Tips for choosing the best camera phone

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Almost every mobile phone on the market has a camera these days. The big phone brands spend millions advertising these features and many people are now ditching their standalone digital cameras in favour of one of the many camera phones on sale.

But how do you find the best camera phone on the market? 

Compare camera phones with our impartial mobile phone comparison tool.

Is a Camera Phone right for me?

Several of today’s best camera phones can take exceptional quality photos but will they meet your needs and match your expectations? What are the Pros and Cons?

Pros

  • Capture every moment – Having a good camera phone means you are well equipped to capture a moment even when it’s not expected – after all you always have your mobile phone with you.
  • One device – There’s no need to carry two devices around when you want to take pictures.
  • Good quality photos – Many of the best camera phones use optics (lenses) from the leading suppliers of standalone digital cameras (e.g. Nokia use Carl Zeiss lenses)
  • Instant blogging – Many camera phones allow you to instantly upload your photos to a blog site so that you can share your experiences immediately – perfect for making your friends jealous whilst on holiday!

Cons

  • Big and bulky – Most of the best camera phones are a little on the large side due to the integration of all the camera bits and pieces, which can be annoying for the majority of time when you don’t need the digital camera functionality.
  • Variable results – Many camera phones struggle in poor lighting. As battery power and space is at a premium in a mobile phone, most camera phones don’t incorporate a proper digital camera style flash and even then results rarely match those of standalone camera. This is exacerbated by the fact that taking photos in clubs and bars is a prime event when you’ll want to whip out you camera phone to capture the moment.

5 Tips for choosing the Best Camera Phone

So, if you’re thinking about buying a new camera phone what should you look for when making your decision? The features you need will vary depending on how, when and where you want to take pictures or capture video. Here are a few tips to help you along.

Tip 1 – Maximise the megapixels

Don’t consider anything less than a 2 megapixel camera phone as the image will look blocky on a PC screen or print out. 3.2 megapixels was the standard for standalone digital cameras 4 years ago and you’ll be able to print photo quality images up to a resolution of 5 x 7 inches (12.7 x 17.8cm). Today’s high-spec camera phones offer 5 mega pixels, which is a great replacement for your standalone digital camera. 8 mega pixels are on the way soon too.

Tip 2 – Always auto-focus

Buying a camera phone without auto-focus will result in many a blurry photo. What’s even worse is that you’ll struggle to tell you’ve blurred that once in a lifetime photo opportunity until you’ve uploaded the picture to your PC – the phone screens are usually too small for you to tell. Most 2 megapixel cameras don’t have this feature so do your homework!

Tip 3 – Thank you for the memory…card

Make sure that the camera phone you’re buying has at least 256MB, perhaps even 512MB of memory either built in (internal memory) or more likely on a memory card that’s included when you buy the phone. Without this you’ll run out of space in the middle of that legendary night out. If you want to use your mobile phone as a music player too you’ll really need 2GB or more. Memory cards are not too expensive these days (£10 to £20 for 2GB) or you may already have a compatible memory card from your old digital camera. 

Tip 4 – Get the latest photo taking features

Some of the top camera phones now include image stabilisers and other great features like, optical zoom and multi-burst capture (e.g. SonyEricsson BestPic TM) all of which will improve the quality of the photos you take. Another important feature is the easy to use dedicated buttons for operating the zoom and taking the photo.

Tip 5 – Opt for Optical Zoom

Optical zoom is what most standalone cameras traditionally use to zoom in when taking a picture, using the lens. Most camera phones have used digital zoom to date, which just crop the image down to the centred area of the picture you can take. This normally means that a photo you take using digital zoom is of lower quality than one using an optical zoom.

Compare camera phones with our impartial mobile phone comparison tool.

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