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For it's price point and pixel count, the Canon PowerShot G3 (2002) produced pretty good images. Now that mine is 12 years old, it doesn't hold a charge anymore and getting a new battery seems like more trouble than its worth. I was initially considering replacing it with an entry to mid-level DSLR. After taking a look at the Nokia Lumia 1020, I can't help but wonder if this would be a better choice for me. I looked at both cameras in the store (though I only actually handled the Nokia), and I found the bulkiness of the DSLR's lens to be major concern (I am petite and have very small hands).

I have looked at what DPReview had to say about the Nokia and their main negative point (takes a long time to write out the image to memory, causing a noticeable delay between shots) doesn't seem any worse than my current camera. The only thing I've seen that I don't like is that there's no remote shutter.

I primarily shoot in AV mode with the lowest ISO setting I can get away with. My primary subject matter includes landscapes and animals. My dog in particular is very energetic, so I would like to make sure that whatever I choose is going to be able to keep up with him (quick zooming/autofocusing).

Here's a few of my favorite photos from the G3:

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The Nokia 1020 can make some good images, but I'd argue that if you're the type of person who is likely to hold onto a camera for 12 years, I wouldn't get locked into a camera dependent on a phone operating system.

Windows Phone 8 is new enough that we don't know about long term supportability, Android phones are notorious for not receiving updates after a year or two, and Apple has shown that while they'll support iPhones for a while (longer than anyone else), that's only a period of 4 years or so.

  • I think you may be right. After a little more digging, I've seen some complaints about how the filesystem is locked down similar to the iPhone, which is a concern for me. – cimmanon Mar 17 '14 at 14:16
  • Support situation isn't that much better in camera department. E.g. the G3 firmware was released around 2003; EOS 5D, replaced by mkII in 2008, received its latest update in 2009. – Imre Mar 20 '14 at 13:26
  • @Imre, you are less likely to need a upgrade of the software on a single purpose device – Ian Mar 20 '14 at 15:43
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I have a Nokia Lumia 920. Not a 1020, but similar. The camera is better than any other phone camera I've ever seen or used. And even better, there's a camera app developed by Nokia -- not Microsoft -- that gives you as much control over your phone camera as you would over a DSLR camera. ISO, aperture, manual focus, etc. It's an incredibly versatile camera and it takes crisp, clear photos that can rival my older Nikon d50.

@ahockley is right in that you don't know how long Windows will continue to support the phone itself. And the line of phones as a whole is very young -- while they're incredibly durable, I haven't even had mine a year so I wouldn't be able to tell you what it will be like in four, or eight years. Compare this to an actual DSLR where you can have a good idea of the life of your camera before you even buy it.

The biggest thing to keep in mind before making the purchase is that the value of the camera is directly tied into the value and lifespan of the phone itself. There's risk involved here, but if you're looking for portability and price, I don't think you could go wrong with choosing the phone, at least until you decide you might want to invest in a larger DSLR.

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A camera phone and a DSLR are just about the opposite in every way:

Camera phone: fixed lens, no supported accessories, small and light, built for quick snapshots and easy sharing, will be obsolete in 3 years.

DSLR: replaceable lens, more accessories than you can count, bulky and (relatively) heavy, built to give the photographer control, a system you can keep using parts of virtually forever.

If you want to quickly take a picture and share it take the phone - the DSLR won't do that.

If you like to control everything and/or use lighting and accessories take the DSLR - the phone will not drive an external flash.

I have the lumia 925, it has the best camera I've ever seen on a phone, it takes really great pictures (and the 1020 is supposed to be much better) but when I take pictures I want my DSLR with the easy manual controls and my flash.

  • As a camera, the G3 is somewhere between the point and shoots and the DSLRs. Since I only use the stock lens on my current camera, the availability of accessories isn't much of a selling point to me. – cimmanon Mar 20 '14 at 19:13
  • @cimmanon the G3 is a good high-end point-and-shoot, I know because I almost bought one as a second camera, it's not somewhere between a P&S and a DSLR - a DSLR is a system with replaceable parts that can be adapted to anything, it's a completely different world, I personally love it and can't imagine going back from a bag full of equipment to a simple camera - but it's not for everyone, if you want a simple camera both Canon and Nikon make really good high end P&S - and the high end Nokia phones are amazing for their size and weight (but a phone lasts only ~3 years before you need to upgrade) – Nir Mar 20 '14 at 19:43
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A phone is not a camera. A bluray player is not a cd player. An RV is not a car, nor a house.A bluray player is a good backup for a cd player (Ive often tried to get one from hifi brands thats supposed to be a replacement, but always beg to have my old cd player back haha). An RV is a convenient vessel for camping trips on the go. A phone with a good camera (good for being a phone camera) is a convenient backup plan for random situations you want to share and remember.

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