Bjarne notes a Time site that spotlights the construction of One World Trade Center. It features a dramatic gigapan image fashioned from 567 photos that were stitched together to give the extremely high resolution/zoomable panorama.
There is a lot of artisit talent in my family. One of my father's brothers was artistic. In my generation my sister Corinne has a lot and is a serious professional. The talent fairy skipped over me, but visited both of my nieces.. Alys is a family photographer and put up a webpage showing some of her work. If you have a need and live in the East end of the Phoenix metropolis you might want to drop her a note. good stuff:-)
For most of us smartphones are good enough cameras - there are limitations, but the artistic limits of the average user are much larger. Apple recently did a video shoot using only iPhone 5s' .. the scale was non-trivial and they had original music commissioned, but the result is clearly more than good enough HD.
Smartphones are awfully convenient as cameras - they're usually with you and they have a network connection. On the other hand they aren't terribly flexible as serious cameras. I tend to find convenience is more important. But both smartphone cameras and DSLRs have been improving with a greater rate for smartphones. How do they compare?
One note - a good enough camera in the hands of someone who knows how to take pictures is much better than the perfect camera in the hands of someone who doesn't. For many purposes a smartphone is now good enough. The trick is to learn how to use it.
The limited sensor and lens size of a smartphone's camera places a limit on image quality. That said, most people only take small images for FaceBook, Instagram or the phone's screen - most smartphones are more than enough for such tasks. While generally good enough, image quality varies a lot and perhaps the worst measure is pixel count - the number of megapixels.
Here is a camera comparison test of one of the most popular smartphones and another that aces the megapixel race. Having played with both cameras I'm not terribly surprised.
A bottom line is that if photography is important to you, get a dedicated camera. A $200 point and shoot will run rings around any smartphone camera and the difference is astonishing if you move above $500.
That said - having a camera everywhere you go is a feature.
Although there are severe physics-based limitations, smartphone photography is good enough for many (most?) people. Nokia probably has the best camera, although its ease of use is reportedly poor and the its phone probably will never sell in quantity for other reasons. The most important curve to follow is probably the iPhone as it is the most common. A usage test of photography with the iPhone 5s..
Of course the photographer is much more important than the camera, but are we at the point where casual photographers can get as much out of a smartphone as they can with a dedicated camera? Zero incrementla cost, small,, always with you and having a persistent connection to the Internet are important elements ... and it is probably just as important for camcorders.