Growing Impressed With The Quality Of Today’s Camera-Phones

One of the interesting aspects of the SHOT Show is that no matter what city it’s in…there’s a good chance it’s not the only tradeshow being held.   In fact, some of the most interesting people I’ve met over the years have been during those “after hours” from SHOT when a person finds themselves mingling in some cocktail lounge.

One such encounter I was reminded of happened about four years ago while sitting in Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Vegas.   The guy sitting next to me struck up a conversation and we verbally exchanged our purpose for being in town.   Of course, mine was for SHOT, but the guy sitting next to me had just wrapped up a stint at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) trade show that concluded just as SHOT was beginning.

We chit chatted for awhile, and eventually he pushed his business card to me.   Turned out he was the director of standards for some big imaging industry association.   He then looked at my simple little flip phone that I had placed on the bar and proclaimed… “you just wait…in a few years the phone you carry will be all the camera you’ll need.”   I protested and said, “no way…this thing takes mediocre images, at best.   There’s no way a camera phone will ever rival the quality of my DSLR equipment back home.”   His final response was… “you’ll see…technology is quickly advancing in that area.”

Damn, if he wasn’t right.   I have a small fortune in photography equipment locked in my safe at home…but these days the camera that gets used the most is the one I have with me at all times.


My daughter, Elsie, as she joined me many mornings this past fall running the trapline.

My old flip phone had a 1.2 megapixel resolution.   My old BlackBerry had a camera approximately 3.2 megapixels.   And now my current iPhone4 has about 5 megapixels, but the newest iPhone4S supposedly comes in about 8 megapixels.   Now, please understand I realize a person can’t judge a camera’s true quality just by higher megapixels, it’s more complicated than that.   Yet, when you look at the quality coming from most modern smart phones it makes you wonder if you really need a separate camera these days.

To read more on the subject, check out Scott Bourne’s blog post yesterday as he questions if compact cameras will survive.

All of this is important to sportsmen because many of us like to carry a small camera with us when we head outdoors.   Furthermore, although some like to leave their phones at home for the peace and quiet…I’m guessing more and more sportsmen also like the security of having a phone with them whether in the woods or on some lake.

The point I’m trying to make is it’s time we take a closer look at our phones and consider their capability as a photographic tool.   If you’re in the market for a new phone…well, it might be worth spending $100 more for a phone featuring better photographic qualities to capture all those precious memories outdoors.


Deer hunters gather after the morning hunt.

Our cell phones are almost always close by and ready to use in a moment’s notice.   That can’t always be said about a camera that may have been forgotten back at the cabin or in the truck when you need it most.

Perhaps my old drinking buddy during that one particular night was correct.   For many people that “someday” has already arrived and their phone happens to be all the camera they need.   Technology just continues to amaze me as products keep getting better and better.   I’ve said it before…we are living during some exciting times as we watch the world evolve so quickly.


Trapper Todd shows a set that previously held a coyote.


A coyote that got fooled by a dirt hole set.

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.