Will the iPhone 4 replace your digital camera (and camcorder)?

Can the new camera features in the iPhone 4 render your basic point-and-shoot camera (and pocket camcorder) obsolete?

iPhone 4 camera features

Now that the infamous new iPhone 4 has finally been officially unveiled, the big question is, will you ever carry your point-and-shoot again? Call it blasphemy, but I've found that even the lame-o, fixed-focus 2.0 megapixel camera on my iPhone 3G has encroached significantly on my point-and-shoot's duties (especially when combined with cool and useful photo apps), if for no other reason than the fact that I almost always have it with me. Well, two generations later, the iPhone has made such leaps and bounds in the camera department that I could see it replacing a casual point-and-shooter in many cases and even my beloved Flip pocket camcorder, since the camera now shoots 720p HD video at 30 fps. Here are the highlights:

First and foremost, the sensor has not only been upped from 3 megapixels in last year's iPhone 3GS to 5 megapixels, but Apple has also used a backside-illuminated sensor that should improve image quality especially in low light. As CEO Steve Jobs described it in his keynote speech at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC 2010, yesterday, "it's a way of getting a lot more photons onto the sensor by getting some of the wiring and stuff out of the way." He also went on to say that "when most people increase their megapixels, they make those pixels smaller. When you make pixels smaller, they capture less photons. What we've done is as we've gone from 3 to 5 megapixels we've kept the pixels the same size -  1.75 microns, and so they don't capture less photos per pixel and we have more pixels."

Besides the new and improved sensor, Apple has also added an LED flash as well as easy-to-use geotagging capabilities, both of which can be used in still and video mode (as can the tap-to-focus feature).  But possibly best of all is the VGA-quality front camera, which allows you to shoot still and video portraits of yourself more easily and make video calls over WiFi to other iPhone 4s.

Speaking of video capabilities, the iPhone 4 includes built-in video editing features that look to be as easy as dragging start and end points on a filmstrip. For more editing tools, the company has created a new iMovie app that will sell on the App Store for $4.99 and allows you to combine and edit video clips and add themes, transitions, titles, music, and photos to your video.

So what do you think?

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