The dedicated shutter button has become a lost art in smartphones nowadays, as Windows Phone 8 is basically the only mobile platform that still makes it standard. I think some Sony Xperia devices have those, as Sony usually takes pride in their imaging sensors for smartphones, but I'm not sure which ones exactly. The shutter button is simply becoming irrelevant in smartphones, as the touchscreens work flawlessly (capacitive touchscreens are very responsive, as you probably know), and their more versatile (rotating the phone sideways to landscape mode positions the shutter soft-key at any side, to suit both right- and left-handed people). The autofocus systems rarely work slowly enough to require a two-stage button for focusing, and since most platforms enable touch-to-focus, the lack of a two-stage button become even less of an issue. Keep in mind that many devices can be configured so that one of the volume keys acts as a shutter button. Apple made it popular when they launched this feature in iOS 5, I believe, and that is also available on the Galaxy S4. You can't press the button slightly to tell the autofocus system to do some work, unlike Windows Phone devices and traditional cameras, but if a person just can't figure out how to use the soft-key on the touchscreen, this is a very useful alternative. I have an iPhone 4S, and have used that feature before, but I am now using the soft-key once more; I find it quite convenient, especially in portrait orientation.
yeah....my atrix didn't have a 2 stage shutter button....which would have been nice....the main reason I ask....is while getting my hands on S4 I found the LG Optimus G Pro which does have a single stage shutter button.....which intrigues me... im still leaning twards the S4....but .....I as a photographer like the button.............
I did the opposite actually, went from a phone without a shutter button to one with (HTC Sensation to HTC Radar, old devices, I know). I find the shutter button extremely convenient, but if a phone is comfortable enough to hold while taking photos, then I can see myself doing without one.
I used to be a fan of physical shutter buttons, but after having photo after photo taken of the inside of my pocket, I changed my mind. I have my HTC One configured to take a photo when I touch the screen; I find this an easy, fast way to take pictures that allow me to focus where I want and achieve maximum stability because I'm holding the phone.
Physical camera buttons are nice to quickly take a photo, but I have found on my Lumia 920 that it causes a bit of blur to a photo. This isn't from pressing sharply on the phone, it is just the action of more pressure being on one side of a small device. I almost exclusively use the touch screen to snap a photo now.