, there’s no comparison.

What can a mobile phone camera be used for…

Like a lot of photographers these days, if you look through my photo collection, over 50% are probably photographs taken with my mobile phone. Just like others, because they’re always with you, they are convenient. Family photos, landscape photos, street photography, snapshots of things that catch my eye, composition ideas and night photography are just a few of the things that make phones really useful.

If you’ve ever tried photographing children, as soon as a camera is in your hand, they act differently. With a phone, they’re used to you having it, and don’t change the way they act. The same goes for street photography, with a camera, you’re pretty obvious, but everyone carries a phone, so no one blinks an eyelid.

With family portraits and computational photography, portraits are easier than ever, giving you background blur emulating wide open apertures. The amount of wedding photographs you see taken with a phone that uses AI to blur the background is amazing these days, and the amount of people who prefer this look seems to be on the increase.

For landscapes, many photographers will take images with their phones at every location when they are there or scouting, always handy to have images for quick sharing on social media, and even editing and making into a print if one stands out, because the conditions just happened to be perfect at that time over the other images that were taken.

For night photography, you’d think with that tiny sensor that a phone would be no good, but the opposite is true. Because of computational photography, the phone can produce remarkable results, more than useable, and another reason at events where light is low, quite often it’s the phone shots that steal the show.

Do you need an actual camera?

For most people, the answer is easy… No, you don’t. Phones have full manual control, and are basically little mirrorless cameras in your pocket. There are even professional photographers who use phones in their work! I’ve sold write a few prints taken with a phone, and no one has asked me if the images were from phones.

For those of us who love a dedicated camera though, I think the two can, and do, live in perfect harmony. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before performance of phones is absolutely comparable to cameras. It’s not about the sensor size anymore, but computational photography and artificial intelligence


Using a mobile phone is nothing to be ashamed of. They can give amazing results and bit have they come on a long way, but they’re getting better with every phone release.

You’ll never beat the tactile feel of a dedicated camera, but, if you’ve ever used your phone for images that you’re proud of, then it just goes to show that you don’t ALWAYS need a dedicated camera.

Published by Mark G.Adams

Fujifilm And Olympus Documentary Photographer, YouTuber & Blogger.

9 thoughts on “With mobile phone cameras so good, do you need an actual camera?

  1. I have taken some of the best videos of waterfalls and different landscapes with my Samsung. It has a 4K video camera and takes amazing videos. It takes great photos too, but my Nikon does way better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, a guy in my 60s, the limitation for using a phone camera is the same thing that precludes me from using the rear LCD on my real cameras… I don’t want to walk around with reading glasses, putting them on and then removing them when I wish to take a spontaneous photo. The dioptor correction in my viewfinder allows me to see the subject perfectly clear.

    Add to that the glare issue if the sun is not at the right angle and you just can’t study the frame like you can with an EVF or SLR view.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ergonomically there Is no comparison , phones are really uncomfortable to use .
    And when you are shooting in bright daylight you just can t compose your picture.
    Anyway , phone pictures aré really getting better ! Pros and cons…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. iPhone are great, but recently I made up a A4 size calendar and it told me the prints may be blurred. So I’ll carry a camera as well

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mark I used Vista like I have for some years god knows what they done to the software as I ended up using pics from my Fuji X-T3 16-55 lens and the reproduction is terrible won’t use them again even the wife was seeing pixels

        Liked by 1 person

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