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National Geographic photographer takes the iPhone 5S out shooting—and likes it

158

In general, there are few people more skeptical of smartphone photography than professional photographers. According to many people who make their living with photography, mobile photography is weakening their artform, and sometimes putting them out of work. Other professionals, like Jim Richardson, see their smartphone as just another tool in their camera bag.

Last week, Richardson left his Nikon DLSR at home and instead took his iPhone 5S on a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Unsure at first whether it was a good idea, Richardson quickly realized that while his iPhone wasn't exactly capturing "visually profound" images, he didn't feel like he was settling for second best, either.

Richardson shared his journey with National Geographic:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling to make pictures. Walking down the Royal Mile surrounded by all things Scottish nothing seemed worth a picture. Out of desperation I took a few glib shots. Awful! Surrounded by great subjects I could see nothing. Made me feel worse.

[...]I got a couple of pictures, not much really. Hiking back down, I was a bit befuddled. And then we detoured to admire the swans in St. Margaret’s Loch, which posed and postured gracefully, gliding up close, easy subjects devoid of angst, however hackneyed they may be. They made pretty pictures. The iPhone liked them.

[...]What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good. Nothing visually profound is being produced here, I would have to say. But it feels good, and I even noticed some of the folks on our tour putting big digital cameras aside once in a while and pulling out their cell phones when they just wanted to make a nice picture.

Check out some of Richardson's photos from his Instagram:

Comments

Total comments: 158
12
JEFF Dubiel
By JEFF Dubiel (5 days ago)

I think you need to be blind Mr. Ma. or own a Samsung to call these pictures average. You really need a pair of glasses or a Sony IPhone. Awesome shots.

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (9 months ago)

The pics are just average. I'm sure to be employed by National Geographic, he must be a good photographer. You just can't see it on his iPhone pics.

1 upvote
FrankTheTank
By FrankTheTank (10 months ago)

Quit being CHILDISH about Fords vs Chevys. Don't you have better things to do? Perhaps leaving constructive posts migh be a better use of time.

Also, I never take 'pics' with a phone. However, a group of us were stuck on a mountain top waiting for the clouds to clear (they never did) and I wasn't going to bother taking my equipment out to take a couple of snaps. I took some with my new 5s and when I got them back to my computer, I was really surprised at the quality of the images. No, I will not use the phone to take many images, but now, I will be less reluctant to do so knowing that it can actually produce some decent images.

I am not into street photography, but I image that's one good use. I am not sticking my nose up at street photography either. So don't go dissing it.

0 upvotes
A Girard
By A Girard (10 months ago)

Well I hadn't been on DPReview for some time...after seeing this article I can see I didn't miss anything. I'm an Apple FREAK and I cringed when I saw this idiotic article. DPR should be embarrassed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read an interesting article in Popular Mechanics where an electrician uses his Smartphone as a flashlight...and likes it!!!

0 upvotes
mr_landscape
By mr_landscape (10 months ago)

Stop cheap Apple propaganda. Spent your time on reviewing useful cameras. We don`t need every week "news" about Apple "groundbreaking" products. I wonder, what is monthly Apple payment to DPreview site?

2 upvotes
Soupisgoodfood
By Soupisgoodfood (10 months ago)

Apple doesn't need to pay anyone to promote their stuff, and they don't.

I think the 5s is a useful camera. I want weekly news about Apple if it's relevant. If you don't, then don't read the damn Apple-related articles.

The site shouldn't conform to your personal preferences regarding mobile computing platforms.

1 upvote
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (10 months ago)

Fine for landscapes and snaps for the journey, and avoiding back problems on long journeys (plenty of other compacts can help there though).
But how about journalistic people shots? You can't always pose, or want to do so, and I've been around my share of smartphone users that say how their phone is good enough for photos but complain they're butt off about how they can't get any usable shots of active people....

0 upvotes
Jake2046
By Jake2046 (10 months ago)

Instagram...really? Why not just post the raw photos>

0 upvotes
Drew Conway
By Drew Conway (10 months ago)

Because those cheeseball filters are what add to the "Ooooh" effect.

0 upvotes
johnsaxon
By johnsaxon (10 months ago)

Just goes to show you.... it ain't the camera, it's the eye. This guy could take great pictures with a Brownie.

1 upvote
nikanth
By nikanth (10 months ago)

Atleast use a camera with zoom, so that the photographer gets to choose the focal length/FoV.

0 upvotes
Press Correspondent
By Press Correspondent (10 months ago)

Oh, great. More "mobile photography" nonsense.

4 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (10 months ago)

This site is for mobile photographs, go and troll somewhere else.

3 upvotes
Press Correspondent
By Press Correspondent (10 months ago)

Sorry, my bad. I thought it was a photography site.

0 upvotes
czecht
By czecht (10 months ago)

This exchange of if the camera from a tablet/phone is good or not - at LCD resolution, under 100DPI - what can you see ???
If you had to work with the picture, print it at larger image size or make it to a magazine .... you would quickly see the limitations of it all.
Why are we talking about comparing SLR to a simple camera at all? Is it like making an argument, that a screwdriver for a watch maker is good for all screws! The bigger screwdriver is no good for small screws, but small screwdriver is not good at any other size but what it was created at. For many people, ANY PICTURE is a good picture - that is all!
I use my camera that is build in my phone - very little, but I had to use it when I had nothing else with me, BUT, using it as my primary picture-taking - no way hose!
Everything is good as long as it is used for the purpose of the tool in the first place. So please stop this comparison of small tools to the much more appropriate tool - for most - and get hold of your sanity.

1 upvote
Tim Bryden
By Tim Bryden (10 months ago)

Why can't the comments section be used for constructive criticism not just a bitch session.

1 upvote
Artistico
By Artistico (10 months ago)

Well... this is dpreview, after all, so that is like expecting unicorns to appear whenever you walk in the forest, or bowls of gold at the end of the rainbow, unfortunately.

The comment sections are first and foremost used for bitching, a profound blend of equipment envy and ignorance with only a light sprinkle of glowingly panegyrical sentiment on top - usually from people equally ignorant. In both cases, posters seem worried about their photographic equipment and need constant confirmation they are making the right choices. If they have what is being discussed they need to affirm this by waxing lyrical, or if something else is discussed, they need to bitch. In short (and I keep reminding myself this): don't read the comments section. It's just a waste of time.

5 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (10 months ago)

Landscapes at 1:1 not looking like a compromise...It must then be my untrained eyes that keep compromisingly-wondering to the blank left and right sides of those amputated Scottish scenery images.

Ah...If only Andrew Lesnie knew he could have shot those monumental New Zealand landscapes for LOTR in 1:1 format...the fool...

(If Apple keeps pumping hard on those money bags we'll soon have Annie Leibovitz back from a new gig in Buckingham Palace, saying how QEII was THE perfect Instagram subject)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Soupisgoodfood
By Soupisgoodfood (10 months ago)

Are you saying that Apple is paying photographers and journalists to say good things about the iPhone?

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan
By PhotoKhan (10 months ago)

Well, when a seasoned NG photographer states that photographing landscapes in 1:1 doesn't "feel like he was settling for second best" or "the pictures did not look like compromises" what do you think is happening?

0 upvotes
YSLaiHK
By YSLaiHK (10 months ago)

Why is dpreview trying so hard in convincing us it is NOT necessary to buy/use any real camera anymore?

All these pictures don't appeal to me at all. It will take some serious idiots in NaGeo to 'like' them. Worst than any <USD200 p&s camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Soupisgoodfood
By Soupisgoodfood (10 months ago)

They aren't. Have you never heard of the phrase "the best camera is the one that's with you"? These articles are obviously in that theme; they're not trying to kill your DSLR.

0 upvotes
Spectro
By Spectro (10 months ago)

why wasn't Barney Britton on this trip. These two would make a dynamic duo. Britton would add to those shots with a panorama photo-stitch for greater effects.

2 upvotes
GrahamJohn
By GrahamJohn (10 months ago)

A great chef could probably turn a bag of pig poo into something gourmet.

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Daniel L
By Daniel L (10 months ago)

Don't get it. it's something really awesome about these pictures need posting? Good location, good opportunity and he wasted the moment with cell phones snap for publicity - that's what the topic should be.

6 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (10 months ago)

Not all publicity is "good". For his sake I'm hope I'm wrong. However, I've had folks, whom know nothing about photography, ask for my help in choosing a DSLR to take with them on their expensive European tour.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (10 months ago)

"I even noticed some of the folks on our tour putting big digital cameras aside once in a while and pulling out their cell phones"

I get that the best camera is the one you have on you. I get that mobile phones can take pretty decent pictures, in ideal conditions. But it takes a special kind of idiot to bother carrying his SLR around, then put it down and start snapping away with his smartphone.

8 upvotes
Maylene
By Maylene (10 months ago)

Why though? I do that all the time. I have my high-res images on my dslr and I like to do a side snap on my iphone. I like having these low res images on my phone for personal use. So that makes me some sort of idiot? I am not trying to print the photos or sell them like I do with my high-res prints... but I like to look through my phone images sometimes just as a simple trip through my memory..

3 upvotes
kjin
By kjin (10 months ago)

Or...they may just want to easily and instantly share their experience on the tour to Facebook or Instagram or any other social network they may be subscribing to. I haven't seen too many DSLRs even today that can do that yet.

5 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (10 months ago)

"instantly share their experience on the tour to Facebook or Instagram..."

Correct.

0 upvotes
YvesR
By YvesR (10 months ago)

I do tend to take snapshots with my (Android) cellphone camera on photoshoots. For one thing, my DSLR doesn't geotag my pictures, and it is a good way for me to remember where I was when I need to keyword my photos after a long trip. Also, the visual aspect of cellphone photos is different, and I find them easier to "optimize" quickly in Android apps than in Photoshop (and I am a stickler when it comes to quality). They just look different, and sometime more visually appealing if one applies the great layer effects available in apps like Pixlr. Photoshop is always the ultimate app to go to when it comes to making high-quality files (and prints), but the creative possibilities of phone apps can give me new ideas on how to work with files in Photoshop.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (10 months ago)

Well, in that case, sorry for calling all you fine folks idiots. :)

As stated in the article, it sounded like people were getting out their smartphones "just because". But you've all listed some great reasons why it might be worth picking up a smartphone, even with a DSLR in your other hand.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

"I do tend to take snapshots with my (Android) cellphone camera on photoshoots. For one thing, my DSLR doesn't geotag my pictures, and it is a good way for me to remember where I was when I need to keyword my photos after a long trip."

Easier would be just using a GPS tracker (say, the BTGP-38KM or something similar with equally good battery life) and, say, GeoSetter on the desktop (or, if you don't mind the lack of inline map editor / price, HoudahGeo). I'm using this duo for geotagging and it's been working great. A tutorial: http://www.iphonelife.com/blog/87/geocoding-photos-your-ios-device-or-desktop-computer

0 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (10 months ago)

I shoot with a Nikon D700 and Bronica ETR-s, but find myself pulling out my Android HTC One-X Quadcore for its Panorama Mode which works quite well, and for sending photos out via E-mail or FLICKR. I of course do NOT use FACENOOK (the largest productivity killer in the world..signed...patiently waiting for Zuckerberger to "off himself")

0 upvotes
ashnikonian
By ashnikonian (10 months ago)

"You have to draw the line somewhere. You don't have to own a Nikon D800 and 17-55mm f/2.8..."

Why would you use a DX lens on an FX body?

A camera is a tool, different tools for different jobs, surely?

2 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (10 months ago)

"Why would you use a DX lens on an FX body?"

Because... Vignetting! That makes some really wonderful vignetting, dude!
;)

0 upvotes
skytripper
By skytripper (10 months ago)

There is no question that a skilled photographer can capture beautiful images with almost any camera. Nevertheless, iPhone photography is for those who basically don't care about fine detail because there is very little of it in most iPhone photographs. Is smartphone photography lowering the standard of what is considered a technically good photograph? Definitely!

4 upvotes
Duppypog9
By Duppypog9 (10 months ago)

What a great example of "it's the photographer, not the equipment that make a great image".

9 upvotes
TheDman
By TheDman (10 months ago)

I think it's a great example that the Scottish highlands are so beautiful you could tie a camera to a chipmunk, set it to auto-fire and he would come back with dozens of winners.

22 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (10 months ago)

I agree with the other comment. He was in one of the most mesmerizing surroundings. Even Polaroids shot there would be beautiful.

1 upvote
Peter Lacus
By Peter Lacus (10 months ago)

Been to Scotland twice and while it is beautiful I do not think you can take comparable pictures by just random snappíng.

1 upvote
proef
By proef (10 months ago)

A photographer looks at a scene and decides what elements he wishes to include in his picture. The equipment he uses determines the appearance of those elements. Choices by the photographer and the equipment used combine to create the final image.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (10 months ago)

Did he try Nokia 1020 yet? or......maybe Nokia didn't hire him...OUCH!

5 upvotes
inti4444
By inti4444 (10 months ago)

Nop looks like Dpreview has gone more commercial, pushing the iphone

0 upvotes
Hongze
By Hongze (10 months ago)

These images show that the photographer is definitely at NG class regardless tools used. I hope I can get back with images close to these even with Nikons.

However, the decision of leaving camera with a brand and bring a phone of a brand to a costly trip always demand questions. What;s the agenda? is it/are they:

1. Here is the beautiful Scotland, come visit. (We know before hand)
2. iPhone x can take beautiful images if used in right situation. (We've been shown many many times)
3. I will use iPhone x instead of Nikon in my future trip. (really?)

I will be much less confused if the story read "When I open my case at our first camp, I was shocked that, except my phone, all my gears were damaged by radiation during the fight...."

2 upvotes
DonnaRead54
By DonnaRead54 (10 months ago)

I suspect the agenda was "Hey Jim, iPhone here. How would you like to endorse our newest phone. Check's in the mail." Or at the very least, a free phone. I seriously doubt he woke up one day and decided that his gear was too heavy to lug around and thought 'hmmm I think I'll use the newest iPhone to shoot the ridiculously photogenic Scottish Highlands'.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (10 months ago)

This goes on to prove that a camera is only 10% of the picture - making, as it always was, and always will be. It takes a photographer to use it properly.
So, images may succeed or not, dependent upon the user's skill, and the approach to any given theme - which includes the choice of the hardware. Whether that hardware has a trendy name is / was of no importance.
What's important is to be able to see through the sly use of some photographer's abilities in order to sell cameras, by making people think it was the hardware that made the shot.
The truth is, you will always eat soup easier with Lomo spoon than with Leica fork... if soup is what's in front of you.
Etcetera.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
cephei
By cephei (10 months ago)

Is it just me or I don't see much difference in the last iphone 4s camera and the 5s camera... I took a picture of an apple from each they looked exactly alike... ;)

0 upvotes
NoelSaw
By NoelSaw (10 months ago)

If you're taking your photo in daylight, most cameras are going to do pretty darn good these days. It's really in the low light conditions and also lighting type like for example fluorescent or incandescent (white balance) where the differences in camera quality will appear. Also if you start zooming in on a desktop photo editing app you'll start speaking to tell the difference.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (10 months ago)

On the other hand having a camera that discreetly fits in your pocket, one that is small and lightweight makes a refreshing change than carrying an oft heavy and large camera around your neck all the time.

It can be a tonic for the jaded, its great to go lightweight.

2 upvotes
inti4444
By inti4444 (10 months ago)

Does dpreview have a contract with apple ?

7 upvotes
2stepbay
By 2stepbay (10 months ago)

Do you think you can get over yourself? If you don't like the article, or Apple for that matter...move on. and focus on something you like. Seriously...there's more to life than being a pseudo critic.

8 upvotes
DaveE1
By DaveE1 (10 months ago)

"Does dpreview have a contract with apple ?"

I hope they do. This article was interesting. More please.

1 upvote
Northgrove
By Northgrove (10 months ago)

No, but maybe Nat Geo? ;)

0 upvotes
Soupisgoodfood
By Soupisgoodfood (10 months ago)

Do you have a contract with Samsung?

0 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (10 months ago)

It's great cameras in phones are improving as if it is all you have with you when a photo opportunity arises its nice to have a better quality result than you would have got in the not too distant past.

However I see no point in deliberately choosing a phone to take photos with if taking photos is what you set out to do.

Just because you can use a phone and the photos are better than the previous generation of phones delivered doesn't mean you should.

I read Richardson's to mean that you can take snapshots on an iPhone 5S. I am sure we knew that already but it does make me feel uneasy as I get the impression such articles are designed to lend more credibility to the 5S as a photographic tool than it deserves.

If you sneaked in 5S images in place of those shot when testing something like a Canon Sureshot camera in the DPR web site they would be slated for image quality and rightly so. We seemed to have lost sight of quality just because phones are clever bits of technology.

4 upvotes
fohtoh
By fohtoh (10 months ago)

I can't believe how angry some people get over... things.
It's a freakin phone capable of taking decent photos — not some attack on your manhood!

Get over it and over yourselves, people.

12 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (10 months ago)

"Nothing visually profound is being produced here, I would have to say" and yet the photographer is in one of the most photogenic countries in the world. It's almost impossible to produce a 'hackneyed' image in such a place. Surely the message of this article is that it might be an idea to dump the iphone and take a decent camera next time.

1 upvote
cainn24
By cainn24 (10 months ago)

Exactly. The clear message here is that relying solely on a smartphone camera was a somewhat frustrating exercise, but that when the subject matter lent itself well to such limitations, the pictures were surprisingly decent. And really, we pretty much all know this already.

2 upvotes
fibonacci1618
By fibonacci1618 (10 months ago)

Errm, I think a photo is a photo is a photo... it doesn't matter which camera took the shot. If it is a good photo, captures the moment beautifully, proved useful as a photographic tool to the person taking the shot, it does not matter one bit whether it was a Nikon D4 or an iPhone 5s that took the shot.

Colour, contrast, noise reduction, etc. that are done in post-processing, equally apply to any digital photo, taken by any camera, even in medium format cameras!

BUT... there are limitations to a phone cam, and some pretty severe ones at that, but as always, use the tool to suit the job at hand. If it gets the job done, despite the limitations, well then good on you!

It's great to see phone cams advancing so quickly - I, for one, don't feel insecure with that! Heck, put a 1" sensor in it, and have the option to change lenses too (whopee!), but please.... keep it first a phone, then a camera.

YMMV

4 upvotes
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (10 months ago)

"It doesn't matter which camera took the shot", yes, but that's trivial and almost always not the point. The point is whether the camera perhaps *did* matter when there is a bad photo or not the photo you wanted or when there isn't a photo at all. (Which is, of course, what you're hinting at yourself when you say "but".)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
fibonacci1618
By fibonacci1618 (10 months ago)

Yes trivial to you and me, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that the opposite is true when reading the many comments on here...

My comment was on photos *taken* and displayed in this article, therefore, a photo is a photo is a photo. Missed opportunities because the phone cam didn't or couldn't capture the shot is a usability issue, and therefore if it can't get the job done, well then it doesn't quite suit the purpose.

Am certain that in the very near future, even the usability issue will fade away as hardware and software technology for phone cams advance.

0 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (10 months ago)

It's a hard sell to try the sell cameraphones to a gearhead.
Lack of manual controls (Menneisyys claims that API is lacking)
Lack of OIS
Lack of Xenon flash
Sensor size
I can't even see where the lens is???
It's like calling your rowing boat a battleship or carrier
Even the Lumia 1020 fails miserably as a camera
yet it's the current top of the line with 4x sensor area
but also oversaturated oversharpened no RAW left&right part of the 38 Mpx always totally pixalated => small lens, etc
It's better to have a decent snapper (RX-100) always with.
On the other other hand I like the Lumia 1020 as an example where the smartphones are going
The iPhone 5S is most likely the top most old tech camPhone
and a talented person can get reasonable shots from it in good light.
Apple! Move on! Do some innovation! Enhance also the API!

3 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (10 months ago)

Or abandon the ship and focus on improving the phone call/text/web functionality.

4 upvotes
Cjar
By Cjar (10 months ago)

More Apple product placement.

I take my smart phone on my shoots because it's a phone.
Sometimes I make calls and it's more useful for calling people than trying to dial on my camera.
The phone also geotags.

But if I want to use my experience and eye as a photographer, to get the best image possible, the phone stays in my pocket.

More burgers are eaten at McDonalds. That doesn't mean McBurgers are the best.

5 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (10 months ago)

Remember to post "More Canon product placement" whenever there is a Canon article, too. Would not want to come off as a snob would we?

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (10 months ago)

CJar is absolutely correct. The rationale we're always hearing as to why phone cameras are getting so much attention is that they're the #1 camera used on the #1 photo site (Flickr). I remember when Polaroids and Instamatics were huge sellers, but they were classified as SNAPSHOT cameras not lumped in the same group as Nikon 35mm SLRs etc. As I've said (similar to what Cjar said) McDonald's sells the most hamburgers but if I were at a culinary site, I want talk to center on that sort of thing, vs having a lot of talk about McDonald's & then it being justified based on their sales numbers, when clearly the words McDonald's & culinary don't belong in the same sentence.

If having that sort of taste is "snobbery," then maybe some snobbery is GOOD.

0 upvotes
dgmessenger
By dgmessenger (10 months ago)

Proves mobile phones are great for Instagram! I think we already knew that. More impotantly, it proves it's not the arrow but the Indian (pc: indigenous north american hominid). His photos would look hardly different if using another high end mobile phone camera. Cheers.

1 upvote
dgmessenger
By dgmessenger (10 months ago)

"Importantly"!!

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (10 months ago)

They all will look the same in 4 inch display.

3 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (10 months ago)

He could've taken a Sony NEX-3N with a Sigma 19mm f/2.8 & gotten far superior results, with image quality akin to a Nikon D7000, and it still would've been far less to tote around than a Nikon D-SLR.

But of course it wouldn't come from the Apple Kool-Aid jugs, so of course that makes it useless. Sigh.

Frankly, if you call yourself a professional and tote around a freaking PHONE camera for anything other than your mirror-posed selfies, you are a fraud and a cheat.

LRH

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (10 months ago)

Frankly, if you call yourself a professional and tote around a freaking entry level mirrorless with third party cheapo lens, you are a fraud and a cheat.

...seriously, why would others having options or making different choices make you angry?

11 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (10 months ago)

It's called having TASTE. I don't see LeBron James playing NBA basketball with a $1 vinyl dollar store ball & flip-flops. I don't see a NASCAR driver using a stock-engine equipped Chevrolet Aveo for racing. I don't see swimmers competing in a kiddie pool. I don't see football players playing with a NERF football.

In other words, the tool doesn't create skill in a person who doesn't possess it, but a person with skill would use a tool commensurate with their skill-set.

You have to draw the line somewhere. You don't have to own a Nikon D800 and 17-55mm f/2.8, even a D3100 and kit lens will work, but at some point, you have to save "oh come on now." Phone cameras are that point. They're fine for the average snapshooter, sure, that I agree with.

1 upvote
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

"Frankly, if you call yourself a professional and tote around a freaking entry level mirrorless with third party cheapo lens, you are a fraud and a cheat."

IQ-wise, the Sony NEX-3N is equally good as its more expensive brothers (5N/5R, 6) and MUCH better than any P&S & cameraphone out there. (Except for the 808 when it comes to detail level - but, of course, the 808 can't beat the Sony in dynamic range / noise / with the proper lenses, OIS / operational speed.)

That is, recommending a 3N for *quality* photos should not be frowned upon.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
wootpile
By wootpile (10 months ago)

"Frankly, if you call yourself a professional and tote around a freaking PHONE camera for anything other than your mirror-posed selfies, you are a fraud and a cheat."

That's funny! Sorry, you just went and proved to all that you are not a pro.

4 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (10 months ago)

menneisyys- I was being sarcastic. I realize that the sensors in even the base model NEX are pretty good, and the sigma 30 2.8 is very sharp especially for the price. This is exactly the type of gear that I use (though from other brands). I think it's plenty capable. I just think it's ironic that a gear snob is going to use relatively affordable gear from...gasp...an electronics company ;) and then bad mouth people about what they choose to shoot with.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (10 months ago)

The difference is that even with a Sony NEX you're talking about a camera that has the same 16mp 1.5x sensor as the Nikon D5100 and D7000, which tested out fantastic in their image quality. You're also talking about a camera that has the PSAM modes, RAW, and interchangeable lenses. All of this is in a package way smaller than any DSLR.

The point is there's a minimum you shouldn't dip below. No one is saying you have to own a Nikon D800 & the most expensive glass made for it to "rate," even a D3100 meets a certain minimum, outperforming the IQ of the Nikon D2x which in its day was a PRO camera. But I'm sorry, when you dig down to the point of using a PHONE camera, that's just nuts.

0 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (10 months ago)

If you are not shooting 4x5 B&W film, developing the film yourself, and making your own silver gelatin prints,...you are a cheat.

Besides using a Nikon D700 I am still shooting B&W film (developing myself, then printing on Beseler 23-CII or 45MCRX enlargers with Schneider lenses):

Nikon F
1950's Frank Rolfix 6x9cm "folder" Schneider lens
1950's Franka Soida-E 6x6cm "folder" Schneider lens
Bronica ETR-S
Kodak Retina III-c with 3 Schneider lenses
Omega 45D Schneider lenses

Different tools for different circumstances.

0 upvotes
chj
By chj (10 months ago)

lol at the comments by idiot DPR'ers that instantly poo poo any photo taken by a phone. Yes your DSLR is more capable. No, your photostream is not better than his Instagram, and image quality has nothing to do with it. Keep taking highly detailed shots of nothing anyone is interested in.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
24 upvotes
Cjar
By Cjar (10 months ago)

"Image quality has nothing to do with it."
Wow.

I guess you'll start carrying a pencil and paper instead of your camera, right?

2 upvotes
Johnsonj
By Johnsonj (10 months ago)

@chj - Exactly.

1 upvote
diolus
By diolus (10 months ago)

Comment sections should be banned. So useless.

5 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (10 months ago)

Your comment should be banned.

9 upvotes
baozebub
By baozebub (10 months ago)

iPhone is the best.

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (10 months ago)

Anyone that claims something like this instantly shows complete lack of knowledge, this is like me saying "this burger is the best" no it is not, nor can you define what is the "best" nor simplify it, if it is the best, why does nokia kick its ass in image quality?

1 upvote
Cjar
By Cjar (10 months ago)

... because Apple said so?

0 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (10 months ago)

Any why would you bother trolling on why someone's subjective opinion, which you clearly recognize, is wrong? We get it, you like the nokia.

2 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (10 months ago)

I like Image Quality
I like Optical Image Stabilation
I like Bigger sensors
I like Xenon Flash

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (10 months ago)

If you like bigger sensors get a medium format camera and be happy.

0 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (10 months ago)

By "medium format" you mean 4x5 inch correct? 8x10 shooters call 4x5 "medium format". I shoot 4x5 film and 120mm film (Bronica ETR-S), and call the 4x5 "large format", just a matter of perspective I guess.

0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (10 months ago)

Nokia opened the way, Apple follows.
What's next? Fashion photography? Wedding photo shoot ? or maybe Helmut Newton ?

0 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (10 months ago)

And of course the next time this Pro is going out on a job wherein he HAS to get the shot, he'll again leave his Nikons at home and just take his phone.

2 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (10 months ago)

Of course !!!! what did you expect? he is a pro after all .

0 upvotes
Ken Hadi
By Ken Hadi (10 months ago)

well
http://www.dpreview.com/tv/smartphone-vs-slr

0 upvotes
Ben Raven
By Ben Raven (10 months ago)

I PROFOUNDLY disagree with the implication of photographer Richardson's statement that
"his iPhone wasn't exactly capturing "visually profound" images".
Maybe HE wasn't. (in his own opinion)

Achieving the "visually profound" is most definitely not just proportional to
the level of technical performance of an artist's instrument, camera or otherwise.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (10 months ago)

"[...]What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. "

Eh... you kind of did, the 808 is the best when it comes to photographs, I would put the 5s in fourth place after 1020 & Samsung S4

2 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (10 months ago)

Most of these pictures have severe hue problems, suggesting poor white balance. It withdraws all credibility from this PR blurb we've been offered today.

8 upvotes
dyoon153
By dyoon153 (10 months ago)

That severe hue problems are probably due to instagram filter... not too sure if it's 5s' issue.

3 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (10 months ago)

It could be. Nevertheless it is awful.

3 upvotes
BRPWS
By BRPWS (10 months ago)

This is a question rather than a comment on the article.

I cannot find in any writeups on phone cameras how a print looks and how large a print can be made.

Everything looks good on a decent computer screen, phone or tablet. But what does an 8x10 or larger fair against larger sensor dslr, or mirrorless cameras.

I think phone cameras are great for the quick shot so I have nothing against them at all but at what point do people realize that it is not performing the way a non phone camera performs.

Okay. It was a question and a comment
el

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
1 upvote
deep7
By deep7 (10 months ago)

I have printed A4 (~8x10) from my iPhone 4S and it looks excellent. You can't really tell it's from a camera phone at all. Of course, that's in good light. I think you would notice if the light was bad but it would depend very much on the subject matter.

0 upvotes
Johnsonj
By Johnsonj (10 months ago)

These are good observations:

"I have printed A4 (~8x10) from my iPhone 4S and it looks excellent. You can't really tell it's from a camera phone at all. Of course, that's in good light. I think you would notice if the light was bad but it would depend very much on the subject matter."

I think what escapes the techie boys is that bad light gives bad pictures no matter what the gear used. Sure, the pro-grade DSLR w/ best lens will look cleaner, but who cares? It's still a throw-away.

I'm so tired of hearing from techie measurebators, who lack 1ounce of creativity, slamming Connect articles. They should stay on the original site to discuss the virtues of RAW and how they get 2 stops better shadow detail out of their insipid, ordinary pictures.

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (10 months ago)

Johnsonj what world do you live in? You clearly have never owned a dslr, you can get photos in the moonligt with little noise now that can be printed quite large

4 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (10 months ago)

You consider comparing 8x10 inch prints a test of IQ? I will concede that most cameras will print well up to 8x10 inch. Try printing 16x10 and larger, then get back to me.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (10 months ago)

Whats missing from the article: WHO PAID FOR HIS TRIP?

Thanks.

8 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

Yeah... exactly the same question Apple fanboys asked when some NG photogs praised the Nokia 1020 some weeks ago.

Of course, it's far easier to praise the 1020 than the 5s, apart from the stunning sweep pano mode and the very fast operation / burst. The 1020 has significantly better IQ (apart from the corners / left&right borders) than the 5s and PhoneArena's latest blind camera shootout has the following title:

"Lumia 1020 beats the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4 by a mile in our blind camera comparison"

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Lumia-1020-beats-the-iPhone-5s-and-Galaxy-S4-by-a-mile-in-our-blind-camera-comparison_id48050

2 upvotes
Johnsonj
By Johnsonj (10 months ago)

"Lumia 1020 beats the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4 by a mile in our blind camera comparison"

Good to know. I'll look at what the market has to offer in about a year when I'm looking for a new phone cam.

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (10 months ago)

Lol how come DXOcrap ranked 5s next to 808 when it has far mediocre sensor? That blind test is a huge slap on the face of delusional iPhonies who think their phone is the best.

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

"That blind test is a huge slap on the face of delusional iPhonies who think their phone is the best."

While I haven't had the time to properly assess the images used in that blind test (I've been developing some uber-sophisticated pathfinding algorithms and (currently, iOS) implementations for quite some time and it's taking all my time), based on the direct GS4 vs. 5s comparisons I've previously made (see e.g. http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52202175 ) I would have thought these two phones have approximately the same IQ. That is, nothing is carved in the stone - I don't think the 5s is THAT much worse than the GS4, if at all.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (10 months ago)

" But it feels good, and I even noticed some of the folks on our tour putting big digital cameras aside once in a while and pulling out their cell phones when they just wanted to make a nice picture."

That statement doesn't make sense unless the shots were limited by the physical size of the camera (if you needed to stick your phone through a wall or put it at an angle the DSLR is not capable of due to size).

In any other case, the camera would be able to take a better pic.

If I have my DSLR with me, the only time i'd use my phone to take a pic is if i needed to upload the pic that very moment.

The article seems like it was written by a person that has not touched a smartphone in years. I wonder if he knows that they've been able to take decent pics for years.

It's interesting because we have people on the forums getting into photography because they're hitting the limits of their smartphones. Then we have these old people that have never touched a smartphone saying it's "enough"

3 upvotes
BRPWS
By BRPWS (10 months ago)

I think your comment about old people is racist and take personal offense. I am 70 years old and have been involved in new and up and coming technology my whole life.

Maybe the old folks should comment on the young folks never taking their faces out of the lcd screen to talk to people. But I won't make that comment because I do not want to offend young people who can't let go of technology.

Cameras phones have come a long way as has all electronic toys and tools. That does not mean that the older generations are not keeping up.

9 upvotes
Tlipp
By Tlipp (10 months ago)

Thank you BRPWS! I am 68 and right there with you on this!

1 upvote
Lavs12
By Lavs12 (10 months ago)

I get your point but racist may be the wrong term there, just saying.

7 upvotes
Tonkotsu Ramen
By Tonkotsu Ramen (10 months ago)

I think it's interesting that you're getting offended by a comment that clearly isn't directed at you.

"old people that have never touched a smartphone.

Do you fit both descriptions? If not, then it doesn't apply to you and you're getting offended for nothing.

So now old people are also extremely bitter and lack reading comprehension?

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (10 months ago)

Age is not related to racism sir, read a dictionary, you should know this by now judging by your age.

6 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (10 months ago)

tonkotsu- maybe the issue is that you don't understand how what you wrote sounds. "Then we have these old people that have never touched a smartphone saying it's 'enough'" implies that it's generally old people that have never touched a smartphone...as in... "gee, old people don't use or understand technology. No wonder they're so amazed by crappy camera phones." It's not too hard to see why an old person who doesn't fit that description might not appreciate it.

0 upvotes
Shengji
By Shengji (10 months ago)

Is 70 old now? Doesn't feel like it!

1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (10 months ago)

I think however that your comment IS a bit offending!
Why not just say :
" people that have never touched a smartphone .."
and leave "old" out of the equation? There are enough young people that still use normal cell phones to make calls, and cameras to take pictures.

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (10 months ago)

It's great to pull out for the occasional quick panorama or just a wide shot. One doesn't have to do a complete 180, one can stop at any point: http://images116.fotki.com/v715/photos/4/43793/4909192/IMG_4103-vi.jpg

2 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

"It's great to pull out for the occasional quick panorama or just a wide shot. "

Definitely. Exactly for the same reason (to shoot quick panos) I keep my iPhone 5 always with me in addition to be able to access the Net quickly and easily. (The iPhone 5 is far better suited for Web browsing / mailing than the 808. The latter, however, is far better suited for phoning. This is why I have a net-only SIM card in the former and a phone-only card in the latter.)

However, I, generally, shoot stills with my true phone (the Nokia 808).

1 upvote
rpm40
By rpm40 (10 months ago)

Menneisyys- I've heard you talk about this several times before. Do you have a second cell phone just for the camera? If so, why did you decide to do that? It doesn't seem to make sense to me at first, but maybe there are some interesting reasons for it.

1 upvote
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (10 months ago)

Yes, Menneisyys! Minäin haluaisin uulla valinnoistasi taremmin. You could even write an article about it, huh?

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (10 months ago)

"Menneisyys- I've heard you talk about this several times before. Do you have a second cell phone just for the camera? If so, why did you decide to do that? It doesn't seem to make sense to me at first, but maybe there are some interesting reasons for it."

Because there isn't a *perfect* converged device yet.

I love Symbian's basic phoning capabilities, particularly call recording. The latter is simply impossible on non-jailbroken phones. As I've lost my JB on my iPhone 5, I can't record calls any more (see the call recorder I've, let's say, co-developed for the iPhone 5 at http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1566350 ) I also love the IQ of the 808's camera.

Nevertheless, the 808 does the following things far-far worse than the iPhone 5:

- quick sweep panoramas
- action shooting
- web / mail access

This is why I keep both phones on me all the time.

0 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (10 months ago)

Wow , the typical act like they are 90 years old, reply's. I really doubt anyone on here that has replied is making a living shooting any camera they own. So why the sad face?

You are in the minority even owning a camera anymore. It is a whole new world. I am sure you carry your 8x10 view camera with you everywhere you go.

1 upvote
Johnsonj
By Johnsonj (10 months ago)

LOL! Good one.

I print awesome 8x10 images taken with my iPhone. Why not, it's always with me and I get the shots I wouldn't have by not carrying a dedicated camera. Who needs extra gear when you just going about your day? Browsing my albums from over the years I notice my iPhone images are just as satisfying to look at as images made with my former full frame DSLR and L lenses.

3 upvotes
Fat Twunny
By Fat Twunny (10 months ago)

"You are in the minority even owning a camera anymore. It is a whole new world"

It may be a whole new world, but the world of air shows, timid and/or distant wildlife, fast moving motor sport, very low light scenes, moving pets/kids etc etc still benefit from a decent camera other than an iPhone (smart phone)
Many people, old and young, still prefer manual gearboxes over paddle shift, vinyl over CD/downloads and "proper" cameras over phone cameras. They personally enjoy the experience, and they enjoy the end result that bit more because of it. Many people get immense satisfaction from carefully crafting images, sometimes in demanding situations that calls for more capable kit than the humble phone camera.
I love this whole new world, it is one of choice.
I sincerely hope I am long gone if the time ever comes when I don't have that choice

0 upvotes
photo_rb
By photo_rb (10 months ago)

photographers vs. technonerds. Ansel would have loved his iPhone.

3 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (10 months ago)

How dare you call me a "technonerd"?!
>:-(

0 upvotes
Press Correspondent
By Press Correspondent (10 months ago)

Yes, Ansel would have loved his iPhone. And once he is done talking, he would use a view camera with the best optics to take photos.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 158
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