Nokia VP Says Cell Phone Cameras Will Replace DSLRs

Apparently, Anssi Vanjoki, Executive VP at Nokia, has been sippin’ a bit too much of grandpa’s cough medicine.  According to a report from Reuters, Vanjoki was quoted as saying that cell phone cameras would soon “revolutionise the market for system cameras” and that “[t]here will be no need to carry around those heavy lenses.”

Really?  Vanjoki’s got to be Vanjoking.

Marketing rhetoric is one thing.  But if Nokia is ready to buy it’s own hype, I’ve got some great ocean-front property here in Tennessee that I’ll cut you a deal on.

The Register does a pretty good job of explaining why Vanjoki’s statement is so asinine; however, most Photography Bay readers won’t have a problem of understanding that the tiny sensors in a cell phone can’t rival the image quality produce by much larger DSLR sensors.  This is notwithstanding the difference in lens quality between cell phones and larger, DSLR-system lenses.

I’m not knocking on against cell phone cameras. I use my iPhone camera daily.  However, one photo taken with Nokia’s fancy-pants cell phone camera will demonstrate to any DSLR user that Nokia’s hype is nothing but hot air.

Thank you very much, but I’ll keep my bag of lenses Nokia.

[Reuters via The Register via Lori Grunin]



  1. says

    Wow. Such hubris. And from a company struggling of late in the cell phone market.

    I too love using my cell phone camera, but it could never hope, regardless of technological advancement, hope to replace a dSLR.

  2. says

    They first have to beat the Compact Cameras :P
    if they want to compete with DSLRs, they to integrate Phone in a DSLR rather than the other way round.

    Nokia might be the biggest company but that doesn’t mean they are the best.

    let ’em Vanjoy this moment :D

  3. Eric Calabros says

    seems this guy know nothing about Optical Physics. however, the most funny thing here is that in this time, we find best camera modules on SonyEriccson handsets, not Nokia.

  4. Zabavan says

    He was joking. I was at the SHOK Summit and there was a photographer in the audience with a huge lens in his camera. The joke about not having to carry huge equipment was targeted at him..

  5. Dave Trunks says

    The way technolgy is advancing i wouldnt be too quick to dismiss it guys and gals……however in the meantime i will still lug around my big D700 and love it :)

  6. JimmyDee says

    Not with the current technology. However, we don’t know what will happen in the next few years. Gap is closing. So, never say never.

  7. Digital-K says

    I don’t know about you ,but if a “Proffesional” photographer showed up to capture my wedding with a cell phone I would be offended. Nothing can relace the creative look you get from an SLR an the variety of lenses that acompany it.

  8. says

    I’ve seen many really good photos on Flickr that were taken with camera phones, but the people that snapped them were clearly talented photographers. Some of the images snapped using iPhones and Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot phones were amazing.

    However, camera phone images have two things in common: extremely deep depth-of-field and very poor low light performance. Which is good if you take landscapes and wide angle portraits in daylight, but that’s about as good as it gets.

    Very deep DoF and noise are two things that no camera phone can address due to their tiny pinhole-like lenses and microscopic sensors. Technology, no matter how far we go forward, still cannot beat the basic laws of optical physics.

  9. Javier Castillo says

    Why don´t we give this folk a chance?, even Galileo was prosecuted when he said the earth was a round, and planets spin in their own axis and turn around the sun.

    I mean, maybe not in the near future, but this can rellay happen. Simply look back 55 years and see the ENIAC (fist computer) and how many physical space was needed to accomodate such apparatus and the amounts of energy needed to turn this toy on and to keep it cool, yes I´m talking real physics, for instance, Electricity and Thermodynamics. despite the opctics, I can bet you forkboy1965´s iPhone has thousands if not millions or billion times more processing and storage capacity compared to the old ENIAC.(and conumes only several miliwatts) (

    Then the transistor came in and the rest is story, all those silicon based materials are still the base for modern electronics, including digital photography. Yes, TODAY wee need huge and heavy optics to well capture light and stimulate a big sized sillicon based sensor, that said,the optics are a slave of the sensor geometry. right?. imagine a new material (why not organic?) light activated and energized sized just a fraction of a milimeter and thus, very small optics. it is just a matter of time. yes maybe no zoom, but with plenty of resolution and IQ who will need zoom if you can simply crop? sounds crazy? maybe not.

    As far as i know, there is already a new generation of semicoductor materials being developed specifically to capture light (proudly US developed). which are in turn far different from the materials used today, even the physics related to them are different from classic solid state physics.

    I don´t see a CEO of the world´s biggest mobile devices company saying a thing like that without any knowledge of next-gen semiconductors and where theyre going.

    Anyway, that was just a thought. for now i will shoot my Reflex until the shutter does not work anymore and get blisters on my fingers.

    Photography rocks!!!!!

  10. cyng says

    I thought my G10 is going to replace my 40D but not realy.
    I believe he is doing more of marketing job as not many people understand DSLR in depth.

  11. says

    @Javier Castillo
    You’ve got a really got point there. Technology keeps on advancing rapidly, and maybe somewhere in 50 years or so, they’ll be able to fit a current DSLR (let’s say a Nikon D700) camera into a cellphone body, with the same optical quality. But then again, DSLR technology is also not standing still, so where will that be in 50 years?

    Say that those new semiconductors will come out in a few years, and they are able to match the quality of DSLR sensors, only in much smaller size. DSLR cameras will still have a hughe advantage, because you can use those same new semiconductors in DSLR cameras as well, resulting in HUGHE resolutions, or extremely good low light performances. So that the fact that DSLR sensors are bigger, will always give them an advantage. So yes, size does matter.

    @Eric Calabros
    Good point also. In DSLR cameras/lenses, certain distances between glass lens parts are necessary to achief depth of field.
    Matching the optics and DOF qualities of DSLR lenses in such a small format could only ever be possible if they invent a material that has the same optical qualities of glass, only with about 1/100 its thickness.

    Off course, we will never know where technology will bring us, but I think that Nokia’s statement is very far from being realised.
    That’s my two cents.

  12. ossme says

    the cellphones are advancing in Technology. Next year, 8MP cell phones will be the normal thing. we already have phones that got optical zoom lens.

    But the DSLR cameras are advancing as well. they are getting smaller, lighter and got much more MPs. If someone told me that you can get a 21MP FF For under $2.5k back in 2004 I would of gave him a very weird look. But 4 years after that we got the 5d mk II.

  13. Cristian Ioan says

    No, I don’t like SLR’s.
    Finally, in 2004, while switching fully to digital, I have gladly thrown away my film cameras – one SLR and three with interchangeable lenses, but without mirror.
    I dislike having to carry arround several huge lenses, so I use compacts. I have two bridge ones and two small ones, that can fit into the pocket of my shirt – this way I can have it always with me!
    Yes, many times I have been disappointed by the quality of the images obtained.
    Still, it’s always better to take take mediocre pics with the pocket compact than you have, than NOT to take perfect pics because you dind’t bring your full frame dSLR, or they forbid ypu to take photos with such a big, professional looking camera!

    All these being said, I very very much doubt the statement of Nokia. In 20, let alone 50 years, who knows what may happen?! But in the next few yeras, no nokia cameraphone will replace your dSLR’s, or even my compacts …

    As someone said, it is much easier to integrate a cellphone into the body of a dSLR!

  14. Cristian Ioan says

    PS: I do like Nokia mobile phones!
    Four of my current five cellphones are Nokia-made, and the old, discarded one, was also manufactured by nokia. I’m convinced they make very good celphones.
    But the rant about completly replacing compact cameras, let alone dSLR, is obviously absurd!

  15. Javier Castillo says

    O.K. may the cellphones would not replace the DSLR, may all the gadgets evolve to new different devices that may force other to extintion.

    For me it is like the format we know is coming close to a very big shift in the way we know it. Think for instance about the new generations, the ones that are just starting to use computers and the way they are experimenting this tachnologý, my 3 years old boy loves to seat in my legs to see the photos i take, we see stills and movies indistinctly, he keeps asking me, (when we see a still) Dad, why don´t they talk? (the stills) and when we see movies he constantly ask me to pause a scene so he can see details, even to zoom it
    He is very familiar with Google earth animations and street view, and that is (for him) the reference he uses to compare, in other words, it is “native” to him and a very big shift in habits compared to us. i cant even imagine him enjoyng an old Atari game

    My best guess is that imaging will tend to unify video/stills into one format and you would just capture the moment and be able to freeze images as you like and get the stills or have the video from the same source. the capturing device will be something like a panoramic camera, maybe with human eye angle of vision (or maybe 360 Degrees) ang giga pixel capacity.

    Who will need to worry about pentaprisms and lens if you have lots of IQ and pixels. Crop is the key.

    Optics? does the eye have such a huge and heavy optics???, NOOOOO it doesnt, it has sensible organic “sensors” and powerful “electro-chemical processing”.

    Nanotechnology is all about that.

    O.k., It is late and im hungry!!!

    Photography rocks!!!

  16. Myphotographer says

    Not now but eventually. I mean if you told someone 50yrs ago that maybe one day u could make a photograph with a phone they would have locked you up. I’m a Canon man myself but check out my link to mobile portfolio above and see my blog at

    south africa 2010

  17. steve says

    what the Nokia rep was trying to say and was either lost in translation or not clearly articulated was that currently DSLR cameras have about 18 Megapixels and are quickly replacing the large dinosaur video camera’s of the past. they can shoot HD video in almost the same quality and can take absolutely gorgeous pictures.

    so what he is trying to say is that within 1-2 years an 18 Megapixel camera will be on phones,it will probably have a very nice optics system which has been made to the same quality of current DSLR’s but in a much smaller factor and will make it so that the same device that you use to call your friend or to play angry birds will also be able to take full 1080p HD video.

    that is an amazing feat, and let me say that if i were hired to take pictures for a wedding, or to shoot concert footage for a band and was able to use my cellphone and a good stabilizing mount that i would be blown away and so would the customer.

    also as one commenter noted Nokia is struggling to find its place in a market with fierce competition from some of the largest corporations in the world. it is not out of the question at all that they are either working with Cannon or Nikon, or are just simply developing on their own a phone that can replace a DSLR camera.

    maybe that is their business plan, is to have a phone that people who like photography will choose instead of Android, Windows Phone 7, or the I phone.

    i can gaurentee that everyone who commented on this article would choose the Nokia 18 Megapixel, 1080p HD recording subsidized phone over the Iphone’s 5 megapixel camera because they would feel they would get more use out of Nokia’s amazing camera and still have the same functionality as the Iphone.