As a photographer it's often said that the best camera you have is the one you have with you. So by that mantra we've got no complaints about cell phone imaging. Not to mention the high quality images produced by such camera lines such as the Apple iPhone, Nokia Lumina, and Samsung Galaxy make it a little easier.
Phone companies seem hell-bent on making consumers believe their cell phone camera can rival a DSLR. After all, if an iPhone photo looks good on a billboard that takes up more square footage than a Manhattan apartment, why would you ever need an expensive bulky DSLR?
The Pursuit of the DSLR Quality Cell Phone
For as long as the 'slim' design sticks for cell phones, their cameras will never match DSLR quality by conventional photography methods simply due to sensor size and optics. Though with phones like the recently announced large sensor Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, we are getting a lot closer.
While we're always looking forward to our next cell phone upgrade, it's easy to forget the numerous rudimentary cell phone cameras we've since discarded.
In 2007 we saw the first cell phone cameras emerging capable of capturing video, and it was just 6 years earlier that the world was introduced to the first ever cell phone camera.
Zero Megapixels of Pure Amazement
In 2001 Sharp announced the first cell phone camera* the J-SH04 with a 0.1 Megapixel integrated camera capable of capturing and sharing images over a cell signal. Images captured were 352 x 288 pixels. The J-SH04 had 0.2 MB of memory, a phonebook that let you store up to 500 contacts, and cost nearly $500 USD. [Full Specs]
BBC News posted an article about its release in September 2001, with the opening line of the article reading : "The Japanese are crazy about taking miniature pictures of themselves." - referring to the small screen size presumably. The BBC encouraged readers to leave their opinions in the comments section and boy did they. 14 years later the comments are pure gold. Enjoy.
Priceless Reactions to Worlds First Cell Phone Camera
A picture-shooting cellphone certainly is a curious invention. It could be handy for delicate investigation or infiltration. If you disguise it a bit better, who would know to look for a camera on a phone? - Johanna, Finland
I would use the camera during business meetings to take sneaky pictures of competitors notes for analysis later. - L. Buckley, UK
I often travel overseas on business from Australia. A phone like this would mean that I could send back pictures of my experiences while travelling and my family could send me pictures of the children's birthdays and other special events which I always seem to miss. Seeing a picture while on the phone to the family would be just that little bit closer to actually being there and make these long trips a little less lonely. - W. Meyerink, UK
Take pictures of friendly dogs I see when I walk around. - John, US
This would be helpful in my line of work. Since I am the manager of safety and health department, I could take a picture of a problem and send it directly to the responsible manager. You do not have to be a teenager to use something new, exciting and helpful. - Murf, USA
Here are some good uses I just thought up. In car accidents, you can take a photo, and send it directly to the insurance company. If you have an injury, then you can send a photo straight to NHS direct, or the ambulance men so they know what to expect. On similar lines, photo something like a fire or incident so the police know what they are dealing with before they get there. - C. Hunter, England
If it were cheap enough for teenagers, I could see it being a great way of shopping for clothes on a wide scale. No longer would girls have to go in groups, they could each scout out the good outfits, send pictures, and compare prices. It would be inclusive - even if one of the gang is too ill, or busy their opinion can be sought. Prove you've met your pop idol and send the pictures straight away. Set your friends up on dates and send instant pictures to potential mates. Infinite uses for the teenager, not entirely sure what the rest of us would do with one though. - Lizz, UK
I would use the camera phone to take pictures of my best friend, my dog Benson. - M. Brown, England
Great for spying. The camera could be held against a keyhole, and the images immediately sent to any interested parties. - R. Holman, London, England
It would be an easy way to let like minded hobbyists see what you have got, and, even let the wife choose her present from abroad! - Robbie, Scotland
Just another example of technological advances enticing us to pay ever more money for lower quality images. - S. Cordon, UK
It's only a first step in making that video cell phone. I can see companies releasing this phone to get as much cash as they could so they could continue their quest to making that perfect video cellphone. - T. Nguyen, US
The next logical step, but I think the quality is too inferior to be of much practical use. If someone is going to do it, then at least they could do it properly with a 4 megapixel zoom camera, 1Gb RAM, Global Positioning and fast data transfer via infra-red or wireless or cable to computer/ftp/e-mail account, video transmission to TV preview, and in addition to being a phone, PDA, web browser, internet radio and mp3 player/recorder. We will soon end up with lots of obsolete also-rans when one holy grail of a device will eventually be able to do it all. On the other hand, if it gives people a lot of fun and they can afford it, then each to their own. Andy Haveland-Robinson, Hungary
Check out the full original article for more insightful comments! Link
* Technically the first cell phone camera was the Samsung SCH-V200 in the year 2000, but it is not regarded as the first because it could not send the images over a cell signal.