Are you frustrated by limitations of your camera phone? Are you lusting after others’ magazine-worthy, high-quality photographs and wondering if it’s time to switch to a digital camera? While I debated about this decision for over 2 years I am now using a digital camera for almost all my Instagram and Blog photos. However, I’ll be the first to admit, it’s not all a bed of roses. Here are pros and cons of both processes to help determine which is right for you. Presenting both processes side by side will help you make your own well-informed decision. Whether you opt to stick with a camera phone or go with a digital camera, this post will guide you so you can optimize either process.
First, let’s begin where most people begin, with your camera phone. Obviously the range of quality of your photos depends on which phone you have. There are huge differences among camera phones. In most cases, the newer your phone is the better your camera. I thought my IPhone6 camera was pretty good. However, Jodie got a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, and I realized how poor mine was by comparison. In independent comparison tests the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the best phone camera available. The Note 5 is not far behind. No matter how “good” your camera phone is, it will never have the versatility of a digital camera. That being said, there are many factors that come into play as you choose which is right for you.
Pros of Camera Phones:
- Convenient: Using your phone is convenient. After all, you own it and carry it with you already. All you do is click, edit, and post. No matter how much editing you do, you still have the convenience that it is all happening on your phone.
- Fast: Obviously, along with convenience is the time-saving factor. And time is money!
- Easy: The camera on phones is mostly, if not completely, automated. Thus, if you are not a trained photographer using a camera phone is a great choice because it doesn’t require any special training. Once you learn the easy editing tools on your phone and on Instagram you’re all set.
- Inexpensive: You already own a phone because the camera came with it. Therefore, you aren’t buying expensive equipment. Additionally, you don’t have to take expensive photography classes to take a decent photo. Finally, you don’t have to own a computer or pay a monthly fee for editing tools like Pic Monkey.
Cons of Camera Phones:
- Limited: There’s only so much you can achieve with the automated settings of a camera phone. There are certain lighting situations where a quality photo is next to impossible.
- Poor Quality: Depending on your phone the best quality you can achieve may just not be good enough to create beautiful photos.
So, let’s say you are tired of compromising quality using your camera phone, and you want to explore the options of digital photography.
Pros of Digital Cameras:
- Quality: The possibilities for amazing photos exist here. When high quality really matters this is your answer. Your skills are your only limitation.
- Versatility: You can use a variety of techniques to create professional-looking photos that you can be proud of. No matter the parameters, no matter the situation, low lighting, too much lighting, it doesn’t matter, with the correct knowledge beautiful pictures are yours for the taking.
Cons of Digital Cameras:
The monetary investment in a “low-end” digital camera and kit is about $400-$500 and can go up to $1000 or more. I bought the Canon Rebel T-5 with a kit complete with everything I might need for home decor and portrait photography. It came with a small tripod and a wide-angle lens and a dozen other accessories I have yet to use. I already owned a full-size tripod. Amazon had the best deal, and I paid $405.00.
Click HERE to purchase the my Canon Rebel T-5 and kit at the best price I found.
2. Learning Curve
If you are not already a trained photographer the learning curve to begin is REAL. My Canon came with a manual that was poor. It helped me with the absolute basics, like identifying the parts, point and shoot automated, how to install battery and on and off. Beyond that it was basically useless. I had to start googling and watching u-tube videos to really understand anything beyond real basics. I am still learning, mostly by trial and error.
There is significantly more time involved in the digital process. Assuming you know what you are doing (in other words, not including the learning curve) you have more steps to get a picture.
- First, you set the controls depending on the lighting and type of photo you are shooting.
- Next, almost always, you set up the tripod, attach the camera, and adjust the tripod.
- Now you are ready to take your photos.
- After your photo shoot you go to your computer, plug in the camera, and download your photos.
- Using your photo editing software (I use Pic Monkey, which is an additional fee per month) edit your photos.
- Now you need to get them back to your phone. I usually email myself three at a time (limit due to size). Then I pick them up on my phone from there.
- Finally, and we think this may be due to my laptop screen, I often have to edit even more because how they appear on my computer is different from how they appear on my phone/IG.
This is real life, Folks!
That is A LOT more work than just taking a pic, editing and posting. Is it worth it? Sometimes I think it is. And sometimes I think it isn’t! There are times I actually get a better shot using my phone because I still haven’t mastered the system, my digital camera or the editing process yet. And as I mentioned, sometimes there’s a disconnect between viewing the photos on my computer screen and my phone. For pictures for our blog I am very happy I have the option of my digital camera. But some days I just don’t have time (or patience) for all that extra work.
Clearly there are a lot of things to consider before investing in a digital camera. I hope that by weighing the above list of pros and cons you will feel more confident with how to make the best decision for you. The last thoughts I will leave you with to help you decide whether or not you are ready to take the leap to buying a digital camera is this:
- How much do I CARE about the quality of my photos? Are they “good enough” for my purposes? Or do I constantly feel like they are falling short of what I imagine they could or should be?
- How much TIME am I willing to commit to learning and perfecting the art of photography? Is this something I will enjoy doing?
- Do I have the money to invest right now in “upgrading” to a digital camera system?
What’s Right for You
So, if you answered “No” to even one of these questions you are probably better off sticking with your camera phone, at least for now. A digital camera holds potential and promise but takes commitment! If you aren’t yet ready for an “upgrade” then it’s time to FOCUS (no pun intended) on doing what you can to improve your camera phone pictures. Time to work on your angles, your ability to capture natural lighting and your editing process.
For help improving your editing skills you’ll want to read Jodie’s informative post on how to edit your photos in Instagram, “Swoon Worthy Photos: Edit Camera Phone Pics in IG”. I’ve been editing pictures for Instagram for almost 3 years (longer than she has), and reading her post I learned things too! She is a master and will teach you all her skills! (And it doesn’t cost a thing!) Hip Hip Hooray!