An interesting topic arose in the comments no an answer relating to Manufacturers of sensors.

I decided to keep the answer to dedicated cameras and it was meant to be an illustrative list rather than exhaustive. But fabrice d has asked the iPhone to be considered as a camera too (in the context of Samsung as a manufacturer). As far as I'm concerned the iPhone camera is an adjunct to another device (a smartphone) but even though it's not the primary function it does have a camera and is very popular for photography.

In my answer I was intending to stick to 'proper' cameras (ie, with an interchangeable lens, or possibly professional compacts) but I don't mind doing some digging to include it - but does the community think it's valuable to make an exception and include it?

4 Answers 4


The iPhone is a camera, amongst a great many other things, so questions about it in a photographic context would seem to be on topic to me. I would apply that to other, similar, devices as well.


Of course the iPhone is considered a camera, here and everywhere else that would base such a decision on any fact.

A camera is an optical instrument for recording images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or both. [Ref]

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    I'm tempted to downvote that purely for the use of Wikipedia, which I shall now cunningly edit to involve slicing bananas and unicycling. :) Sep 28, 2015 at 8:00
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    It wasn't meant to be thought provoking. Feel free to downvote if you disagree with the answer. It was meant to point out that even the highly visible and utilized encyclopedia Wikipedia very clearly categorizes a phone as a camera. It's a non discussion in my mind.
    – dpollitt
    Sep 28, 2015 at 12:13

Despite all the more or less polemic answers I guess it depends on the original question if, in the particular context, cell phones should be considered being a camera or not.

For the question mentioned, I feel[TM] that the OP was interested in what was called a dedicated or “real” camera and less in phones with camera. Nevertheless, generally, the manufacturers of those sensors could be interesting as well for someone else, but I see no point in restricting it to apple. If the answer is extended, one should e.g. include Nokia and htc and google/motorola as well. Those manufacturers that produce phones and dedicated cameras (sony, samsung, ...) should be additionally considered in the phone camera section, since it may be different departments that produce “real” and phone cameras or the sensors may be from different companies for both product lines. It would be even more interesting where the cameras and sensors in older feature phones originate from (e.g. Siemens phones).

If the answer is extended, what about surveillance cameras, webcams, digital cinema (arri, red), ...?


iPhone is not camera. This is phone, which can make a photos. Also a lot of other phones can do this. IMHO to name something camera its need this device to have (almost) only this purpose. So camera is (still) from point-and-shoot to large format cameras. And camera (video) is from 8mm (as far as I remember there was such cameras) to contemporary RED and so on.

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    I find this answer to be ludicrous. I suppose my iPhone is not a calculator, sound recorder, flashlight, speaker, reading device, internet browser, nor even a phone; as it does not have almost only this purpose. In fact, my wrench isn't even a wrench because sometimes I use it as a hammer when I'm lazy! My car isn't even a car because I've used it as a bed and not for transportation!
    – dpollitt
    Sep 27, 2015 at 2:59
  • @dpollitt, no, your phone is not calculator, sound recorder, flashlight, etc. It have such functionality. But the main functionality is just artificial limb of your voice and ear :) Sep 27, 2015 at 3:42
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    Haha ok we can agree to disagree!
    – dpollitt
    Sep 27, 2015 at 4:39
  • Devices can be multi-purpose and still be legit for the purpose of discussion. An iPhone camera question that is photographically relevant would be completely on topic here.
    – Joanne C
    Sep 27, 2015 at 12:14
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    JoanneC: if the question is relevant to photography OK, but IMHO we discuss here is it iphone camera or not. Maybe my opinion is a little bit philosophical but the phone is not camera. IMHO is some device can make photos this no not make it camera :) Sep 27, 2015 at 12:38
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    Romeo, I think you're being pedantic. The question isn't really the philosophical one, but rather "is the camera included in an iPhone worthy of consideration in questions that ask about cameras in general?"
    – mattdm
    Sep 30, 2015 at 11:42
  • @mattdm, maybe, I can hammering nails with notebook. But this do not make it hammer :) . All those things as GPS, "camera", fingerprint reader, etc are addons to the phone. And they do not change the purpose of this device Sep 30, 2015 at 12:27
  • I agree with the hammering-nails-with-a-notebook comment in many cases, but here, I don't think it applies. Are you arguing that the iPhone doesn't actually contain a fully-functional camera made for that purpose?
    – mattdm
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:34
  • iPhone have fully-functional camera, as well as almost all the phones on the market. But having camera and be camera are different things for me :) Sep 30, 2015 at 12:50
  • Right, but that's what I mean when I say that this question isn't really about the ontological issue. A Swiss army knife is not a corkscrew, even though it has one — and questions about that corkscrew would still be on topic on bottleopening.stackexchange.com, and it would be fine (and in fact even good) for answers about all corkscrews to also consider the Swiss army knife.
    – mattdm
    Sep 30, 2015 at 13:33
  • As I mention above in comment to JoanneC if the question is about photography for me its perfectly fine to have it in this forum of SE. So the question of OP (fabrice d) should be asked about sensor of camera of iPhone. But the answers of the question should be only for reference, not to assign iphone to the group of cameras. At the end maybe this discussion is because my broken english :D Sep 30, 2015 at 14:08
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    Camera or phone? Oct 6, 2015 at 1:37
  • @damnedtruths, this is the only exception :) It is constructed to be both Oct 6, 2015 at 3:59
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    Is a broken hammer a hammer? What is the ontological status of a broken camera? Anyway,it seems pretty obvious that if someone is using an iphone as a camera, it's a camera. A box with a hole in it will due as well and I can always store some books in the box later on.
    – moorej
    Oct 7, 2015 at 19:33
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    The iPhone IS A phone. The iPhone CONTAINS a camera. You can, on occasion USE the iPhone AS A camera (temporarily ignoring all the other things it IS or HAS). But this is all sophistry. Questions about the camera functions within the iPhone ought to be on-topic. Oct 8, 2015 at 10:38

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