An increasing number of people are starting to rely on small camera phones for their spontaneous picture-taking opportunities. While these camera phones are still not quite on par with their standalone digital camera counterparts, the technology is quickly advancing to make many of these mobile phones good enough for the casual shot.
The Appeal of Small Camera Phones
Convergence devices are not the wave of the future; they are the wave of the present. It simply is not that convenient to carry around a number of different devices, especially when you can achieve a similar level of functionality from a single handheld. Mobile phones can do so much more than complete voice calls; giving you the opportunity to take some decent photos is one of these functions.
In fact, you may find that many of the free downloadable pictures on the Internet were actually taken from small camera phones, rather than traditional standalone cameras. This is partly due to the relative ubiquity of the camera phone. Everyone has one, so we're taking many more pictures than ever before.
Small Cell Phones with Good Cameras
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While the following list of small camera phones is far from exhaustive, it may help to point you in the right direction if you want a compact handset that also happens to take some rather terrific pictures.
LG Viewty KE990
One of the common issues associated with small camera phones is that the display is a lot smaller than what you'd find on regular digital cameras. LG overcame this concern with the LG KE990 Viewty, offering a large touchscreen display not unlike that found on the Apple iPhone or HTC Diamond.In this way, when you are prepared to take a picture with the integrated 5 megapixel camera, the preview image fills the entirety of this 3.0-inch QVGA display. You really hold this phone horizontally, just like a real camera, and there is a shutter button right where it would normally be on a regular camera.
If you are looking to choose a digital camera for a beginner, you may be able to suffice with the functionality and quality offered by something like the LG Viewty.
BlackBerry Pearl 8120
Compared to some conventional cell phones, the Pearl is far from being the smallest of the bunch. That said, this handset is quite a bit smaller than the rest of the BlackBerry lineup and this is largely because the QWERTY keyboard has been replaced by a SureType keyboard. This maps two letters to each key.
The 2 megapixel camera on the BlackBerry Pearl is not the best in the world, but it is able to take video and it does have an integrated flash. Further still, the Pearl probably offers better wireless Internet connectivity than non-smartphones and that makes it a lot easier to upload your pictures to the web.
If you love thin technology, then the small camera phones from Samsung just might fit the ticket. One such example is the Samsung D900, pictured above, as it comes with a great 3.0 megapixel camera. The slim slider phone is highly attractive and it was revolutionary at the time.You may not want to use camera phones like these for fast-moving sports photography, however, as the relatively small aperture and slow shutter speed may make for some rather blurry shots.
Convergence is an amazing thing, because companies can reach out to experts at other organizations for assistance. Motorola knows how to make a great phone and Kodak knows how to create great digital cameras, so the two combined their forces to make the Motorola ZN5, a small camera phone that happens to use Kodak camera technology.The 5 megapixel camera features autofocus, a xenon flash, and the ability to take 15fps video. Also known as the Motorola MOTOZINE ZN5, this shooter takes advantage of Motorola's ModeShift Technology and Kodak Imaging Technology for an optimal user experience.
More Than Just Megapixels
Just as you would when looking to buy a digital camera, you need to get beyond the megapixel count when looking to buy small camera phones. Just because a cell phone has a 5 megapixel camera doesn't mean that it will produce better pictures than a cell phone with a 3 megapixel camera. Read the reviews, view the sample shots, and judge the image quality for yourself.