How important is camera quality to you?
I was reading The Verge's review of the Lumia Icon, and was struck by the following paragraph:
In the last two years, Nokia’s bet over and over on its vision for the next new things: design and photography. As the technology becomes commonplace, it’s beauty and design that will separate one phone from another. And with Instagram and Snapchat dominating our collective consciousness, taking great pictures is maybe the most important thing a phone can do.
It's not just Nokia; the idea that the camera is the most important piece of hardware on a smartphone has been embraced by tech reviewers and manufacturers alike. It's often the first thing that manufacturers emphasise: look at the iPhone 5S with it's "better, faster camera"; Nokia and its 40 megapixel "PureView" camera; HTC and its "UltraPixels", etc. Even the Nexus 5, which famously does not have an especially great camera, launched with a weird marketing campaign that emphasised photography more than any other feature on the phone.
The Verge and similar publications place a huge amount of importance on camera quality in their reviews.
Which leaves me wondering - I am unusual for not caring too much about this particular spec? All else being equal, I would rather have a good camera than a bad camera, but it's hardly the first thing I look for. My own personal list of priorities when choosing a new smartphone (which I realise are not "mainstream") look more like this:
- Stock Android
- Fast SoC
- Software support
- Display quality
- Build quality/industrial design
- Battery life
- Camera quality
Anecdotally, I would say this applies to most people I know. Although most of my friends don't share my exact preferences (none of them care about "stock Android", for example), I've also never heard someone say "I'm going to buy a [insert phone here] because it has such a great camera!". On the contrary, most of them just walk into the store and buy the biggest/fastest/best/most recognisable brand name they can afford on whichever contract they're on. (Sidenote: 9 times out of 10, this turns out to be some variety of Samsung.) The camera doesn't come into the discussion.
This does make me wonder whether manufactures have deluded themselves about whether this is really the best way to differentiate themselves. Among other things, this might explain why the two manufacturers that have arguably played up their camera quality more than any of the others (Nokia and HTC) are not doing so well.
I'm genuinely curious to know what other people think. Am I an outlier for not caring so much about camera quality? Or this is a case where the manufacturers and tech reviewers are confused about what consumers really care about?