Some think so. The megapixels it has, awesome!
Really? Well, again some think so. Realistically compared to cameras of a few years ago they have come a long way. But realistically compared to a camera, a real camera that is dedicated, they are no where near close in comparison. Really? Yes.. that is a fact.
So what is the problem. Well there are so many things that it really can not do well that it is hard to get the details here. The only thing it really does quite well, and something a photographer really does not want, is the onboard computer post processing – what it does to the image after you take the photograph to make it look reasonably good.
But lets look at limitations. First the lens, a small plastic lens. Plastic? Yes plastic! Optics of glass are expensive and a decent glass lens would drive the cost of the phone to prohibitive levels. The size of the lens! Even a glass lens of that size has some serious limitations in ability to work well. These range from ability to work well in low light, ability to accurately and quickly focus, depth of field, etc.
Oh those who use cameras as a sole camera are already thinking I am wrong. Well that is because they only use the phone and really have not compared the camera to anything that is really a dedicated camera. You see a good lens is going to cost more than your phone!! Yes more than even a top iPhone or Samsung phone!
But then there is the sensor. Oh it has many megapixels for sure.. but what does that mean. Well actually megapixels in a camera sensor is really a marketing tool and not much more. The marketing teams use it because it has become to the unsuspecting consumer a level of quality of the camera, and it is the only aspect of the sensor that can be easily manipulated at reasonably low cost. But even with the best sensors you would still get a mediocre photograph with that atrocious lens!
What is compromised with a small sensor? Lots! First keep in mind that good quality, premium sensors are as large as the whole phone! But small sensors – one significant problem is heat – which causes what is known as noise or errors in image. The post processing fudges these out but artificially creating image material to cover them for the most part, and does a fairly good job – but it is NOT the image you saw – it is the one created by a computer. Next is digital bandwidth, something that small sensors struggle with immensely. Then of course resolution – something closely related to pixel count – but cameras NEVER reach their stated resolution – again marketing tricks. Then the pixels themselves – for various reasons in physics – larger pixels actually perform better – but to get large number of pixels (which sell to consumes better) into a small sensor the pixels must be miniscule! Then light capturing ability – and the lens is a large part of this – although with the same lens a larger sensor captures more light. Then there is the marketing scam related to the Foveon chips used for sensors! Marketers multiply the number of pixels times three with Foveon chips.. there are a few reasons for this.. but what it means is a 24 megapixel Foveon sensor really only produces 8 megapixel image! There are a few other aspects I could get into – some more scientific than others.
But does all this really matter? No.. actually not. Unless you are a serious photographer hobbyist in which case it likely does. For the average one taking photos for Facebook your phone camera works fine! Even for printed images, as long as you don’t try to crop much or enlarge too much, you will be fine!
Good luck and enjoy.