Cameras in Phones Are Now Better Than Compact Cameras from 5 Years Ago

A few weeks ago, we casually remarked that the best cameraphones today can probably snap better photos than top-of-the-line compact cameras from over a decade ago. Turns out that it’s true.

Camera equipment rating service DxOMark announced today that it will be expanding its tests to cover the cameras found in mobile devices (e.g. cellphones, smartphones, and tablets). In its initial “first glance” of the industry published today, the service makes an interesting claim: that “mobile image quality is now superior to that of 5-year-old compact cameras” (so we were off by around 5 years).

Here’s what they wrote in a press release sent out today:

Mobile phone cameras have become a key feature for a large number of consumers: in 2011, more than one quarter of all photos were taken with a mobile phone. This trend has accelerated in 2012 – which may end up being the year when mobile photography surpasses traditional amateur compact camera photography.

Mobile phone image quality has also made considerable progress – for example, the image quality of the Nokia 808 PureView, in first place in the DxOMark Mobile rankings for still photos, is superior to that of a 5-year-old compact camera. And as for video, the best mobile tested in this category, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, outperforms the Canon Powershot 100.

As you can see from the chart above, though, cameraphones still have a ways to go before they can match the quality of the latest digital cameras on the market.

(via DxOMark via Photo Rumors)

Image credit: Graphic by DxOMark

  • newamericanclassic

    I’m sure that’s true. I remember when my dad bought one of the first commercial digital cameras in the late 90’s–it was a 1 MP beast from Kodak, with like a 1″ LCD screen. I remember being thrilled by the ‘voice recorder’ function.

    It didn’t even use JPGs, so I had to dl a converter to access those photos. A few years later, compact digital cameras were everywhere and they all had video functionality.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    I had a Sony Mavica. It was so awesome! You could record images to a floppy disc!!!

  • sierrarobba

    Still film looks best!

  • mko

    Finally an article about smartphone photography that features phones other than i phone!

  • Yo.

    The reason for this is that they picked one of the best phones with a great camera. An iPhone really can’t compare. It would be on the 60’s.

  • Knur

    The film is finally dead. Get over it.

  • Sol_Invictus

    Sounds like you need to upgrade your digital camera.

  • star

    It is incredible developing! The innovation of camera in mobile phone keeps going to surpass the traditional camera. And it is also going to develop as time passes.

  • Cookiepus

    Sorry, but what to the vertical numbers up to 100 represent?

  • strangelove91

    Does the Galaxy SIII record HD video with STEREO sound? Because the Powershot 100 does. 1080p video with mono sound is an abomination – no depth, no presence.

  • qlakk qlakk

    Interesting but a little bit biased in two ways. First because the G5 was pretty much a high end model, so you could have been less demanding there, but also because the Nokia is – by far – a better camera than the other smartphones. It would have make more sense to compare an average compact of 2007 with an average smartphone camera or at least a mainstream one (iPhone 5 / Galaxy III). Further more, you cannot summarize the comparison with the DxO number which remains interesting. And the sensor size will always matter – not always in a bad way whatever many may think – and as long as those of the smartphones remains way smaller, they still have some real differences. Good photographers will used the huge DOF, the others will complain about and anyway that’s a clear difference between the two systems. Last point, there is no doubt they can now provide very decent pictures for casual shooting – when not more – so I am wondering what kind of discussion you expect here to start!

  • peter25253

    that means the pure view sensor is as good as a 5D MK2 sensor??
    i don´t know you.. but we must love DXO for it´s great tests.. not?

  • peter25253

    how much money DXO get for their tests from the camera maker. :)
    the higher the number the better the test.

  • Jason

    The Pureview 808 costs 4x what a cheap digital camera cost 5 years ago. Point?