With the dawn of the smartphone, it was always assumed that the days of the camera phone wars were over.
Much like other specific feature phones, be they music, fashion or movie-focused handsets, camera phones were no longer necessary in the brave new world of do-it-all devices.
Until now, that is. Following Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom and to a lesser extent its Android-packing camera-cum-smartphone, the Galaxy NX, the starting gun has been fired on a whole new race for camera phone supremacy.
Nokia’s hugely anticipated EOS device, now known as the Lumia 1020 rocking 41 megapixels and potentially a optical zoom, is set to be revealed on July 11th in New York.
Meanwhile, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to up its megapixel count and pack in smile and blink detection.
And smartphones in general are improving in the camera stakes so much that the days of compact cameras are surely numbered.
This time though, it’s not all about the megapixels (although try telling that to Nokia).
Better zoom technology, which ditches less reliable digital zoom smarts for the optical zooms of proper snappers, is now arriving on phones.
This means no more grainy snaps making their way to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Rather crisp, sharp snaps befitting of an age where sharing pictures is a daily occurrence for millions. Likewise, sensors are improving and bringing greater clarity and less noise to low light pictures.
This means that those late night shots in bars, clubs and restaurants no longer look as if they were taken on a disposable instamatic.
In a way, it’s no surprise the camera phone wars are back with us.
The growth of the aforementioned social networks, as well as better online storage from the likes of Flickr and Picasa, means we’re demanding more from the cameras we carry around with us from day-to-day.
The need to take an extra device is lessening, thanks to our wish to travel lighter and not have a hulking SLR or Micro Four Thirds shooter slung round our necks.
The question now is, who can come out on top? The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a mighty piece of kit and surely has the edge as things stands.
The Nokia Lumia 1020, though, has the potential to cause a stir, even if Windows Phone doesn’t excite the masses like Android.
Throw in the iPhone 5S, which admittedly is unlikely to tote an optical zoom, and the imaging options on smartphones are looking pretty sensational.
The main thing is, whoever comes out on top, smartphone users in general are the winners. It’s time to get snapping.