1. MoreDef's Avatar
    I'm wondering if a budget of $400 can get me a pocket camera that would be better than any Pixel, iPhone or Samsung with strictly photography. I understand that a smart phone has the capability to capture and touch up point and shoot shots with ai and processing, but are there point and shoot cameras for my budget that would be better than a smartphone? When I say "better", I'm thinking specifically about a camera that does well in lowlight and captures stills despite subject movement.

    On a side-note, imagine a dedicated point and shoot camera equipped with Pixel ai and processing. It wouldn't be restricted to a rectangular sandwich and could include a larger lens and didn't need to be able to do anything besides take the best photos. How much would you pay for a camera like that?
    belodion likes this.
    05-24-2022 03:24 PM
  2. fuzzylumpkin's Avatar
    I'm not actually a camera person, but I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

    Point and shoot cameras or a dead technology at this point... I'd be willing to bet that the best camera you can get for $400 is a pixel 5A lol.
    05-24-2022 03:50 PM
  3. MoreDef's Avatar
    My $200 Pixel 4 begs to differ.

    But yeah, I'm just wondering if there's a comparison between the capabilities of a mirrorless pocket camera versus a smartphone with computational photography. Is technology so good now that the jack of all trades phone is better than the camera tech that is specifically made for this one job?
    05-24-2022 04:08 PM
  4. B. Diddy's Avatar
    The problem with point-and-shoots is that they don't have the same kind of post-processing that Pixels (and to a lesser extent other smartphone cameras) have. I had some pretty decent Panasonic Lumix point and shoots back in the day, and was never satisfied with their performance.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-24-2022 04:34 PM
  5. MoreDef's Avatar
    That's one of the brands I was looking at. I see the Lumix consistently show up on lists as great for beginners, but your experience gives me pause as to whether or not I'd like the experience. I mean, I'm not interested in any of the manual work, I just want better photos than what smartphones give...if that's even possible. I guess what I'm thinking is that mirrorless cameras with larger sensors would give you better shots and faster shutter speeds, hence the ability to capture shots with less motion blur more consistently. I could also be totally off and no such thing exists =\
    05-24-2022 05:10 PM
  6. B. Diddy's Avatar
    What I recall about Lumix cameras is that the photos never seemed particularly vivid. I also had a Nikon Coolpix (I think L820, the bigger kind that's kind of a cross between a point and shoot and DSLR), and although it had the advantage of having a much more powerful telephoto, it had problems with contrast out in the daylight (i.e., shadows would be way too dark).
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-24-2022 05:23 PM
  7. fuzzylumpkin's Avatar
    That's one of the brands I was looking at. I see the Lumix consistently show up on lists as great for beginners, but your experience gives me pause as to whether or not I'd like the experience. I mean, I'm not interested in any of the manual work, I just want better photos than what smartphones give...if that's even possible. I guess what I'm thinking is that mirrorless cameras with larger sensors would give you better shots and faster shutter speeds, hence the ability to capture shots with less motion blur more consistently. I could also be totally off and no such thing exists =\
    That's the thing, if you're not interested in the manual work the orders of magnitude better processors and the far superior software on a smartphone will give you for better results than a point or shoot or even a real camera. It's my firm belief that a pixel 6 or a galaxy S22 ultra will take far better photographs than a canon 5D in the hands of a novice who isn't willing to put in the effort.

    And just for the record, that isn't a judgement. I am that novice lol
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-24-2022 05:25 PM
  8. MoreDef's Avatar
    Thanks guys...and yeah, I'm an ultra novice. No, wait, I'm a complete noob, and I've got no problem admitting it. Maybe I'm giving camera tech more credit, as I've imagined I could carry a pocket camera that could point and shoot better than a smart phone based simply on larger lenses and parts specifically made to not only take pictures, but not be limited by having to fit in a thin rectangle that also doubles as a phone. If this technology doesn't exist yet, I guess I'll wait. Thanks for saving me money and disappointment.
    05-24-2022 05:36 PM
  9. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I concur with others. IMO, a point and shoot camera is inferior to a good smartphone camera. The only better camera would be a DSLR.
    MoreDef and mustang7757 like this.
    05-24-2022 10:36 PM
  10. tadpoles's Avatar
    Thanks guys...and yeah, I'm an ultra novice. No, wait, I'm a complete noob, and I've got no problem admitting it. Maybe I'm giving camera tech more credit, as I've imagined I could carry a pocket camera that could point and shoot better than a smart phone based simply on larger lenses and parts specifically made to not only take pictures, but not be limited by having to fit in a thin rectangle that also doubles as a phone. If this technology doesn't exist yet, I guess I'll wait. Thanks for saving me money and disappointment.
    A good CONTEMPORARY point-n-shoot camera (released within the last couple of years) may compete favorably with today's flagships. However, there is so much emphasis put on mobile phone cameras, even if they're not dramatically better than a contemporary point-n-shoot, I'd imagine they'd not be far behind.
    05-25-2022 11:17 AM
  11. MoreDef's Avatar
    Isn't that sad though? That a camera can't camera as well as a phone.

    Imagine a Google-created point and shoot. I would throw so much money at my screen the moment it was announced.
    05-25-2022 11:19 AM
  12. tadpoles's Avatar
    Isn't that sad though? That a camera can't camera as well as a phone.

    Imagine a Google-created point and shoot. I would throw so much money at my screen the moment it was announced.
    It makes sense, actually. The best camera is the one you always have with you. That'd be the phone, for most people. So that is where camera technology emphasis has been placed, to improve those mobile phone cameras. A point-n-shoot is probably not getting the development resources that mobile phone cameras are.

    That said, a contemporary point-n-shoot will likely have a larger lens and will have decent processing power as well. ...but today's mid-to-flagship phones are extremely powerful in all areas. Especially cameras, as that's what the public wants and where our dollars are going.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-25-2022 11:36 AM
  13. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Isn't that sad though? That a camera can't camera as well as a phone.

    Imagine a Google-created point and shoot. I would throw so much money at my screen the moment it was announced.
    Remember the Galaxy S4 Zoom and K Zoom, and the Hasselblad camera Moto Mod for the Moto Z line? If I remember correctly, those were still pretty mediocre in terms of picture quality. But I agree, with Google's Pixel camera know-how, it would be pretty cool to see what they did with a bigger sensor and lens.
    MoreDef and Laura Knotek like this.
    05-25-2022 04:05 PM
  14. MoreDef's Avatar
    Yessss! I wasn't into phones as much back then, but I wonder how they stacked up against the competition. I'm sure that relative to the competition, they were probably amazing...although being that there was no computational photography, it would still probably pale in comparison to today's models.

    I am tempted to look for one and just see what kind of pictures it can take. I just shudder at trying to interact with og TouchWiz.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    05-25-2022 04:08 PM
  15. Mooncatt's Avatar
    So how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go, and just how much do you want to spend? At $400, you can likely get a really nice point and shoot. Would it be better than a flagship smartphone? Yes and no.

    You specifically mentioned low light and freezing motion. In these aspects, they are probably going to be on par with each other. A P&S camera typically has a larger sensor for better light gathering, but not by much. This will naturally make more of the available light with less sensor noise. On the other hand, modern phones are likely to have larger apertures, letting you gather more light at a lower ISO, which also helps reduce sensor noise. It's easier to make a large aperture on a small lens, and making bigger apertures on bigger lenses gets expensive quick. But back to P&S, the larger sensor and higher quality optics can give you more to work with if you need to edit anything due to having more actual data compared to sensor noise.

    If you like AI, then no one beats the phones. You're also likely to get features like image filters and timelapse. The trade-off here is not only do P&S cameras have a more "pure" image, but you get better ergonomics. I.e. A more comfortable grip, physical buttons, optical zoom, and no worry about shutter lag or getting a call just as you are about to take the shot. If you like setting up the shot yourself, you can make adjustments quicker and easier with a dedicated camera.

    Price is certainly a factor. It helps to understand that when you are buying a dedicated camera, you are buying it all. When you buy a phone, some of the costs for things like developing the software is recouped by Google et. al. selling your data.

    But, what if you had a larger budget, since you also asked about cameras with larger sensors? I'm a Pentax fan and own one of their DSLR's with multiple lenses, so I looked up their P&S camera options. Their current lineup is the Pentax/Ricoh GR III, and there's a few options depending on features and which lens you want (there's two non-zoom variants). They are a pocketable camera, but have APS-C sized sensors with optical image stabilization. That's the same size as most DSLR's before stepping up to full frame sensors, and that's giant compared to phones and mainstream P&S cameras. The lenses are also decently fast f/2.8 apertures. That means they will blow away a phone for low light and action performance. You also get many features not found on mainstream P&S cameras.

    The catch is they start at $900 new, and that doesn't include any of the accessories you can get, like an external optical viewfinder, hotshoe flash, lens hood, etc. Those accessories are certainly optional, but that line is like buying into a system, and isn't something you should choose lightly. If you're willing to spend that much and don't mind something bigger that can fit into a small bag, you may as well start looking into a true DSLR and lens. I personally shoot a Pentax K3 mkII (APS-C), which is built like a tank and one of their earlier flagships. That can often be found used in great condition for about $600. Pentax uses sensor based image stabilization, so ANY lens you get for it will retain stabilization (unlike other brands that rely on lens based stabilization). That means you can take advantage of pretty much any k-mount lens from the past 60 years or so with stabilization, letting you save a lot of dough. Plus many just like vintage lenses.

    Long story short, you asked if a $400 pocket camera can match a $1000 flagship smartphone for photos. The short answer is they will be closely matched depending on your specific use case and preferences (especially if you want to zoom). Perhaps the secondary question is if a $1,000 smartphone can match a $1,000 camera, in which case the camera wins almost hands down, and you can still have options that fit in your pocket.
    Laura Knotek and B. Diddy like this.
    05-25-2022 06:48 PM

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