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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

The Smartphone Photographer

I used to regard myself as a fairly good amateur photographer. Although I never had my own studio or anything like that, I was often asked to take family portraits and I’ve been the official photographer at everything from bar mitzvahs to high school football games.

Like most photographers, I was always very finicky about the equipment that I used. Over the years I spent a fortune on cameras, lenses and accessories, and I was always the first one at the local camera store, checking out the latest offerings from Nikon, Canon, Pentax and the rest.

I was also a bit of a photography snob. Those lazy point-and-shoot cameras with their built-in zoom lenses and auto-focus systems were not for me. As far as I was concerned, if you didn’t spend at least 15 minutes measuring the light, picking out the right lens, and setting up the shot, then it’s wasn’t worth taking!

And then along came smartphone cameras.

It took a while for smartphone cameras to win me over. The early models were really no better than the 12-shot throwaway cameras we used to buy when we were kids. They were fine if the light was perfect, but virtually useless for anything else.

That’s not the case anymore. Smartphone cameras are now marvels of engineering, capable of producing incredibly high-quality images with minimal planning or fuss. They also have that priceless quality that trumps all others when it comes to capturing great photographs: convenience. In the time it used to take me to decide on a lens for my DSLR, I can take 20 great looking photos, crop and edit the ones I like right there on my phone, and upload them all to Flickr or Facebook.

A recent survey by market research firm NPD suggests that nearly 30 percent of all photos are now taken with smartphone cameras, and I can understand why. What people most want is spontaneity. Whether it’s your kid’s soccer game, a night out with the girls, or a beautiful sunset, it’s great to be able to just reach for your phone and capture the exact moment as it happens.

And despite their convenience, smartphone cameras now give very little away to larger cameras in terms of technical specs. For example, the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S has advanced light filters, an automatic LED flash, face detection, reduced motion blur, and a full suite of photo-editing tools. And that’s not to mention the 1080p HD video camera.

So the next time you go out with family and friends, leave that bulky camera at home. While a single-purpose camera may still be the right choice for your best friend’s wedding, the smartphone camera can take care of everything else!

What do you use more often to take pictures, your traditional camera or your camera phone?

This article first appeared in Family Buzz, a VerizonInsider blog on the exciting and ever-expanding world of mobile technology.

Comment by Kiersten , posted 2/23/2012, 4:01 PM:

The Online Mom, We love your posts over at Digitwirl. Full of awesome tips- our subscribers would love your site! Kiersten - - - - Digitwirl: Making Tech Work? for You http://www.youtube.com/digitwirl
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