Camera: Why?

Why buy a camera when smartphone cameras are so good?

The strongest answer is that many cameras are much better than any current or future phone. If you’ve got, say, $1,000 to spend on camera, lenses, and accessories, then you should probably buy a camera.

What if your budget is $300, with a preference for spending less? The answer might be to put that money towards a new cellphone. That wasn’t my answer.

I looked back at the photos I used to take with my pocket cameras, and see that I like many of those photos more than almost any I have ever taken with a cellphone. My favorite is probably this one, which I took with a Canon S200 in 2005 in the Arnold Arboretum.

I thought that little cameras like that Canon must be a great deal these days, since Canon and the competition would have made huge advances in the capabilities and value they offer. After all, it’s been two decades. After looking around, I got the impression that they weren’t interested in making good, very affordable point and shoot cameras these days.

So why not just sigh and get a new phone with a better camera than my current phone? Part of the answer is based on the combination of ergonomics and arthritis. If I have to hold a phone, look at its screen to get the shot level and composed, use that same screen to change any settings, make sure I don’t have a finger in the way of the shot, hold the camera steady, and… I decide that I’d rather have a camera.

I’d also rather not have to stop taking photos because the phone needs charge for other apps: Kindle, Maps, Messages, even Phone…

So, combining 2022 birthday and Christmas resources, I got myself a camera. Further decision details can wait until another post.

I’ve had a lot of fun already, getting to know the camera, and taking photos like this one. I like the way the sand, water, birds, shore, houses and clouds combine to form this image of the beach at the end of the road shortly before sunset.

You, dear reader, might have been able to take a better photo with your phone. I don’t believe that I could have taken one more to my liking with any phone: at least not without training and a tripod.

What are your thoughts on the camera/phone issue? How would your thinking and decisions change with budget?

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