Handphones are destroying memories (handphone cameras vs point and shoot cameras)

What a bold statement to make, right?

Having lived in Indonesia for half a decade, I’ve witnessed a revolution in handphone/cellphone technology – a revolution which swept across Asia and throughout the world. Upon my arrival, handphones were something you used to call someone with – and that’s about all. With the arrival of video and photo capturing abilities built into these pocket rockets, there’s little need to carry other gadgets around – or is there?

I cringe when I see people using their phones as a camera to capture irreplaceable memories. Now, I’m not talking about snapshots with friends, office parties, bar moments, and the ability to record your parking space. I mean when I visit astounding locations such as Borobudur Temple, Tanah Lot, or when capturing memories which will never-again be repeated: birthdays, holidays, births, etc.

I realize the convenience of just being able to pull out this device which is always with you, and take video or photos of these times. But the simple fact is that even your four year old 4 megapixel point and shoot camera will take much better photos than a handphone. And please don’t get suckered into believing that megapixels alone make a good photograph. Even if they pack 8 megapixels into the latest Nokia, it won’t hold a candle to that same 4 megapixel P&S.

It’s not the megapixels so much as sensor size which creates the gap in image quality with mobiles vs other type of cameras. The sensor size in a mobile phone is quite small. The smaller the sensor, the less light is introduced to the sensor, therefore requiring more sensitivity to be amplified. That creates more heat, and the heat thereby makes noise. As the megapixels density is increased, generally this just gets to be even more of a problem. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, take two identical photos with an average point and shoot, and then take the same photo with your handphone’s camera. Oh, and just for kicks, try that same type of shot in low light.

Perhaps a few years ago, most of these people would have been using their point and shoot to capture the same moment as they now use their sub-par handphone camera to do so. Ironically, as technology marches forward, the quality of their digital memories has decreased.

The point I’m making, is don’t be deceived into the marketing hype, believing that the latest handphone’s digital camera should be a valid replacement for your camera. If you’re traveling to a unique destination, make sure you use your camera, not your handphone. And if you’re recording your child’s first steps – (time permitting) grab your video camera, not your handphone. You (and your child) will thank yourselves later.

This is not to say that technology will never catch up. Surely those lab coats are dreaming up things none of us can yet fathom, and in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be proven dead wrong and this post will be null. But live for now, use that little point and shoot instead of your handphone, and take time to capture these moments. Aren’t your memories worth it?