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Smartphones have put a camera into the hands of millions of people. While they’ve made photography more accessible, they can’t compete with dedicated cameras – especially when it comes to shooting in less-than-ideal conditions. In the battle of the mirrorless camera vs. the smartphone, the team at Ted’s Cameras says the camera wins every time. These are the 10 major benefits of the mirrorless camera:

#1 They have a bigger sensor size

The main difference between digital cameras and mobile cameras is the image quality. Mirrorless cameras have superior image quality – and that’s thanks to the sensor size. The high-end mirrorless cameras have incredible image sensors that can capture every little detail in a scene, from highlights to shadows. The sensor in a smartphone is a fraction of the size, which makes it much harder to shoot in dim light and zoom up on your scene without sacrificing quality. Plus, the glare from the screen can make it tricky to shoot in bright sunlight. Smartphones are designed with as many megapixels as the manufacturer can cram in, but they’ll never match up to mirrorless cameras and their larger sensors.     

#2 They perform better in low light

The right lighting can take your photo from good to great. While your smartphone works well in the great outdoors, you’ve probably noticed the grain in your photos when you shoot indoors or after the sun sets. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras can adapt to all lighting conditions, including low light. Along with bigger sensor size, most have image stabilisation built into the body or lens), which steadies the image and reduces the effect of camera shake in low light. Since these stabilisers are on the bulkier side, phone manufacturers install digital stabilisers instead. The quality doesn’t stack up. OIS also ensures your photos are smooth and blur-free, even if you’re shooting fast-moving subjects. 

#3 They have optical zoom lenses

Smartphones don’t have optical zoom lenses. While you can enlarge the subject by pressing on the screen and spreading your fingers apart, this drastically reduces the image quality. It simply enlarges the pixels, and the image often ends up blurred. For that reason, if you’re hoping to capture the smaller details, like facial expressions, we suggest only using a smartphone to snap subjects that are less than 10 metres away. Otherwise, if you want to get close to the action, you have to physically move. Mirrorless cameras have optical zoom lenses. This means the lens actually adjusts to magnify the image before you, as opposed to you doing it digitally. The result is a much clearer, crisper image.

#4 They have a bigger zoom range

If you’re planning on taking close-ups of people or other subjects, you can purchase a mirrorless camera with an extended zoom range. These models are a little heavier, but they offer an optical zoom as high as 30x. This gives you a huge amount of creative control in composing and capturing faraway scenes and subjects. If you prefer a portable, lightweight camera, the smaller mirrorless cameras are capable of 3x to 10x zoom – which is still miles ahead of smartphones. 

#5 They have interchangeable lenses

With all mirrorless cameras, you can switch out the lenses to suit different situations. Frustratingly, many smartphones have fixed-focus lenses, which means they’re limited to a wide angle of around 25mm. When you shoot with a wide-angle all the time, some photos can look out of proportion. Though there are lens kits you can buy for your phone, nothing beats the ability to change lenses on a whim and choose the best focal length. You might pop on a wide-angle lens to open up the scene and shoot landscapes or group photos, and then use a macro lens to pick up the smaller details many photographers miss. A mirrorless camera gives you the flexibility and ability to control the perspective of your photo.

#6 They have less shutter lag

We all know the feeling. You pull out your phone to snap a memorable moment of your kids or pets – and when you scroll through the photos, you’re met with blurriness. Smartphones have come a long way. They have incredible processing power, but they still struggle with autofocus. Depending on the lighting and the phone you have, the shutter lag can range from half a second to a second – which is long enough to miss out on those fleeting scenes. Digital mirrorless cameras have phase and contrast detection sensors, and use both to refine their autofocus and better capture motion. They can quickly fire off multiple shots, leaving you with plenty of sharp pictures to choose from. 

#7 They have a longer battery life

Between apps, calls and messages, smartphones tend to run out of charge by the end of a day. Start using the camera and video functions, and you’ll drain the battery power very quickly. If you’re travelling or sightseeing and relying on the camera, a flat battery can not only be annoying, but inconvenient. The batteries in mirrorless cameras are designed to last longer, and some can go two weeks without needing a charge. You can also pack spare batteries and switch them out as needed, so you can keep shooting without interruptions. On a logical note, bringing a separate camera will free up your phone for other uses – like communication! 

#8 They are more durable

Many high-end mirrorless cameras are weather-sealed, so don’t have to worry about them being damaged by the elements. Some cameras are waterproof and shockproof, too. They can handle any abuse you hurl at them, from dropping them to shooting in heavy rain. Because of that, you can take them places your phone can’t travel. If you’re keen to dabble in underwater photography, look for a mirrorless camera that’s waterproof to at least 15 metres.

#9 They have advanced camera settings

Basically, smartphones are point-and-shoot cameras. You can tweak the exposure and ISO, but that’s about it. Mirrorless cameras are loaded with sophisticated settings, and many offer manual mode. By controlling the settings, you can get creative with things like shutter speed, aperture and white balance, and end up with more artistic photos. Manual mode is also handy if you’re taking action, night or long-distance shots. In this way, mirrorless cameras give you more room to grow and experiment – and that makes you a better photographer in the long run.

#10 They have a larger aperture

Smartphones are getting slimmer and slimmer. To make the camera small enough to fit into the frame, manufacturers replace the mechanical shutter with an electronic shutter, and leave the lens open all the time. As users, we can’t control the aperture. This limits the capability of the camera, especially when you want to capture movement (like water) or shoot long-exposures. Mirrorless cameras have larger apertures, so you can change the size of the lens and decide how much light to let in. Combined with their bigger sensors, this means mirrorless cameras are better for shooting in low light and shallower depths of field. So, if you want to snap eye-catching photos with sharp foregrounds, pick up a mirrorless camera. 

Which mirrorless camera should you buy:

Ted’s recommends these three mirrorless cameras:

Get more value for your money with a mirrorless camera

Smartphone technology is impressive. But with their savvy settings and superior image quality, mirrorless cameras have all the features you need to take your photos to the next level. They’re reasonably priced, too. To compare and shop mirrorless cameras, visit your local Ted’s Cameras store. 

Over the past year, the technology industry in Australia has seen growth that has outpaced the expectations of citizens and analysts alike, fed by startups tapping into the nation’s underutilized labour force and reskilling them via the wide availability of online courses in the marketplace. The burgeoning sector is reshaping an economy long dominated by old-line industries like mining and manufacturing. For a while, it seemed that the sky was the limit, but now a slew of legal and regulatory changes imposed by Parliament threatens to undercut much of the progress made in recent years. Here’s what’s happening to Australia’s tech sector, and what the results may be.

New Encryption Regulations

In December, Australia’s Parliament passed a bill that would compel technology companies to create a backdoor into their encrypted communication services. In the run-up to the bill’s passage, nearly every major global technology firm came out in opposition to the new law, arguing that it was unnecessarily vague and broad. The fear was that it would create fatal flaws in encryption that malicious actors would then exploit. Recently, tech industry group StartupAUS asked the government to reconsider the law, in a submission to Parliament backed by big-name players Atlassian, Canva, Blackbird Ventures, and others. They insist that the law is loaded with the potential for harm to the local industry, and could create unintended consequences beyond what lawmakers intended.

Tax Incentive Crackdowns

The encryption bill isn’t the only recent government-dealt blow to the tech sector. Around the same time, the government began a crackdown on technology businesses that take advantage of a tax scheme meant to fuel research and development. Some of Australia’s biggest tech firms have been issued demands for repayment of previously claimed tax breaks, amounting to millions of dollars in clawbacks and fines. Already, the move has caused business groups to warn that it could prompt a mass exodus of tech R&D operations from the country, harming future growth.

The End of the Innovation Ministry

In another sign of waning support for tech, the government also eliminated the minister of innovation from the cabinet. That robs the tech industry of high-level advocacy in the government, which some fear will allow for even more harmful changes to occur. So far, industry leaders have decried the move, and analysts see it as yet another blow to the nation’s short-lived and poorly-received innovation agenda of 2015.

What’s Next

Judging by the steady drumbeat of bad news for Australia’s tech sector, it seems as though much of the optimism generated over the past few years has dissipated. It’s still too soon to tell how badly the government’s recent moves will affect the sector as a whole, but the outlook isn’t exactly great. That isn’t good news at a time that the broader Australian economy seems to be slowing, and will need growth engines like the technology industry to keep it afloat. Unfortunately, for Aussies who depend on the new innovation economy, only time will tell.

Following a rash of doubt cast over Huawei’s intentions as a potential global supplier of 5G technology, Australia is in the first steps of pushing out its own 5G network in an attempt to bring the country up to speed both literally and figuratively. It’s almost certain to lead to a push for an increase in productivity and hiring in the IT workforce and those ramifications may push further than the world of telecommunications. 

Huawei’s Corporate Suspicions

Australia’s push for its own 5G network is just one part of a larger overarching tale of global suspicion thrown at Huawei, a Chinese corporation overseeing the deployment of 5G in China with offers to send their technology abroad for testing and future infrastructure integration. Yet many doubt the intents of this deployment, claiming the Chinese government will use Huawei’s integration to spy on other countries, leading to Australia to outright ban Huawei from their 5G network. New Zealand is currently arguing the merits of banning Huawei from the network as well. 

Huawei has disputed these claims of spying on behalf of the government, but the United States is joining into the push against foreign 5G networks over fear of potential security vulnerabilities. Prying deeper into the forces behind these vulnerabilities is a rabbit hole outside of the scope of its technological impact on Australia, but this sort of foreign distrust will lead to greater demands put on Australia’s workforce regardless of how long the ban remains in place. 

It’s already well known that Australia isn’t producing enough IT specialists to meet demand, a common problem through the tech sector in nearly every country. The tech industry is projected to require as many as 100 thousand graduates within five years, yet 2017 only produced 15,530 graduates and postgraduates. Considering the scope and manpower required for implementing and maintaining a new mobile network alone, those numbers could rise even further. 

The Mobile Network Arms Race

Chasing after mobile broadband speeds are a well-documented development that has come to a head over the past decade with domestic policy heavily shaping its progress. Progress may have been slowed by corporations being excluded from these developments yet finding a middle ground that appeases tech giants and politicians alike is a battle that will likely continue for decades to come. 

The Australian government has yet to respond to rising needs in the IT sector through grants or public initiatives, leading the field to face a potential stagnation in talent. Having government backing in financial incentives or even simple awareness can shift how citizens choose to shape their careers, leading to booms and busts accordingly. It’s especially strange to see such a push for a new technology without support to back up these requests for an Australian-oriented network. 

In the meantime, Telstra has pushed out their first live 5G connection in an effort to both test the requirements for a full network and demonstrate its capabilities to those interested in the technology. It’s a significant change over 4G, with China being well ahead in the race and showing no signs of slowing down. Networks of this type are poised to drastically change how wireless connections will be used and developed through the coming years, promising a near quantum leap in the scale of the Internet of Things and globally interconnected devices. 

Mobile speeds are reaching a point where cell phones are one of the least intriguing uses of increased transfer rates, making the shift to 5G a business-oriented move that could heavily shape cultural developments as well. Its lack of backing by public figures is only made that much more baffling by the slow response from those with the means to push it into a state ready for public adoption. We’ll reach the 5G revolution sooner or later, but without the education necessary to implement and maintain the network, it’s looking like it’ll be later than it should.