Picture perfect: When to use your smartphone versus a camera for photos

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Consumer expert Chelsey Hernandez explains why you might want to invest in a point and shoot camera instead of pulling out your phone. (KTRK)

From snapping selfies to photos of food and our pets, we use the cameras in our phones all the time.

But they do have their limitations. If you're looking to up your picture-taking game, Consumer Reports' expert testing of advanced point-and-shoot cameras can help.

"Smartphone cameras can produce nice looking photos on your phone. If you ever want to print them out, or crop, or edit, that's when you start seeing their quality kind of degrade. So advanced point-and-shoots and DSLRs, these kinds of cameras can create images that you can have for a long time and you know they'll stand the test of time in terms of quality," said Tercius Bufete, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

Advanced point-and-shoot cameras also perform better in low light and zooming.

What if you're looking for something that will capture those great photos of your vacation or your kid's first plunge into the pool?


"Make it a point to go to a store, take it in your hands, and take a couple of shots and kind of play with the settings. Because that's when you know if something is truly right for you," said Bufete.

If sharing pictures on social media is what you're looking for, many cameras can now easily connect wirelessly to your phone, so you can transfer your photos for sharing.

Buying a good advanced point-and-shoot camera should be seen as an investment. Consumer Reports' top-rated point-and shoot cameras range from $645 to $1,200.

If you want to stick to a smart phone because of portability, Consumer Reports rates the Apple iPhone X as the best camera on the market.
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