What is a Camera Phone?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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A camera phone is a type of mobile phone that is equipped with a small digital camera. Camera phones began to emerge in the early part of the twenty first century, and were originally quite expensive. Improvements in the technology coupled with popular demand made the appearance of mobile phones equipped with cameras ubiquitous. Some wireless phones have cameras with excellent resolution, allowing the user to take a crisp, high quality picture.

A camera phone usually houses the camera interface at the top of the phone. The user aims the camera phone at the object which needs to be photographed and pushes a button on the phone to take the picture. Usually the picture appears immediately, and the user has the option to send the picture to another individual with a camera phone, email the image, save the picture, or throw it away if the picture came out poorly. Most phones include enough memory to store a reasonable number of photos.

Camera phones represent a major advance in visual communications, as people with cellular phones all over the world can quickly send pictures to each other. Many people have found a camera phone quite useful when they are in a vehicle accident or on the scene of breaking news, both instances where a camera is a valuable thing to have. A camera phone is also an alternative to a traditional digital camera, which can be bulky in comparison to a mobile phone.


Because the camera phone is such a popular tool, many devices are designed to interface with it. In most cases, a camera phone can be hooked up to a computer so that images can be extracted. Users can also email pictures to themselves to get them off the camera. Blogging software allows users to post from a camera phone, including a small caption along with the image. Comment boards and news websites also sometimes include software to communicate with camera phones.

The resolution of a camera phone can vary widely. Initially, the technology allowed for only small, blurry images. As cell phone manufacturers perfected the technique, resolution improved, and the amount of memory on cell phones was increased. While the images still look small and grainy on the screen of the phone, when transferred to another medium they can be quite acceptable for many uses. Camera phones with a higher resolution still tend to command a higher price, because their manufacture is more difficult.


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Post 6

@Farah1 - If you are serious about using your cell phone to take pictures, then I would encourage you to consider getting another phone.

I have had my fair share smart phones. I usually get a new one once a year. Like you, I really like taking pictures on my phone, especially since I do not own a digital camera. Two phones that stand out to me when it comes to quality picture taking are the IPhone 4 and the HTC Evo.

I gave these two options because they are only available on certain wireless networks. The IPhone is available through AT&T and Verizon, while the HTC Evo only comes with a Sprint contract. They both have a pretty good resolution, zoom, and a great flash. With either of these phones, you would never need a digital camera.

Hope this helps. Have fun taking pictures!

Post 5

I never thought my cell phone camera would have gotten me a job, or at least a profitable hobby. I have always enjoyed taking pictures for fun. I especially love taking pictures of scenery and landscapes. I uploaded my pictures to Facebook, like everyone else does.

One of my friends saw one of my pictures and really liked it. He works for a magazine, and he said that they might be interested in using my image in an article that they would be posting soon. Sure enough, the editor liked it, and offered to pay me for it.

Ever since then, I have been doing a little freelance photography, on my Blackberry! I do wish it had a flash though. Not having one only allows me to take images with a lot of surrounding light.

Post 4

@epiphany5 - You bring up an excellent point at the end of your post. Cell phone cameras, especially those that can take moving pictures, have changed the way news is broadcasted around the world.

When breaking news occurs, it is usually captured on a cell phone long before news cameras can even get to the scene. My best friend works at a local TV news station. They are constantly getting tips from people in the community on possible news stories.

I think it is a great idea to allow people to submit their cell phone video to news broadcasters. Often times, it is the only footage that is available from a news scene. That usually is the case when it comes to instances of police brutality.

Post 3

Reading this article takes me back to the time when cameras for cell phones first started to make an appearance in America. I can remember being in middle school and seeing a Sprint commercial for a small camera that you would take pictures with, and then attach it to your cell phone to view and send the pictures. Me and my friends were so excited to get that phone and camera!

Technology has come a long way since then. Today, it would be hard to find a cell phone that does not come with a camera installed in it. If any such cell phones do exist, they are probably not selling well.

One thing is for sure. Cell phone cameras have made it a whole lot easier to spread news stories around the world.

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