I was recently asked to give a talk on photographing jewelry with a cellphone camera. This has become an interesting exercise in exploring the limitations of small cameras!

Cellphone cameras{{1}}  are convenient, we all have one with us most of the time{{2}}. And as long as you remember the limitations, they are surprisingly good. I have talked before about how good modern cameras are with “technical” things like exposure and focus. Cell phones fall into this category of pretty good. As long as you don’t push them too hard, you don’t need to worry about what, 30 years ago, were called “the basics.”

Where CPC’s fall short is in the more creative aspects of photography. Small sensors mean shorter lenses, which means greater depth of field and less bokeh. This short lens also means that you need to get closer to small objects{{3}}. By getting closer to your subject, you distort perspective (One day I will write an article on perspective….) which may or may not be a good thing, but you are not given much choice.

Another issue with a CPC as opposed to a real camera is the lack of a tripod socket. Even a very basic point and shoot camera has a tripod socket. This is very handy for a) holding the camera steady, and b) fine tuning your composition. To solve this problem, you can buy or make a tripod adapter, but it is not as convenient nor as steady as a traditional camera on a tripod.

In short, yes you can use a cell phone, but be prepared to work a little harder to get a lower quality image…

With my phone (admittedly not a great CPC) I also have much more noise, but that is not really fair, comparing it to my D600…

[[1]]lets call them CPC’s to save me some typing…[[1]]

[[2]]I recently read an article that said something like 80% of Canadians have a smartphone with them on average 23 hours per day.[[2]]

[[3]]Yes I know almost all of these small cameras have a digital zoom, which sort of mitigates this issue, but it cuts down your resolution[[3]]

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