Cellphones and cameras are—with due acknowledgement to Forrest Gump—the peas and carrots of the YouTube generation. In the early days, manufacturers reserved the feature for only their top-end models. It did not matter that pictures taken with these cameras looked for the most part like the results of your average sonography—customers snapped them up in hordes.

Photoimaging: Harish Rawat / Mint

It was clear soon, though, that two of the oldest tools of electronic communication—the camera was invented in 1814, the telephone in 1875—were finally going steady. And it’s proved to be a fruitful relationship—an estimated 80% of all cellphones today have built-in cameras.

Advances in digital camera technology and miniaturization mean that photos from the latest camera phones approach and sometimes match the quality of pictures taken with dedicated digital cameras.

When it comes to video, however, the inevitable marriage of two technologies—phone and camcorder—hasn’t quite been love at first click. Even the most advanced camera phones are still no match for digital cameras that also shoot video, let alone dedicated camcorders.

Videos, for one, take up a lot more room than still photos, and until now, the high cost of memory has hindered progress. Full-feature camcorders also possess a plethora of associated technologies—image stabilization and optical zoom, to name two that are difficult to replicate in a phone-sized device. That said, mobile phone cameras have one feature that will continue to ensure their continued survival—built-in connectivity. For a generation of YouTube purveyors and Facebook addicts , what’s the point of flawless, pristine camcorder clips that you can’t instantly broadcast to, well, the whole of humanity?

Let’s take a look at the five best cellphones for recording and sharing videos.

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Movie Maker (Windows)

It comes pre-installed on PCs running with Windows XP and Vista. Movie Maker offers many video filters, special effects and titles, and allows you to edit videos, photos and audio. Perfect for beginners.

iMovie (Mac)

It’s the Mac equivalent of Windows Movie Maker. Its latest version, iMovie 09, has drag-and-drop editing, a precision editing feature (which makes it easier than ever to get exact frame edits) and extras such as image stabilization, dynamic themes, transitions and effects.

Open Movie Editor (Linux)

Openmovieeditor.org emphasizes ease of use. Comparable with both Movie Maker and iMovie, it includes features such as audio annotations, which let you make some parts of the audio quieter than others, and the ability to mute the original track at a click.

Jaycut (online)

f you’re shooting video primarily to share with friends online and have a speedy broadband connection, this online video editing suite (www.jaycut.com) may be just the thing for you.


Video graphics array (VGA)

A graphics display system for PCs developed by IBM in 1987, which has since become an industry benchmark for mobile phones. For video recording, it translates to 640x480 pixels. In real terms, this is close to DVD resolution.

Quarter VGA (QVGA)

It refers to screens that have a 320x240 resolution. The first video-capable cellphones maxed out at QVGA. This is also roughly the resolution offered by good-old VHS cassettes.


The D1 format was the first major professional digital video format, introduced in 1986. In the context of mobile phones, it means a resolution of 720x486 and is approximately equivalent to wide-screen DVD.

HD (high definition)

The lowest resolution that can be considered true HD is 1280x720. So far only one mobile phone, the Samsung Omnia HD, can record HD video.