How the Smartphone defeated the point-and-shoot digital camera

The Smartphone technology, for quite some time now has revolutionized the digital world in a number of ways. According to a report by the IDC Marketing research firm; the high sales of Smartphone in the year 2013 led to a 36% drop in the digital camera sales. The ever improving Smartphone technology has proved to be better and more convenient for taking quality pictures compared to the mid & low priced digital cameras. To fully understand the difference between the two technologies; here is a detailed overview you need to get you started. Some of the factors that come as a priority in our comparison include; Megapixels, sensor sizes and their relevance in real world context.


The Megapixels factor is undoubtedly one of the important aspects everybody looks into in both markets. Megapixel rating becomes more considerate if you are cropping a small part of a large photo or making a giant print that needs to be enlarged. Megapixel growth among the smartphones has gradually improved from 2MP for most phones in 2007 to the now common 13MP and above among some Smartphone brands such as Samsung, Nokia, Apple, and Sony.

For the Point and Shoot Camera models, the Megapixel factor has risen steadily from an average of 4Mp in the early 2000s to the recent 16.5Mp on average; this is almost double the average Megapixels we get in most smartphones. While the Smartphone technology has nearly tripled its megapixel factor over the last seven years, point and shoot camera models have done considerably well to maintain such a distinct advantage in the competitive market. Generally, if you are looking for a higher megapixel rating without spending much; the point and shoot cameras are your perfect match.

Sensor size

When it comes to the practical world, a large sensor is more valuable than a high megapixel rating. This is the main reason as to why most professional photographers concentrate more on the sensor size compared to Megapixel count. Camera’s sensor size has a lot to offer in terms of how much light the device could capture for every photograph taken, and this, in turn, will allow for more details on accuracy and quality of the images.

The most common sensor size for an ordinary point and shoot camera is 1/ 2.3 inches; which through some intricate photographic math transforms to a functional diagonal that’s less than eight millimeters on an area of approximately 28.5 millimeters. When you compare this to a full frame DSLR camera, the latter has a sensor size that’s five times large in diagonal and over thirty times bigger by area.

For the Smartphones, the sensor size is approximately 1/3.2 inches. This, in real world numbers; transforms to 5.7mm in diagonals and about 15.5 mm of Area. This point doesn’t come that clear in favor of any of the two parties, but the 28.5 mm area of the point and shoot models gives it a 45% victory over the Smartphone’s 15.5mm area. This is the reason why; in a low-light setting, a canon Powershot does significantly better than an iPhone- where every millimeter of sensor size plays a role in capturing light.

A dose of reality

In an ideal world, everybody could own a high rated megapixel camera with perfect sensor sizes; however, this doesn’t apply in the real life situation where everyone strives to satisfy the very needs on the table. From the analysis; the point and shoot cameras beat the Smartphone technology but from a closer look, the Smartphones has fully satisfied the consumer’s needs.

The average Smartphones now packs great cameras with enough pixels for most of the photographic needs. For up to a 5X7 inch photo, a 3MP shot produces a wonderful print while a 9MP shot is enough for an A4 size image print. Anything in excess becomes professional which isn’t the urgent need for many.

Apart from the sensor size which is in better control for most Smartphone models, the optical zoom is something worth considering. Digital cameras have got built-in and zoom-enabled lenses for that perfect capture while the Smartphones rely on the inferior digital zooming that’s less accurate with lower resolutions.

This sounds like bad news to the Smartphone owners; however, it’s not that necessary. Optical zooming was meant for extreme photography such as bird viewing, lake, and sea photography; but for the simple day-to-day use, this feature might not be that functional. From this, you can now understand the fact behind the reality that; the Smartphone technology has cannibalized the point and shoot camera. Remember convenience is better than perfection.