What is a Camera Phone?
SUMMARY: What exactly is a 'camera phone' and what kinds of pictures can they take?
For those not "in the know", the definition of a camera phone is simply a cell / mobile phone that has a built-in camera. Most camera phones contain few if any features that digital photographers are used to, such as mode settings (night, landscape, portrait, etc), a zoom lens, flash, white balance adjustments, ISO sensitivity tweaking, and the capability of taking multi-megapixel pictures. However, all of this is changing with newer technology.
Some camera phones store pictures in memory built into the cell phone while others support add-on media. Without add-on media support, most camera phones can take very few pictures before you have to delete some to take more.
Why should you care about a camera phone if the pictures don't turn out as well as those taken from a compact, prosumer, or digital SLR camera?
* It's much easier to carry a cell phone around with you than most digital cameras, and people are more used to carrying around a phone than a camera. Camera phones are great for taking photos at the spur of the moment when something catches your eye (though don't take camera phone pictures while driving!). Plus, they are great at parties and get-togethers.
* Instant feedback. Many camera phones let you e-mail pictures to other camera phone users or anyone with an e-mail address as soon as you have taken the picture. Try that with most (if any) digital cameras. Many people are becoming roving photojournalists, capturing unique images and immediately sending them to news agencies, personal web sites, and blogs.
If you are interested in acquiring a camera phone, talk to your cell phone company. Most, if not all, cell phone providers support camera phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, and/or other brands. Note that camera phones are usually more expensive than other cell phones, and if you want the ability to send pictures via e-mail or to other camera phone users, you may have to pay extra per month and per photo sent.
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