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5 Things Your Camera Can Do that Your Smartphone Might Not Be Able To Do

5 Things Your Camera Can Do that Your Smartphone Might Not Be Able To Do

Your smartphone is probably able to snap, edit, and share photos on the fly, but that may mean prioritizing portability and convenience over image quality. When looking at true photography, there are five things your Canon camera can do that your smartphone might not be able to do.

1. Zoom in From a Distance

Zoom in From a Distance

You caught an adorable pic of your dog from across the room with your smartphone's zoom, but the image looks grainy. That's because your smartphone camera might not actually zoom at all.

Sure, there's a zoom option, but the software in your smartphone might just re-frame and crop the image to create the illusion of closeness. Standalone digital cameras with optical zoom mechanically adjust the lens, capturing a crisp image and creating contrast between the focus and background.

2. Foster Self-Expression

Foster Self-Expression

Though smartphone cameras may be great for utilitarian tasks, they might not offer the visual options afforded by most digital cameras. Many smartphone cameras offer customization presets such as filters, but they're likely not as in-depth as the manual settings of a digital camera. Without using an app, your smartphone's camera probably can't change your aperture for genuine depth-of-field effects (like lending a soft background to your perfect foodography shot), or use long exposure to capture the motion trails of taillights in the city. Options like these not only allow you to take better pictures - they help your vision come alive.

3. Capture Nighttime Images

Capture Nighttime Images

Some smartphone cameras may lack the light sensitivity, fast image processors and long exposure times of digital cameras (which use evaluative metering to determine the optimal shutter speed and aperture). Long story short, digital cameras find the light and let it in. If you're prone to taking nighttime photos, this is a feature you can't afford to forego, or else you may end up with a mess of shadows and darkness.

Speaking of letting the light in, choosing a prime (or fixed focal length) lens for your digital camera gives you quality shots, even in low light - so go ahead and grab that last snap as the campfire embers die down. And while you're swapping lenses, don't forget to try a wide-angle lens for epic, long-exposure landscape photography that can lend cloudy skies a dramatic depth of field.

4. Last Longer - A Lot Longer

Last Longer - A Lot Longer

Between texting, emailing, streaming videos and feeding your gaming addiction, you're sometimes lucky if your smartphone battery lasts through the day - which might leave you high and dry for spur-of-the-moment snaps. Digital cameras employ hefty lithium-ion battery packs (like the NB-6LH pack in Canon's S and SX series) that can last for days, not hours. After all, photo ops wait for no one.

Not only do digital cameras offer you the option of swapping out batteries (so there's no need to search for a power outlet to recharge your camera), but you can exchange your memory card, too. Smartphones may offer download features and ample storage space, but if you do run out of room, you'll likely have to go through and delete the outtakes one by one to create room. Not so with a digital camera!

5. Take Clearer Pictures

Take Clearer Pictures

Megapixels don't just sound cool on paper - they're crucial in determining the clarity of your pictures. Many of today's smartphones (like the various iPhone models) sport camera resolutions of between 8 and 12 megapixels, while cameras like the Canon Powershot G9 X clock in at more than 20 megapixels. Even more importantly, larger camera sensors - like the 1-inch sensor at the core of the PowerShot G-series line of cameras - typically result in better photos.

The sensor size determines how much light the camera lets in, and that light translates into information the camera processes to produce a clear picture - the more information, the better the photo. In terms of image quality, that means the difference between a digital camera's large sensor capturing the perfect ray of light between tree branches and a smartphone's small sensor only managing a bunch of lens flare.

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