Can You Use a Smartphone for a Photography Hobby?

Owning a camera is easier than ever nowadays. Thanks to the endless supply of quality smartphones that we get from manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple, our smartphones are now so versatile that no matter what hobby we want to get into, there’s an easy path to learning those skills. Even with budget offerings such as from Xiaomi and OnePlus, you can get a phone with a fantastic camera for under $200.

However, are those cameras good enough to start an interest in photography? Let’s find out.

Smartphones are great for learning

One of the advantages of having a smartphone is that you can start a photography hobby by simply turning on the camera app, pointing, shooting, and then editing your photos with the myriad of professional tools available on both the Android and iOS market. Just take a look at this collection of photo editing apps that are available on mobile devices and you’ll be staggered at all the big names and variety. However, there are limitations to these cameras and apps. While a smartphone is great for practising, it’s not going to give you the best quality shots and you’ll ultimately have better quality with a Nikon camera or any other dedicated camera.

A good rule of thumb for pricing is that if a smartphone’s retail price is roughly 80% of the camera you want to purchase, then it’s probably going to offer you a lot more features. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, so take this rough value with a grain of salt. If your smartphone is worth $800 and you want a camera worth $200, then it’s probably best to stick to your top-end phone.

Megapixels aren’t everything

Megapixels are often the first thing you’ll see advertised when you look at camera specs. However, megapixels aren’t everything and there are many other defining factors that go into a good shot. The camera sensor used is actually a far more important factor when it comes to taking a great shot because it’s the part that captures the light, and ultimately the image. If you don’t have a good sensor, then it can’t produce a good image. When the light enters the camera, it has to pass through the sensor which processes it into a digital image. With poor-quality sensors, the image comes out blurry, distorted or just plain bad compared to the sensors and lenses found in high-grade cameras.

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Photo via Pexels

In short, don’t use megapixels as a measurement of how good or bad a camera is. You’ll want to look at the sensors used, but if you’re not keen on learning camera jargon, then simply look at a review and compare photographs taken.

Final verdict

Smartphones are perfectly fine for anyone looking to start photography as a hobby. However, the sooner you upgrade to something more flexible and worthwhile, the better quality your shots will be and ultimately the more views and likes your image will get. If you’re only doing photography for your own enjoyment, then a smartphone is acceptable. However, if you plan to publish your shots and show others, get a standalone camera with good reviews.



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Philosopher, writer, bad-pun maker and enjoyer of novelty. I enjoy bikes, video games, and beer all at the same time. When it comes to reading, I can and do.

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