Smartphones outperforming high-end compact cameras

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CNET Editor

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while now. According to equipment and sensor evaluation service DxO Mark, some smartphones take better photos and videos than their high-end compact camera counterparts.

(Credit: DxO Mark)

That claim does come with a bit of a caveat, though. As shown in the diagram above, Nokia's 41-megapixel monster, the 808 PureView, outperformed Canon's PowerShot G5. But before you throw your compact camera in the bin, remember that the G5 is a camera that was released in 2003 — not exactly a contemporary competitor.

What the testing does show is that mobile phones have come leaps and bounds, in terms of image quality, since the first model for a camera phone was released by Sharp in 2000.

Another interesting revelation from the analysis is video performance, which is where mobiles are really starting to come into their own. When it comes to taking higher-quality HD videos, according to DxO Mark, the Samsung Galaxy S3 outperforms Canon's PowerShot S100 camera (which was released last year).

(Credit: DxO Mark)

The findings from DxO Mark are just an initial look at the state of the camera market. While the results aren't conclusive enough to make us declare the compact camera market down and out, it certainly shows that traditional camera manufacturers can no longer rest on their image-quality laurels.

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