A decade ago, new fangled gizmos called 'camera phones' started emerging. Pretty soon there became too many to rate alongside 'proper' cameras, and in any event back then the grainy, smudged 640 x 480 pixels shots from phones were pretty dire. You might as well have photocopied your backside.
Now, the quality of cameras (or rather sensors) in phones has massively improved, to the extent that the average non-photo enthusiast is now asking whether these may replace their dedicated compact camera. And if so, which phone should they buy, in terms of which is best for photography?
But while your handset might be OK for daily snaps, is it good enough to act as your one and only device with which to record those key moments in life?
Often, what you gain in convenience by using a smartphone for taking pictures, you subsequently lose in image quality. One obvious difference between today's compact cameras and smartphones is that even the most basic pocket camera has an optical zoom lens that projects from and retracts into the body. But smartphones still make do with just digital zooms.
Digital zooms effectively just crop the picture, progressively losing pixels the further you 'zoom' in - and certainly this is an Achilles' heel that camera manufacturers are looking to exploit in their favour.
But at the same time, camera brands have been increasingly adopting smartphone-like app menus and internet connectivity to bring the two devices closer together, with Samsung's Galaxy Camera being one of the first and most fully realised examples of this convergence of technology to hit the street.
So compact cameras are seeking to be more like phones, and many smartphones are trying to be more camera-like in their advancing shooting capabilities.
Let's take a look at the best camera phones available now (a group test we'll be constantly updating), to help you decide which one is best for you and your photographic needs. Here we compare our favourite phones for taking photos, arranged by current market price, with sample images to show the sorts of photos they're capable of producing.
Can any of these top camera phones convince you to ditch your compact camera?