Most new smartphones and tablets will record high definition video (HD or Full HD - see the Preparing to record chapter). Such high-quality footage means that the first documentaries are being made on smartphones. In addition, the earliest digital SLRs with the Android operating system are now being sold:
The Nikon Coolpix s800c and the Samsung Galaxy Camera (above) have a much higher quality lens and set of features than those of smartphones and tablets1.
Most people, though, will be using their phones or tablets as video cameras. Lenses on smartphones and tablets are smaller than on digital SLRs and stand-alone video cameras, leading to lower contrast ratio, depth of field and tonal range. They also lack many of the manual image controls of more dedicated camera technology.
But the overriding advantage of mobile devices is that we always have them with us. Other advantages are the ease with which they “point and shoot”, and the fact that they can connect to the internet. These features make them uniquely suitable for capturing an event as it happens, and getting it online quickly.
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