Do you really need a camera in 2022 & the rise of the smartphone.


As the title suggests do you really need a camera in 2022?

My faithful old Instamatic. A no frills camera.

Its something I’ve been asking myself in recent months and as some of you will have noted of late I have been rather inactive for the past few months. This has been in part due to health issues as well as having retired and the adjustments that come with that. However apart from that has been my waning interest in photography and I have been pondering as to the why of this.

Partly its because of social media and the sheer volume of images that abound bringing about a feeling of there being nothing left to take a photo of apart from the odd family snapshot. Its also partly brought about by the rise of YouTube channels reviewing and using the latest greatest piece of equipment and the supposition that without it you really aren’t getting the most out of your photographic gear. I call Bullshit on that issue!! 

My recent purchase of a very lightly used Panasonic GF6 two lens kit for less than $400 NZD is a fine camera for most photography situations. Obviously for studio work I may well want to use a more professional kit, however I’m not a professional, have a modest budget and generally don’t need specialized equipment. I will say though that as I setup my astrophotography rig that will necessitate a somewhat more up scale camera kit. More on that to come in the next few months.

Some ten years ago on the DPREVIEW forums I stated that I would never use a phone as a camera as there was no real point to doing so and that they wouldn’t replace a bona fide camera … Fast forward ten years and I have to retract that statement. Now the question becomes do you really need a bona fide camera in 2022 – Short answer no.

Personally I think that smartphone photography is in many ways the new frontier when it comes to photography for the large majority of us. Consider this, you have a smartphone in your pocket, it has a camera with 4 lenses as well as a front facing camera. Can take hires photos, edit them to your particular standards, store thousands of images, transmit and share those images to whom ever or where ever you like. Add to this that the smartphone you have in your hand is a powerful mobile computing platform with built in AI for image and communications work, makes phone or video calls, is a mobile calculator and lets not forget the myriad of other applications it can run, so why would you want to buy a plastic and metal brick to hang around your neck just to take a picture when your phone barely weighs 170 grams, fits in your pocket and goes everywhere you do without any extra items to make it work.

I think you can see where I’m going with this. Flash back 45 years or so when I was a little younger and what I had in my pocket in those days was a Kodak Instamatic Camera, and it was bulkier than my current smartphone an Oppo A5.

Oppo A5 (2020)

As I’m tired of all the new gear hype and this constant yammering that to get the very best photos you need to have a full frame mirrorless camera at huge cost, I’m going to concentrate on using my 9 year old GF6 with a smartphone as my main photographic tool. Only when I need something with longer reach or a special situation ( such as astrophotography ) the GF6 will be used. I want to explore just what can be done just using a modern smartphone. Going forward I will post a number of articles on using smartphones. This will be based on smartphones I have on hand or have used in the past and have images from these phones.

If you are considering upgrading or moving to a smartphone for general photography and are looking for a light weight versatile unit check out this review and buying guide over at DPreview, and no I have no affiliation with them.

I’m currently on the hunt for a replacement for my Oppo A5, it is a little short on internal storage and memory and its time to replace it as my daily driver. In the next article I will go over some of the things I’m looking for in a modern smartphone.

Also coming up will be a short series on your digital darkroom in 2022 in regards to the type of PC or editing Tablet/Laptop you might use and why its important to consider carefully what you need versus what you may really like to have but your budget wont allow. Until the next time keep on clickin’ 👍📷

4 thoughts on “Do you really need a camera in 2022 & the rise of the smartphone.

  1. Hi Ralph, totally agree with you- the day of the smartphone is here as long as it supports RAW. The standard cameras will do 95% of what the top-of the-line cameras do. You pay a lot of money for the last 5%. I have opted for simpler with a bridge camera, albeit one of the better ones. Sony RX10 mk$. As far as quality of the Smartphone is concerned: I got best image of the year in the camera club with a Smartphone image. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear. There’s a reluctance among the traditional photography fraternity to embrace or acknowledge just how far advanced smartphones are as a quality portable photography device.
      When I leave on a outing the camera bag goes on the backseat of the car, and more and more I grab the phone to take a photo of something of interest, this is especially true when travelling in the car, you see something and decide its image worthy 90% of the time I use my phone. The sheer convenience makes it a no brainer and I know I’m getting quality sufficient to print up to A3 prints.

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  2. My biggest bug bear with my A22 ph is the reflective screen. With the sun behind me, I have a hard job composing my shots. It has a 48mp camera but no zoom function at that resolution. I installed snapseed as a editing programme, it is fantastic,, but untill I start using the camera function more, it is just sitting there. For birdlife and local sports photography, which I do a lot of, zooming capability is essential and for that I find the dslr better suited.

    For landscapes, the ph is pretty much all I need.

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  3. I’m pretty much the same as you Arthur, GF6 for tele work and the phone for wide field & standard focal lengths and video.
    Screen glare with phones and cameras is a pain although I think the are less reflective screen protector available .. might need to do a bit more research on that.

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