CrackBerry Asks: Do you use your phone as your main camera?

BlackBerry Camera
By Adam Zeis on 14 Sep 2011 03:19 pm EDT

Since the release of the BlackBerry Bold 9930 / Bold 9900 many have been upset at the quality of the camera. Gone is the auto-focus we have been used to and here we have the EDOF camera to put to use. Some have had nothing but trouble with taking photos on their new devices, while others haven't made out too poorly. While I personally don't mind the camera, I know some of you that are furious at the poor quality and lack of auto-focus.

We're curious to know just how many of you use your phone as your main camera? When you're out and about running errands it's one thing, but when you go on a weeknd trip, to a show, sightseeing or sporting event -- do you use your phone as your only camera or do you bring a "real" camera along? Let us know in the poll above then sound off in the comments.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

CrackBerry Asks: Do you use your phone as your main camera?


Video quality across most blackberries, Curve and up, is excellent. It's DVD Quality. QVGA (320x240p) is even DVD quality, including HVGA (480x360p) and VGA (640x480p) and higher. I doubt the video quality is bad. There is always upstreaming using NCH software's Prism.

Aside from that, I have a VHS camcorder and MiniDV camcorder, 12mp olympus x42 digital camera and two older ones I don't use (backup cams), oh and a tripod ($200 value) I got for free.

I agree. It's not about the money.
I don't want to carry a phone, camera, gps, iPod, eReader... etc. I want one device to do it all.
So far almost two thirds of those polled agree.

I think it's more than two-thirds -- I answered the last option because for special occasions or events -- the kids' birthdays, vacations, or things in general I know in advance I want to take truly excellent pictures of, etc. -- I do bust out the SLR. But I don't want to carry it or any other camera around as a general proposition. I depend on my BB to do it all for me, as you suggest. (You forget pocket porn provider.)

So what!!! We aren't Professional photographers or the paparazzi! When i take pics i don't need a glamour shot or something to go in a magazine! I would sacrifice a little bit just so that i don't have to carry around extra devices where ever i go! Cameras on phones are so advanced now that the pics are more than GOOD when u take them! I don't need 50x ZOOM to see every pimple and pore on someones face! ------ OHHHHH LOOK ALIENS JUST LANDED...... OMG!!! HOW IS ANYONE GONNA BELIEVE ME IF I DONT TAKE A PICTURE OF THIS NOW!!! OHHH NOOOO.. I DiDNT BRING MY NIKON D5100( and its included AF-S 18-55mm VR lens offer a host of new photographic and video tools including a 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor, 4 fps continuous shooting and breathtaking Full 1080p HD Movies with full time autofocus) TO TAKE PERFECT GLAMOUR SHOTS OF THE ALIENS..... OHHH WELL I HAVE MY PHONE BUT THAT DOESNT TAKE THE PICS MY CAMERA DOES SO I GUESS I JUST CANT TAKE THE PICS! EVERYONE IS JUST GONNA HAVE TO BELIEVE ME ABOUT THIS WITH JUST HEARING IT FROM ME! HOPE NO ONE THINKS I'M CRAZY.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA LMFAO

holy crap ! you are passionate! Still not too terribly happy with the 9900's camera......

HAHAHA... Glad I'm making some people laugh! Its like come on this is not something to die over and fight over! Makes no sense telling people what they should do and like and that their opinion is crap! If i am ok taking pics with my crappy 3. whatever mp camera on my phone, then so be it! If i think a phone is a phone and i wanna buy a camera with a tripod, 5 different accessories and add on lenses that can zoom to see bacteria and have to carry it around in a school bag, that's my thing! It all depends on the person and what they prefer! I am not gonna tell some people drop their super cameras and use a phone cam... if that's what you want to use then be my guest! Some people are pro picture takers and paparazzi here, so they need the best pic possible! Put it this way... thank god for camera phones! If it weren't for them how else would we get to see all the hot celebrity actresses, and whats not, take naked and revealing pics of themselves and then have their phones stolen or hacked for the world to see! This is why blackberry needs to step its game up and go to better tech cameras on their devices! 8mp+!! Alot of celebrities have BlackBerrys lol! hahahaha! This is the way celebs take pics of themselves and others! If they want the glamor shots they have the paparazzi and pro photographers who follow them around and take pics all day with top cams and equipment! They don't need to own cams to get pics of them taking doing stuff... So everyone just CHILL

I think you hit the nail on the head.
The camera on your phone will not replace a DSLR camera, but enough people use their phones for most (if not all) of their daily pics that RIM should give it priority.
The technology exists for decent cameras on smart phones, RIM just needs to realize that it would be a good selling feature.

I was going to take pictures of the aliens, but they loved my 9850 Torch so much they took it, and since that's the only camera I usually have with me, you'll just have to take my word for it.... ;)

There's no question that a "real" camera takes higher res photos, but in using my BB phone I've realized that although I find some appeal in a real camera with higher MP resolution, the routine with my traditional digital camera would generally be: take photos (high res photos, mind you), months later download them to my laptop, store them on my laptop, repeat. The photos never actually made it anywhere or benefitted anyone! They weren't printed for viewing or for putting in a photo album, not emailed to friends, family or others, nothing! What I've found with my BB is that I take a lot of photos that I share instantly, through email, or online or even turning them into instantly mailed postcards with ShootIt app. So I've come to realize that although my Bold is only a 3.2MP camera, that resolution is fine for online viewing, emailing and general digital usage (which is by far the way most photos are seen these days) -- and so I'd much rather take lower res photos that I use and share and enjoy and do something with than 12MP high res photos that sit on my laptop withering.

Wow, never thought of it that way but now that you mention it, I do the same thing. My wife does a lot of scrap booking but most of the photo's she uses now comes from her phone. I usually take photo's with my 7 MP canon mini cam but it's my 5 MP 9930 photos that I share. That was a great insight to the truth of how we have evolved into mobile photographers and instent social people. Just think of how some breaking news or people searches have been provided by the average Joe and his cell phone. Heck, even the military wants to issue cell phones to their personnel, I think they chose BB's. Great post!

I use a digital SLR when I'm out and about for photography, I like the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and so on...but the BlackBerry built-in cam is OK for quickies or emergencies.


Dittos. If I *need* a camera, I'll grab my Nikon DSLR. If I need a camera, I keep a Canon point-and-shoot in my truck, which usually isn't very far away. If neither are available, I'll use the one in my camera.

I'm okay with 9930's image quality. I can accept no macro and poor low light performance because of the EDOF lens and tiny sensor. The biggest miss for me the color mapping would allow greater dynamic range in the highlights and shadows.

The trick is to try each of the scene modes and learn what effect they have on image quality. They do make a difference!

I only take a camera with me when I am on vacation. Otherwise the only one I have (and use quite frequently) is my BB camera, which is very nice on my new 9850.

Hi @juwaack68,

Alex from RIM here. The Torch’s camera is pretty sweet and if you haven’t tested out its 720p HD video recording capabilities, I highly recommend it. I’ve been shooting videos around the office just for fun and the Torch 9850’s 3.7" touch screen – the largest ever on a BlackBerry smartphone – made shooting great video both easy and fun.

A couple of weeks ago we published a post on our Inside BlackBerry Blog about recording and sharing HD videos with the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones. If you want to take your video skills up a notch, stop by and check it out:

Alex, RIM Social Media Team

I'm more upset at the terrible quality of the speakerphone on the 9930! It is horrible! You'd think for $350+tax you'd get a phone that has decent quality speakers. was the person at rim in charge of this deaf?

Take your phone back and get a replacement. You've obviously got a defective phone. The speaker on the 9900/9930 is loud and clear.

hmm thought i heard numerous people complaining about this at launch. anyway i'm not gonna get it replaced, don't want the hassle of re-setting everything up :/

But you'll complain about it on a public forum trashing the RIM and the quality of the device? That makes no sense...

you're damn right I will. it's a joke that I, the CONSUMER, should even have to do this. should I just keep my mouth shut, when I pay over $350 for something that doesn't work? It's their jobs to make phones that are high quality, yet the speakerphone wasnt. that makes no sense...

Yes, I love "trashing the RIM". dipsh*t

So far no problems with my 9930 video and camera. All seem to be working well! I was hoping to eliminate a device and only have to carry one but I would bring a real camera on vacations!

Digital SLR for events that I know I'll want to capture. If it's something with less warning, PlayBook if I have it with me (most of the time) or Bold 9900 if not. They still get me great photos but I'd never set aside a DSLR to just use a phone in all situations.

I always have my Canon 20D with a 28mm 1.8 with me. any pic i take on my phone is because I want to post a pic to FB or Twitter or i need to send someone a pic right now.

Lasr April I went on a cruise trip, and my point-and-shoot Nikon went largely unused. Most photos and videos were taken with my 9700 and my wife's Nokia E73. Some tweaking of options according to where we were at,and the photos came up nice!!

If i can have a good phone with a great camera, why would i have to carry around a camera for! Isn't that the point of companies getting the best specs for the cameras they put in their smart phones, and even dumb phones before?! If phones didn't have nice cameras then you would have to buy one to take all the pics u need! I am not a professional photographer, and i do not need every picture i take to look like if it was taken in a studio! I am not the paparazzi and i do not need a hefty camera with 14 mp a 50x zoom attachment that looks like cannon coming out from in front of it! Therefore if i want to take pictures of anything i reach to get my phone and just take the damn pic! I don't walk around with a camera in my pocket or a camera pouch with a camera in it... I'm not that into taking a million pics of everything just to put on Facebook or whatever other pic site there is. I use to own a LG KC 910 renoir for a while (when it just came out), and the camera on that for the time was simply amazing! 8 mp camera, and i took many pics with it when i was on vacation! My g/f used her cannon 8mp power shot at the time, and after comparing the pics she took to the little ones i took... the LG became the camera of choice for that trip! She didn't have to take around a camera everywhere... and it was as convenient as "take a pic" phone out... camera mode... BAM! WOW great pic! The only thing i complained about is my phone became the camera and the battery suffered as well... ohhh well we were on vacation and site seeing so not taking too much calls then.. INTERNATIONAL ROAMING RATES SUCK TOO haha, so i didn't mind! I came back to BlackBerry after that experiment, but i truly miss the camera on the phone! the pics were great! If only BlackBerry would learn and stop being cheap and go all out with the specs on their phones i will someday say the same of a Berrys camera... 9900 come close with the 720 p recording but falters greatly in the taking PICs department! Anyways i gave my mom that phone... and since then she has not used here camera to take pics... Rarely does she use it... unless its trips where she has to take alot of pics with family, sites, etc. And this is because she has a Sony CyberShot 14 mp. So my conclusion is if a phone can offer a camera that is good enough to take nice pics to substitute a camera... Then why would i have to carry around 2 devices if the phone can do a good enough job!

BTW... My 9700 takes good enough pics now and then, nothing great but they can pass! If i had a 9780 with the 5mp i would probably be more content but ohhh well.... I still haven't bought a new Berry (**cough cough ** 9900 camera kinda sucks **cough**) or phone, but when i do the camera is a feature that is also looked at! The purpose of smart phones today is to use it as a multi-tasking device! For example we can make the same argument... if my phones browser and processor is good enough to do whatever on the net when i'm on the go.... then why should i carry around a laptop (or tablet even though they are more mobile) all day where ever i go!!

I'm happy with the quality of camera on my 9860, however my only complaint would be that I think we should be able to disable the annoying shutter sound.

Another ditto on disable the shutter sound.

Also I'd like to function bar to disappear so as to not cover up the view finder.

Oh, and quicker access to the resolution settings.

Regarding the shutter sound, my understanding is that camera companies are no longer allowed to provide an option for turning it off due to privacy concerns -- that is, with a silent cameraphone in places like locker rooms unsuspecting people might not know their photo is being taken and instantly distributed via email, facebook, etc. So in theory the shutter sound at least gives a small warning that photos are being taken.

I didn't realize they took out the option to disable shutter sound, thanks for bringing that up. I don't care for that shutter sound either and would like a way to disable it also.

Camera is fine I just wish the would put the same lens as the old curve so I can send a long video, hell I can only send a 6 second video and its 5mb that's retarded, I want to send a 50 second video, and if you want to be a photographer with your ph. Give yur head a shake. Its a damn ph go by a camera u cheap O's.

I have been using my BB camera since last year when I upgraded to the 9670 with a 5 megapixel, that BB took nice pics. The loss of auto focus wasn't that bad, now you just have to have a steady hand. I use my 9850 for pics all the time, still getting use to the HD video recorder as it takes a REAL steady hand to produce a nice video.

I only use the camera on the Bold for quickie shots to text to friends or post on FB. Quality sucks for closeups especially. Shame on you RIM for saddling Bold users with a fixed focus camera. I carry a Panasonic ZS6 for better quality pictures in the field.

The camera on my Style is serviceable. The camera on the playbook is garbage. I will use the Style if I have nothing else, but I won't use the pictures taken for anything even remotely serious. I can't believe it when I see people at the zoo taking pictures with their cellphones, the resulting pictures aren't even worth printing 4x6.

I use my cameraphone for alot of my on-the-go pictures so my digital camera stays home unless I'm going to a special event. That's why the Bold 9930 is unacceptable for me and I'm considering the 9850 instead.

I currently own a smartphone HTC EVO Android device, i also have a blackberry BOLD 9650 and honestly I use my cell phone camera alot. I have a digital camera with 12 mega pixels but my EVO has 8 Mega Pixels so i just settle for my Cell Phones Camera... I was super excited when i learned about the 9930 BOLD coming to sprint, Even more excited when i discovered it had 5 MEGA PIXELS ON THE CAMERA! I was going to purchase it but the ONE FEATURE THAT HELD ME BACK!!!! NO AUTO FOCUS!!!! My BlackBerry Bold 9650 Takes incredible pictures in night clubs, day light, dim lite rooms etc. and it only has 3.2 Mega Pixels... But the Auto Focus and the bright flash makes the pictures look amazing! I was seriously dissapointed in RIM for not including auto focus in the camera on the 9930... I was ready to shift from ANDROID back to BlackBerry but that was the deal breaker for me! The price is $249.99 but that price for no auto focus in the camera? REALLY RIM... Your sales will certainly reflect what your consumers think of; Your PRICE, NO AUTO FOCUS and lame battery life... GOOD DAY... DO BETTER RIM, You gots to do better....


I only use a camera if I plan ahead on a vacation or special event. As far as everyday use goes, I just stick with my Bold 9930 if I'm in the picture snapping mood.

I use the camera on my BB for basic photos or anything I want to upload immediately, if I'm going somewhere I know I will need or want to take photos, I carry my DSLR. Otherwise its too bulky, so I just use the camera on the BB.

So far, the pole shows that the large majority of us would far prefer a better auto focus camera. I know thats what kept me from buying the 9930. When I saw the pic comparison right here on this site, I knew right away there was no way I was purchasing a 9930. My 9650 gets my work email just fine thank you. And, it texts just fine. Plus, the camera, even at 3.2 megapixels is superior to whats on the 9930. Why upgrade if the camera is inferior? A wise man once said, the best camera to have, is the one you have with you. (paraphrased)

I keep an iPhone in my briefcase during the week, if I need to surf the web, and was hoping to get a 9930 to eliminate one other thing to pack during the week. Sorry RIM, no sale.

To those of you who say "get a real camera" my guess is most, if not all of us HAVE other cameras. Maybe like myself, several quite good ones. That boat don't float :)

Auto focus on my other BB's always took too long to take the picture, I haven't taken a blurry picture yet on the 9930. I think it takes great pitures.

To me, it's just a matter of consistency. If RIM is going to charge a premium price, then it needs to deliver a product with premium features. The camera on the 9900/9930 isn't. Whether they chose that to make it "the slimmest BB ever", keep cost from being even higher, or whatever, I think they misjudged on this one.
I, like most of the other posters, have a "real" camera. I use this for things that I know I want to keep. I mostly use the camera on my 9700 for spontaneous point and shoot. The quality is better than the 9900. Therefore, the 9900/9930 doesn't merit it's price for me.

I have an old Fuji F30 that takes better pictures than anything Android, Apple, or Rim have to offer. If I need an ocassional snapshot that a phone will do, but I usually know when I will be taking pictures, right?

Love the picture quality of my 9850. It's always handy so I do rely on my phone for taking photos and posting quickly to UberSocial. But I also use my Playbook, it's always handy and I can post to Blaq easily.

my 9800 was my primary camera, until the camera stopped working recently due to a hardware issue. now my playbook is my primary camera, since it's always with me as well.

Cell phones take snapshots, Cameras take photographs, the best multi megapixel phone cant capture an image that can even remotly compare to even a mediocre real camera, Everyone seems to focus on Megapixels to decide whether a phone or camera will take a good picture or not, there are a lot of things besides megapixels that determine picture quality, in fact megapixels is a relativly minor consideration, most people dont understand that and phone manufactures tout that feature to get people to buy their phone, for the majority of people most phones are sufficent for what they want but to take real photographs a phone simply wont do.

I always use my 9650 as my main camera, with GREAT results, even though my wife and I bought ourselves a nice little digital camera.
I'm definitely going to get the 9930 or 9850, if I don't have that great of results with the camera on it, I will start using our digital camera more. :)

I carry a 9000, so no...i don't use the 'camera' on it. Just imagine if Scarlett Johansson didn't take those pics with a 9000 how great they could of been...goddamn RIM.


For typical day-to-day use I don't mind using a smart phone camera for unexpected/random shots.
When I am travelling, on vacation, the BB is often either left behind, turned off or both. I bring my DSLR, P&S and VC so I can get proper quality shots.

I bring my camera along because it's 12.2mega pixels vs. The 5mega pixel camera on the phone which really sucks