Smartphone or Digital Camera?

By: jwilder

Thinking about moving beyond your smartphone to a digital camera?

Everyday Carry Digital Compact Camera
Everyday carry. Sony a6000. Still too big. iPhone 12 mini.

Is a Smartphone Camera Good Enough?

Yes, except for one thing, the design goals of a smartphone are different than the design goals of a dedicated camera.

Smartphones are designed to do as many things as possible.

Smartphones are designed to be push-button easy to use (fewer options. no training).

Because the smartphone is a general purpose computing/communication device, it will never fully replace a dedicated camera. Yes, never. I don't care how good the smartphone sensors get.

Why Choose a Digital Compact Camera?

A compact digital camera is going to appeal to the photography enthusiast, and some professionals. Both are enthusiasts and both desire a camera that they can take wherever they go.

The number one goal of a camera is to take photographs.

  • Camera-first design - its single purpose in life is to facilitate the process of making a photo.
  • A larger image sensor (so far) - more light, better photo. More pixels gives you the ability to crop the photo and create a better composition, without losing detail.
  • A display that pivots flat - for low shots or high shots.
  • Electronic viewfinder, because sometimes you just can't see the dang screen in the blinding sunlight.
  • Manual controls - because the camera doesn't always know what I want.
  • Everyday carry potential - A compact camera is grab and go. More opportunities, more shots.


With every camera there's a compromise. But the wise saying holds true: The best camera is the one you have with you.

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer for MOTOR Texas.


Do you have a comment, update or tip about this page?
Email to: motortexas.usa
Or use the Feedback form


Washington Gallery in Waco

Michael Tarabay - Texas Car Photography

Walter Christie - Inventor of "The Freak" Automobile