How important is a dedicated camera button to you?

by XB on 19th September 2012

in Imaging

We have talked a lot about the Sony Xperia V recently and voiced our opinion as to why we feel it is Sony’s new flagship Xperia product. However, one of the kickbacks we are constantly hearing about is the lack of a dedicated camera button. This seems to be a deal breaker for many.

This made us wonder, how are people using their smartphones to take pictures. Are you one of those people that absolutely needs to have a dedicated camera button, or do you prefer to tap the touchscreen?

Ever since the Xperia arc came out with its tiny and stiff camera button, the team here at Xperia Blog has mostly used the touchscreen to take pictures. It enables us to take pictures quicker and without any of the shake involved in trying to press a camera button. Anyway, we wanted to see whether we’re in the minority here – please let us know your preferences in the comments and vote in the poll below.

How do you prefer to take your pictures on a phone?

  • Dedicated camera button (79%, 1,812 Votes)
  • Display touchscreen (21%, 483 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,295

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  • Sami

    i like to press a button more than i like to touch the screen but a Camera button isn´t A MUST

  • I believe both are necessary as you can use either for different and dependant situations. For example, if one was to take a self-shot with the back camera, the only way they could (easily) do that would be with a dedicated camera button. Also another of it’s important and key uses is the Fast Capture feature, which obviously would not be possible without the button.

    In most cases, it seems the on-screen button is just an alternative and a backup methods of sorts.

    Either way, I don’t see why any phone should really NOT have a dedicated camera button, as it can’t cost much to implement and it’s a useful feature that improves the functionality and impressiveness of the phone.

  • Avery Navas

    it isn’t a must… but latest xperia models with camera key suck… so stiff that makes your pictures blurry… but i’ve used great camera buttons so I like them better than a touchscreen button…

  • lovebmw

    I am taking the T over the V just for that dumb reason.

  • andres

    In my oppinion a camera button is a must. It bring nonething but advantages. If you dont like it dont use it. There is not a single disadvantage in having the key. Also is a must for self pictures, in my case this represent 50% off al the pictures that i take so i need the key.

  • Definately Camera Button… because then i have two steps… one to Focus and the second to shoot…
    if the Focus didn’t work correctly i can repeat it without taking a blurry Picture… and also i can firs Focus and wait for the perfect Moment to shoot the Picture! (ok THIS is also solved by some camera apps by fokus´on touch and shoot at lease but the first Point is most important to me

  • Using the display touchscreen is a lot faster on the Neo and if you’re taking a lot of pictures it’s the way to go. The two-stage camera button is a hassle to use- you’re not sure if it’s taken the picture half the time, added to which, there’s a greater chance of blurring the shot- and is definitely not as good as the one on the NXT series. You’d hope/expect the T shows a similar step-improvement in the quality of the camera button so the lack of it on the V is disappointing.

  • Rene Pedroso


  • Who needs a button when you have the touch capture?

  • jack

    If indeed camera button’s taken out, and the censer-on-lens as claimed can help much functional in focus and speed to have excellent quality images, it would be great!

  • Kaostheory

    I’ve used on screen buttons with other peoples phones and although I’ve always had dedicated buttons, I don’t think it will make a difference. I’m definitely getting the V so ill find out!

  • I think pressing button creates a chance of phone shake. I prefer touch anywhere on screen to take picture.

  • Observer

    For me a dedicated camera button is just a nice to have function not a must
    Why: I am not satisfied with any mobile phone photo quality so I use Cannon S100 camera (a very portable and decent quality camera).I only use mobile phone to take fun pictures sometime so on screen button will do. For self taking picture, it is not too hard to use timer function.However, it would be just as perfect if other button can be configured instead
    I only need a dedicated camera button if you can tell me a phone photo quality is comparable to Cannon S100 camera

  • santhosh

    Reframe the question it should have been
    ” how many of us use dedicated camera button to click a photo? ”
    I use screen to capture than dedicated button to capture photos

  • malih

    That’s very much true that since the awfully hard to press button on the Arc I’ve been using more of the touchscreen button, but not because I like it, more because I hate the physical button available.

    I still would’ve liked to use the camera button especially, they should make the button less stiff, and make it wider.

  • I just switched phones recently and I didn’t even know how to access the camera through the phone. I always used the camera button to launch the camera and to take the picture. Which is probably why the camera button on my phone got worn out.

  • sogin_vl

    An on screen shutter button can do that too.
    Press to focus.
    *Slide* your finger off the button to cancel…. Press again to re-focus.
    Release to take picture!

  • It’s very convenient to start the camera with the physical button and then take pictures with touch screen. This is how it goes for me.

  • eric1803

    I’ve got an iPhone. Always tapping on the screen just sucks for good Photos. Also clicking the volume button sucks extremely, because those buttons arent made to be camera buttons. So I hope the Xperia T will have a very good camera button, unlike the iPhones volume button.

  • I don’t care, I use a real camera when I want a good photo. Touchscreen button is fine for a smartphone.

  • I agree but I thought I saw the V stil had fast capture in the promovideo for it. The girl slides the unlock to camera feature and out instantly takes a photo

  • rickiking

    that is an icream sandwich feature and you still have to wake the phone before you can slide it. but for fast capture feature, you dont need to wake the phone, just press the camera button.

  • rickiking

    The good thing about having the dedicated camera button is you will definitely also have the touchscreen option.


    In future phones will not have a camera button. Remember the lens covers on camera phones? Back then, people said that phones without camera lens covers are a deal breaker because there is no protection for the camera. Where are the lens covers now?
    Likewise memory card slot on phones are also coming to an end. 99% of consumers are happy the internal memory provided by manufacturers.

  • miki69

    personally, I wouldn’t buy a phone if it doesn’t have dedicated camera button. Both Nokia and Sony are making marvelous cameras for smartphones and for most people this is more that enough(no need for stand-alone cameras). Having a dedicated camerae key, is an added value.

    I also have Sony NEX-5 camera (if I want to get nasty :) ) but Xperia T would do me good in most situations.

    Like someone said – “the best camera is the one you have with you”.


  • s-emo

    I have the Xperia arc and the camera button is indeed very hard. So often I prefer to use the screen for taking photos. But if the mechanical button was made larger, softer and flatter I would always prefer to use it instead.
    As for my future phone the V, I think the dedicated button is especially needed considering the phone’s waterproofness. I really want to use it occasionally for taking photos while being in the water (and under).
    Hopefully some nice developer will make a small app for using the power button or the volume rocker for taking photos with phones like Xperia V and Active!!

  • Reason for not having one is the waterproof ones. They cost a lot to make waterproof as well as offer the water more passages to enter through.

  • I use both – preference often depends on the situation.

  • Mark

    Well the Camera button is so horribly broken still on the Xperia S with ICS, I never use it anymore, it’s simply not with the hassle of seeing if it decides to work that time…

  • boosook

    Simply put: since I use the camera quite often, I would never buy a phone without dedicated camera button, even if it was the most wonderful and powerful phone in the world! :)

  • boosook

    And let me explain it a little better… the camera button allows you to lock the focus and exposure by half-pressing it. It is a feature that every camera must have, otherwise you won’t be able to focus your pictures properly. That’s why the camera button is indeed very important.

  • When I’m looking for a new phone, camera specs are the last thing I search for. I rarely use it. I don’t like taking lots of photos. But when I do, I do prefer to have a dedicated camera button, but it isn’t, in a any ways, a deal breaker for me. I do not mind using the touch screen to take photos.

    But what I love in my Xperia S, and what I would miss about a dedicated button, is the fast capture feature. In truth, this has been the only camera feature that has ever interested me. Like I said, I don’t like taking photos, but when I do, it is mostly one of those rare moments when you need to take a quick photo before that event passes.

    So I guess I’m voting for dedicated button.

  • goldenblls

    My thoughts too. I used this method more than any. You touched the screen once, the phone takes a second to focus by which time the phone is steady. Done!

  • Yes I know this, I have an xperia s. However, on the v promo ad she insta captures using the swipe. at 34 sec

  • Douglas Anderson

    i put dedicated, although it does depend on the situation and whether the phone is in landscape or portrait.

  • Amit

    addition of voice capture shown in optimus g may be a nifty feature in some conditions, would be very much happy if sony adds it before final unit comes out.

  • Jet Boughler

    in my opinion, like in Xperia S, which has a dedicated camera button, the slide to capture feature is useless and should be use in other features like in gingerbread when they have the slide to the left to activate vibrate mode or users can customize it

  • surethom

    Both are important, I use both, but when I hand my phone to other to take phone that does not have a hardware button, most people ask “how do I take a photo” but with a hardware button is is just like a camera.

  • chrisphillers

    Very Important. I dont understand why you arent given the option in the first place, makes no sense..

  • Dipish

    Are you kidding? Dedicated camera button was one of the reasons I chose Sony Xperia S!
    It’s very convenient because it acts as the fastest shortkey to camera from ANYWHERE (even when the the screen is off). Do I have to say it’s even faster than the lockscreen shortcut? And simpler if anything – only one action vs three (hit the power button, slide to the other direction for camera and finally press the shutter button).

    Of course, actually taking pictures with a dedicated also feels very natural, I use it most of the time. I hope Sony won’t stop putting them on their phones in favor of a slimmer design (this race for thinness is ridiculous btw, nobody wants a device that’s thin as paper, it should sit well in your hand!).

    Also, modern smartphones are obviously substituting average point-and-shoot cameras and I think that’s another good reason for leaving the dedicated button.

    P.S. I use the on screen button sometimes, like when the phone is in a car mount.

  • Dipish

    Good point, something important to consider about future personal gadgets.

  • ?? ?

    I like camera button

  • But Sony put one on the Acro S. Why change a winning formula?

  • I agree! Also there are times when you want to take a shot but can’t see the screen – e.g. when you’ve turned the phone around to take a portrait of yourself and a friend(s) with the back-facing camera. It is really frustrating fumbling to touch the on-screen shutter button because you can’t feel it.

    Nothing can beat a well engineered physical camera shutter button. Having one on a phone not only makes it a more natural experience but also signals to a consumer straight away that the manufacturer has put serious engineering effort into making the phone a serious point-and-shoot as well.

    The lack of a dedicated physical camera shutter button on the Xperia V is a missed opportunity for Sony to differentiate itself from the Android pack. There should just be certain features and qualities that a company should never compromise on they lose their core brand value and identity in a competitive marketplace.

  • Aokde Gharra

    sony already did it with the acro s and the xperia active, so i don’t think this is the real reason

  • Dipish

    Yeah, I even forgot about the case of taking self-portraits!

    Also, +1 that a button is usually hints on good camera quality (which is true for Sony(Ericsson)

    It’s sad to see that there are so few android phones with dedicated camera buttons these days, this simply leaves me no choice… which is good for Sony, I guess, but not so good for me

  • Soshi

    I use dedicated button to focusing because can half press and on screen button to capture for without shake. But my real intention here is to ask if any news for jelly bean update for xperai arc s?

  • The thing is, I use “dedicated camera button” to launch the camera application :/

  • rickiking

    we have the same phone. :)

  • I know about that, but it’s still not as fast or seamless as the button fast capture.

  • Rune Christiansen

    In general I think the “shortcomings” (8GB mem, no cam. button, smaller screen) is to keep the price at a certain point.
    Anyways; with the X-V it probably doesn’t matter much, as you just use the power button with your left index finger and the other to swipe down. I think it’l be about as fast as with a dedicated button.

  • Cool :) im hoping for jelly bean on it sometime soon

  • Xlash Andraid

    It isn’ that important for me, as I don’t take pictures frequently. Btw, I use Widgetlocker with a camera shortcut in lockscreen, so I can access to the camera without unlocking my device.

  • Evita

    To me, it’s prime consideration before make any mobile purchase, except iPhone

  • Nezar

    You have to push the dedicated button half way through to get the autofocus to work. How can you do that w/out a dedicated button?

  • Aleksandar Stefanovi?

    It makes me feel like a photographer :P

  • scarmic

    With a dedicated camera button you can take picture with only one hand. And yes, fast picture is a great feature. So camera button is a deal breaker for me.

  • Maggot

    Touch to focus – to avoid the shake involved in pressing a button.
    Dedicated button – to focus and take the picture only if it is well focused

  • kosumo

    I didn’t vote.
    Because I have an Xperia Arc and the button is so stiff that i didn’t use it because It make me move when I take a picture. Expecialy when I use a TPU case.
    But in another way if the buton is well made it’s very usefull

  • AlexBurnout

    Pretty good feature

  • Can someone tell me if the Xperia T’s dedicated shutter button acts as a focus before taking the shot. I love my N8 camera but the phone itself is now getting on a bit. And I like to be able take pics without having to look at or press the screen. If the shutter on the T acts as a focus then that’s the phone I’ll be getting.

  • dereknobuyuki

    I agree, you don’t even have to wake the camera on these new Xperia devices. At least not the Xperia GX. It’s in the settings to control quick capturing.

    With the phone asleep, you just hold down the camera button and after about the length of time it takes register a “long press” on the button (since it’s so easy to mistake the power button and the camera button when you’re not looking at the orientation of the device) and it quickly lights up and takes a photo.

    It takes about half a second register the long press and another half a second before it finishes capturing the image.

    Also, something to keep in mind is that if you use any kind of special unlock (pin, password, pattern, etc) you won’t have that slide to unlock to camera option. So, it’s great that they have quick capture.

  • rickiking

    it was the S that had this feature first.

  • OakNinja

    Dedicated camera button allows me to take pictures without looking at the phone.

  • marius2007

    i think that tapping the screen when taking pictures is totally awkward -the camera may shake and no sony xperia has optical image stabilization I think- moreover, the position of the hand is unnatural, maybe in Asia people are more addicted to the new than to the functionality I don’t know- sorry for my english :)

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