mobile photography technology, culture and community
www.dpreview.com
Previous

Confessions of a camera snob

90
 Lake Washington, Seattle, 2013. iPhone 5, shot with KitCam, edited with Snapseed.

I fell in love with photography in the days of film, graduating from using a first generation APS point-and-shoot (remember those?) to 35mm SLRs, medium format bodies and eventually a 4x5 field camera. The progression was logical enough, as at each stage I became more and more enamored with larger film sizes. Bigger was better, allowing for greater fidelity and detail in my prints that, with the advent of digital inkjet printing, would commonly measure 40 x 50 inches.

Indeed, by the time digital SLRs became affordable, I considered shooting with the 8MP Canon EOS 20D to be "slumming" – a steep sacrifice in image quality made for the sake of convenience. Technology has progressed rapidly since then, of course. But as a photographer, image resolution, dynamic range and noise performance are still primary concerns for me.

Of the many features I've longed for in a camera over the years, a lower-resolution sensor with smaller, less-sensitive photosites was never on my list. In fact, ever since its announcement last year, the camera currently sitting atop my wish list has been the 36MP Nikon D800E.  

From disdain to grudging acceptance

So when we launched Connect last October and I was assigned to write the HTC One X review, I had a lot of baggage to check at the door in order to assess the smartphone's camera capabilities from the perspective of a fair, impartial reviewer. Narrow dynamic range, limited exposure controls, a fixed wide angle lens, poor high ISO performance and of course image quality shortcomings when viewed at 100%, were limitations I was just going to have to accept.

Maui, 2013. iPhone 5, shot with KitCam, edited with Snapseed.

To my surprise, however, I rather enjoyed my time shooting primarily with a smartphone. Sure, it lacked in features and performance compared to even the most budget-friendly enthusiast camera. And checking for highlight clipping whenever the sun was high quickly became a post-capture ritual. But I much preferred using the One X over the point-and-shoot I sometimes brought along as a comparison camera while shooting image samples for the review.

Aside from the lack of an optical zoom, the image quality of the One X was on par with the point-and-shoot, and even surpassed it once I tweaked the One X's default settings. One decided advantage in using the smartphone was not having to struggle with the impossibly small (for my hands) buttons found on a point-and-shoot.  And there was simply no denying the pleasure of reviewing images on a gorgeous 4.7-inch high-resolution screen.

Mexico City outskirts, 2012. iPhone 5, shot and edited with KitCam.
Maui, 2013. iPhone 5, shot with Kitcam, edited with Snapseed.

Sufficiently intrigued, after the review was completed I decided to replace my own aging smartphone with an iPhone 5. The decision to go with an Apple rather than Android device was based on the nearly overwhelming number of camera apps available for iOS. As the front end for the camera's operation, the choice of camera app is a significant one. It greatly influences the experience of making photographs and many apps can differ in image quality as well. I knew early on that I'd be unhappy with either the Apple or Android stock camera app and wanted as many alternatives as possible.

The app is everything

Right away, the apps that intrigued me most were the ones that allowed you to shoot in formats other than the iPhone's native 4:3 ratio. Shooting with a smartphone is unlike using my standalone camera in many obvious ways. And I decided to embrace, rather than try to minimize, this difference. When I picked up my iPhone I didn't want to try and mimic much of anything about my DSLR. I was after a completely different experience. And It didn't take long before I settled on shooting in square format. This format has a long-standing appeal for me, as it harkens back to the days of shooting with my trusty Bronica SQAi 6x6 format camera. I had always loved composing in a square format yet hadn't done so on a consistent basis in probably a decade.

Seattle, 2013. iPhone 5, shot with Kitcam, edited with Snapseed.

So I made the decision that all photos taken with my iPhone (outside of family snapshots) were going to be  were going to be shot in a 1:1 ratio. The iPhone would become my new wide angle, square format camera. And after being turned on to the KitCam camera app by colleague Kelcey Smith, who covered it in a Quick Review last year, this feature-rich app with a 1:1 shooting option soon replaced the other App Store purchases I had been trying out.

 KitCam (shown here) is an iOS camera app that lets you shoot in a variety of formats, including 1:1. It provides a range of pre- and post-capture editing tools, lens effects, filters and darkroom-inspired image borders. The most unique aspect of the app, however, lies in its non-destructive behavior.
Every pre-exposure setting can be re-adjusted or even disabled post-capture. KitCam saves the unedited original which you can access at any time. This even applies to the capture format, meaning that should you shoot in a 1:1 ratio you can later go back and re-work the file at the native 4:3 ratio. This also gives you the ability to slightly re-work your crop position without scaling up the image.

This decision to shoot in square format immediately changed my outlook on the iPhone as a photographic tool. Yes, I added another limitation on a device that already has its share of them. But this limitation was a creative one. One that challenged me to alter the way I see the world around me. And isn't that what attracted most of us to photography in the first place?

With the iPhone I also wanted to shoot a lot of black and white, something I've enjoyed doing ever since I first picked up a camera. Hipstamatic is a popular square format shooting app with particularly useful options for black and white photographers. The app offers literally dozens of "film" and "lens" combinations that emulate, with varying degrees of success, emulsions and darkroom processes of old. You could spend months exploring all the different options, but I quickly settled on the ones you see below, for much of my black and white work.

Maui, 2013. iPhone 5, Hipstamatic John S lens and BlacKeys B+W film.
Rajiv, 2013. iPhone 5, Hipstamatic Kaimal Mark II lens and BlacKeys B+W film.
Seattle, 2013. iPhone 5, Hipstamatic John S lens and BlacKeys SuperGrain film.
Seattle, 2013. iPhone 5, Hipstamatic Kaimal Mark II lens and BlacKeys SuperGrain film.

Comments

Total comments: 90
sinarsnob
By sinarsnob (May 14, 2013)

oh...and you have to buy and ap to shoot 'square'...? cant you just mask off the viewfinder like everyone was forced to do 50 years ago...LOL. i kid but it is funny how photography has changed with all the new tech.

0 upvotes
sinarsnob
By sinarsnob (May 14, 2013)

Amadou - i love cameras. i have several hundred. i love taking old cheap unloved cameras out and trying to get good images but nothing compares to a high quality medium or large format film camera. go get a old 4x5 chrome and throw it on your light table and gaze at its beauty. better still get a 8x10 chrome...!

i love all kinds of photography and digital does have its perks but nothing will ever be like it was back in 1970 with hundreds of kinds of film to choose from....film was special and we have lost something with its passing.

your images in the article are beautiful. the composition is beautiful...but the one thing i cant stand is your images are 'trapped' in a computer. you cant print anything close to 'large'. i see images at event and they are so 'fuzzy'. no one today sees how out of focus or rather lack of resolution is in all of the 'internet' images.

with film there was a play between sharpness and out of focus mystery. that is gone with digital today...

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
meachamrob
By meachamrob (May 13, 2013)

To the author, Amadou Diallo. Your article is being stolen by many if you search the title on Google you may see. You might look into some blog copyright tracking. ~catalystwebdesigns

0 upvotes
dralph
By dralph (Mar 19, 2013)

Amadou, your article struck a chord with me. Yes, D800e is on my wish list (and, I expect to use it as a large view camera, ala Ansel), and so I bought the app for an iPhone 5 recently acquired. My one disappoint in Kitcam is the apparent inability to access the iPhone's own HDR function. Multiple exposure in Kitcam and the other exposure options do not seem up to the HDR ability built in the iPhone 5 camera function. Shooting mainly available light, the iPhone HDR improves things immensely. I have had Snapseed, and local edits for brightness etc. can save many a smart phone shot. Speaking of Snapseed, I see that Google has discontinued the desktop version of Snapseed. My fear there is that the other NIK filters that I use in Photoshop will get similarly dumped by the wayside by Google since NIK filters are definitely not for the masses. Great article. Small cameras seem to be the future as sensors keep improving.

0 upvotes
Stefan Totev
By Stefan Totev (Mar 21, 2013)

Currently (and at least from year and a half), the best HDR app for iPhone is Pro HDR. Give it a try.

Kit Kam is one very nice and multi purpose app. I use it around 40% of the time, and the stock camera app - 60% (because of the faster open and panorama). It is relatively new and the developers are open to feedback and suggestions. It will become the really all in one camera app if they add or improve the following:

1) HDR mode - better stitching algorithm is much needed! Some optional basic "tonemapping" controls will be appreciated as well.
2) Panorama mode - this is a must. It would be great if they implement the same Apple panorama, however I think that this won't be possible due to copyright. The devs should say if this would be possible.
3) Some fixes regarding the rotation of the menus and most of all - the pictures roll. I wrote to the support and still it hasn't been fixed. If you shoot in 1x1 ratio, it is not your concern, but most of us shoot in 3x2 / 4/3..

0 upvotes
Lilianna
By Lilianna (Mar 18, 2013)

Love this article and the images!
Of course loving square format (left over from my film days) helps ;)
seriously love the well seen imagery.
I too love the freedom that these devices bring.

2 upvotes
harry cannoli
By harry cannoli (Mar 18, 2013)

An aspiring young model, and wanna be actor, approached me do do a few shots. What was missing from his portfolio were 3/4 headshots and full-body shots.

We met on Saturday and got right to it, I took a small kit with me. 24-70 f.2.8 on a 7D, along with a 580EX II on a bracket that lifted it high above the lens. I also took my external battery pack.

And here's the thing...

I could have shot this with my little Lumix LX7. My client wanted 8 X 10's. The LX7 could have easily provided the 8 X 10's he desired. Lighting was uncomplicated. There was bright sun out, we found areas in the shade with soft, diffused light. The flash was only used for shadow fill, I had it dialed way down.

So why the DSLR kit? Because I didn't want my client to be terrified when I broke out a small compact. That was the only reason.

It would be great if I was such a wonderful photographer (with a reputation to match) that shooting with a compact would have been a non-issue,

A camera phone? Not so much.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
showmeyourpics
By showmeyourpics (Mar 18, 2013)

Let me try a different approach about this. During my years as a quality manager, I thoroughly researched the matching of man, technology and capital in business. Briefly, technology is not self-determinant but it establishes clear boundaries about what can be done. Man is self-determinant (and creative) but must act within the boundaries of the available technology and budget. In conclusion, it is still the photographer who takes the pictures but it is the available technology that establishes how far his/her creativity can go. Hence, the first self-determinant action you have to make as a photographer is to decide where the point of convergence lies between your creative needs and the kind of camera system you want and can afford to buy. Can't help thinking that Ansel Adams would be fascinated by smart phones though ...

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Mar 18, 2013)

A wonderful article. For me, what I enjoy most about shooting with a mobile camera (for me an iPhone 4S), is the mix of very good image quality, instant feedback on a gorgeous screen and perhaps most of all, the set of limitations, whether it be the prime lens or shooting black and white with an app. You are almost forced to be creative as you compose your photos, having no great lens features to fall back on. Then, the almost infinite variety of post-processing at your fingertips gives more creative possibilities. One testament to all of this is that I can clearly remember taking all my mobile photos, whilst on system cameras, I end up taking so many of the same scene there's no one 'photo' to remember.

It makes a great companion to a more capable camera, but it is true that shooting with one is a unique experience. The slowness and beautiful 'viewfinder' give it some of the advantages of a view camera, whilst the instant posting (and feedback) bring something of a Polaroid to the experience. It has moved from being an 'emergency back-up camera' to something much more for me.

0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (Mar 17, 2013)

Great composition...

0 upvotes
stoneage
By stoneage (Mar 16, 2013)

If you can get an Oscar for a movie filmed (partly) with an iPhone it might have its place even among the "snobs".

0 upvotes
EugeneS
By EugeneS (Mar 15, 2013)

Good inspiring article! Thanks a lot!

0 upvotes
showmeyourpics
By showmeyourpics (Mar 15, 2013)

This article touches on some key photographic principles. There is an infinite number of great pictures out there waiting to be taken with any kind of equipment. The best camera is the one you have with you (the more portable the better). Many amateurs use compacts in full Auto and are little affected by the limitations of a smart phone. Pros can shoot beautiful photos with anything. A break with a small, simple camera can be liberating and fun. Mr. Diallo quickly realized and accepted the shortcomings of the phone, and set out to get the best possible pics within these limits. This would not work for me. When I see an image that I want to capture, I expect my camera to help me do it. I am willing to sacrifice features for portability only to a certain extent. My go-everywhere Canon G12 is as far as I am willing to go. It fits in my jacket with a spare battery and memory card and lets me make high quality prints up to 16x24” shooting in Raw up to ISO400 within a 28-140mm zoom range.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

Not everybody lives where a jacket is convenient. Where I live 9 months of the year shorts and T-Shirts are too hot!

0 upvotes
showmeyourpics
By showmeyourpics (Mar 17, 2013)

Ouch! Selfish of me, I did not think about that! But not to worry: the G12 fits nicely in a small pouch with your wallet, phone, car keys, sunglasses etc. If you are allergic to small pouches, there is even room for a (small) box of antihistamines.

0 upvotes
showmeyourpics
By showmeyourpics (Mar 18, 2013)

Sorry about my naughty reply. Seriously, I have 2 things to say. Firstly, If you have to deal with extreme weather (I've had, from -35dF blizzards in the Alps to 122dF in the Sahara and the mists at the foot of Niagara Falls), you have much harder challenges to face than choosing between a compact and a smart phone. Secondly, you can fit the G12 wherever you carry your wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses etc. (something like my Summer small pouch). As I already stated, portability is moot if the camera cannot do what you expect it to do.

0 upvotes
La5Rocks
By La5Rocks (Mar 15, 2013)

Nicely written article, and I agree wholeheartedly that we photographers need to be less about the tool and more about the photo.

However, I see value in the opposite of many of your points:
1. I love zoom for candids and great bokeh. I'm curious to get my hands on an 808 to see how that does, but for now the big lens wins.
2. Great photos with minimal processing. I'm not a big fan of vignetting, frames, and filters. I like my photos to be striking on their own, and without the filters phone photos have a hard time making the cut.
3. I actually value the pause between taking the picture and publishing it. That gives me time to weed out the chaff and get to the real gems.
4. You're a good photographer, and could get great photos from pretty much any camera, but that doesn't mean the camera itself is great :)
5. External bounce flash. I'm surprised noone's come up with a bluetooth-triggered version or something!

I take plenty of phone photos, but consistently love my DSLR ones better.

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 15, 2013)

While I'm a big fan of prime lenses on any camera, I'm with you on the lack of Bokeh. The extreme depth of field of tiny sensors (not just smartphones, BTW) was one of the biggest adjustments for me personally.

As for editing, yes the phone apps do sometimes feel a bit like a shopping spree in a candy store. But I'd actually argue that the Web has changed people's editing habits in general. Subtle moves that can be sumptuous in fine prints are often lost when viewed on a monitor, particular a non-calibrated one.

And yes, there are plenty of images where I relish hours spent going back and forth over different interpretations. I'd never want to lose that. But sometimes it's also nice to make a quick decision (doesn't have to be right after the moment of capture), stick with it and then get immediate feedback.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

@ La5Rocks
You wrote:
1) "I love zoom for ... great bokeh." This has absolutely not be my experience.. Every single zoom I touched had best case a so so and worst case a super nervous bokeh. And even many primes are no good in terms of bokeh and only a selected few deliver. If you know a zoom with great bokeh, could you share which one. I love bokeh, I love zooms for convenience, if I could get both I would be so happy.

Bluetooth triggered bounced flash for mobile phones.
I love the idea. I do not know of hand if bluetooth communication could be used to trigger an even < 5 ms ( 1/200 seconds ), but it might. How many people would actually buy such unit ? Say it is the size of the iPhone. Say it is quite powerful, ( guide +50) but you need to hold it with one hand while you hold the iphone with the other. Say we would make this available for < 49 USD? Would there be any interest ? In case you think you would want it, post it here, if there are enough people we will build it.

0 upvotes
unbelievable
By unbelievable (Mar 15, 2013)

What a true joy to read this article with fascinating photo's, thanks!

( I like using the 1:1 format on the XZ1 as well. Gives a certain touch to the photo.)

2 upvotes
PatMann
By PatMann (Mar 15, 2013)

The camera phone does just fine with simple form, color, pattern and texture images in which some of the qualities like dynamic range, resolution, vignetting, etc. that occupy most of the tech reviews are pretty much irrelevant. The technology enforces a discipline on the work that can sometimes be liberating, like forcing yourself to shoot with just one prime lens for a while.

You illustrate through your work that very compelling images can be made with this reduction to the basics, further limited by square format and black-and-white, and the resulting images are particularly well suited to the bright illumination and modest resolution of a computer screen. Chase Jarvis is another photographer with a great iPhone album set. Nice work - and thanks.

0 upvotes
jimjim2111
By jimjim2111 (Mar 15, 2013)

Does the square format only use 3/4 of the sensor?

0 upvotes
E Dinkla
By E Dinkla (Mar 15, 2013)

Looks like that considering the light fall off in the samples. And that 3:3 format is not from the center or the shown asymmetric light fall off is another creative filter used. The best part of the article is the praised square format, there is market niche for a high end digital camera with a square format. Preferably based on M4/3 technology but with a 20x20 mm sensor with a choice of aspect ratios including square.

Ernst

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 15, 2013)

How the camera derives its 1:1 crop can be app-dependent. With KitCam, for example, the app always captures the full 4:3 frame. When you've selected 1:1 before shooting, the app simply shows you a centered crop. Nice thing is you can access the uncropped version as well.

0 upvotes
papillon_65
By papillon_65 (Mar 15, 2013)

It's funny reading these comments, I've never yet met anyone who could tell me the exact camera which took a given photo, nor do non-photographers actually care what took the photo, only photographers seem to worry about that.
I can tell you for sure that I can take photo's with my Nokia 808, and with 2 mins processing you would be swearing they were taken with a DSLR, in fact it will beat plenty of DSLR/lens combinations in terms of resolution. So for all you angst ridden camera snobs out there, camera phones are here to stay, get over it, they're just another tool in the bag/pocket. No camera I've ever used made me a better or worse photographer, that's down to me.

2 upvotes
TWIZEEL
By TWIZEEL (Mar 15, 2013)

actually I like iPhone camera, time to time I do the shots, even for publication (for real estate). Video comes quite good as well. Have a look on my short fish fest cut I made by Iphone 4s:
http://youtu.be/4_S5yHvniR0

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (Mar 16, 2013)

When the camera is static for a moment you can see the detail is very good. The colours are very nice as well. Colour is one of the iPhones strong points

0 upvotes
TWIZEEL
By TWIZEEL (Mar 15, 2013)

I know why they all looked the same. 'Cause most of Instagram-like software not really for creativity. Those just computer game "lets get creativity". The few buttons to push, until you make it "like a masterpiece". And like in all those computer games you not really a warrior or an astronaut, you (your pictures) "looks like", not more.

0 upvotes
Gary Martin
By Gary Martin (Mar 15, 2013)

I've seen a lot of good work produced by smartphones, especially journalistic. Unfortunately, even the best work lacks any unique style, like they were all shot by the same photographer. I suspect that it's the heavy processing which defines the "look" of your typical Instagram pic. Take away all that processing, and much of that work would look like average snapshots taken by a mediocre point-and-shoot.

1 upvote
Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (Mar 15, 2013)

I have the same feeling expressed by others: in this 'subtle', devient, fiendish way, this article suggests the iPhone is the only portable device that allows to take decent pictures - which is clearly untrue.

In your article all words with possitive connotation are about the iPhone, while all words with negative connotation (eg 'lacked'; 'high light clipping' etc) are in the paragraphs about smartphones.

Funny how you don't realise that in the long rung your biased apprauch undermines the credibility of the author AND of Connect and dpreview...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
unbelievable
By unbelievable (Mar 15, 2013)

Mmh, an individual apparently reads what an individual wishes to read.

( No I don't have an iPhone and will never have one either )

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 15, 2013)

@Ivan, you're reading far too much into the distinction I've made between using "iPhone" and "smartphone". And also neglecting the fact that the device that was the impetus for the article was an HTC One X.
The specific process I describe in the article refers to the iPhone because that's what I bought. For general observations about smartphones I used the term..."smartphone".

4 upvotes
Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (Mar 16, 2013)

Hey, at least you're a real person, making an effort to reply.

@unbelievable
Being a language teacher myself, I'm kind of sensitive to usage of words. As a matter of fact, I ran your writing through a 'keyword density tool'. Here are the results (based on the analysis of page 1 and 2 of the article):
iPhone: 97 times
smartphone: 16 times
Android: 8 times
These are FACTS, not wishes are whatever. If I were a cynic, I could add that Connect is getting paid by Apple to produce these articles. But I'm not...

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 16, 2013)

Looks like your "keyword density tool" included the reader comments for both pages of the article. Nice.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Brian Oliver
By Brian Oliver (Mar 17, 2013)

Ivan,

I agree. His assignment was to review smartphone photography using the HTC One X, not the iPhone 5. Although he indicated that he picked the iPhone because of its large choice of camera apps, the not so subtle impression is that the iPhone camera is better than the HTC One X, or any other smartphone for that matter - an opinion I certainly don't agree with.

0 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Mar 18, 2013)

maybe its because u cannot find hipstamatic in other smart phones? i use the ipod 5th gen for the same reason....

0 upvotes
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (Apr 29, 2013)

YOUR a teacher? Oh no - do you teach grade one adolescent paranoia? He clearly states why he chose an iPhone and proceeds to write an excellent article based on his experience with that device. He takes the time to give a thoughtful well written and imaged article and you read conspiracy bias and lack of credibility. Let's not pretend you have anything of value to contribute. It's you who lack originality - credibility or generosity.

0 upvotes
communicat
By communicat (Mar 15, 2013)

These are the best set of images I've seen produced by DP Review. Perhaps there is a logical reason for them - but so many of the review images tend to be completly pedestrian. But suddenly here is some worthwhile work and it's not coming from a camera. Seems to be a case of less camera, more art.

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 15, 2013)

Thanks for the kind words. Keep in mind though that when we shoot review samples, we don't crop or make any edits at all to JPEGs. The aim there is to show what the camera can do, rather than what we as photographers can do in post.
In opinion pieces like this one, we present images indicative of what we'd actually share as examples of our photographic (as opposed to evaluative) work.
Hope that clarifies a bit.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

@ Amadou Diallo,
Shooting review samples should become a well practiced habit. It would even be helpful if with different cameras shooting the same subject in the same conditions such as lighting, framing, aperture, exposure, ISO, etc. are taken. So with each shot critique could be listened to and thus the next session could improve the composition, framing, aperture, .... Over time a good portfolio of standard shots cold be worked out. That would be meaningful and could combine fluid work for getting the reference shots done with delivering meaningful art, all the same time. Dpreview's sample galleries indeed look pedestrian most of time and leaves the taste of people who know how to test bits and bytes of cameras but do not know how to take a descent ( let alone great ) picture. This is in stark contrast to complaints of the same people that some cameras appear to be designed by non photographers. I really believe there is lots and lots of room for improvement here!

0 upvotes
Sam Carriere
By Sam Carriere (Mar 15, 2013)

That camera phones can take pretty pictures is undeniable; that does not make them cameras. This site's treatment of them as such has virtually ruined its credibility as a resource for serious photographers.
I would place cell phones right up there with nuclear weapons and landmines as among the most evil inventions of the 20th century. They have destroyed effective communication between individuals (texting and tweeting are anything but effective communication) and destroyed common good manners among people.

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 15, 2013)

Just remember, it's the people who abuse them, not the object. I agree this is what has happened, but I don't blame the phone, just as I wouldn't blame fire for arson.

C

0 upvotes
trekkeruss
By trekkeruss (Mar 15, 2013)

Spoken like a true snob. LOL.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Mar 15, 2013)

Wow. You want to walk up to a child in Angola who's lost his leg (or maybe his best friend) to a landmine and say to him "hey kid, could be worse - you could have to use a cell phone!"

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

@ Sam
That camera phones can take pictures make them cameras. By definition. That you can take great pictures ( beyond pretty ) with them has been proven many times over, including by samples in this Article. Thus they become cameras worth of discussion, which is happening here. If you can not see that makes some people question if you are a photographer ?

1 upvote
Serenity Now
By Serenity Now (Apr 29, 2013)

Grow up

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Mar 15, 2013)

I figure the proliferation of cellphones hasn't improved the human condition one iota. As for using one in lieu of a real camera, just do it to the tune of "Lazy" by Deep Purple.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Mar 15, 2013)

You figure wrong, I find my cellphone kinda useful. As for commenting on articles in which you have no interest, just do it to the tune of "Hush" by Deep Purple.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

@ RichRMA
I love your thinking to relate cellphone cameras to the human condition. So I did follow your lead:
1) More people shoot pictures than ever before due to cellphone cameras. That means more people learn to see than ever before. That helps improving the human condition!
2) People apart stay in closer contact due to cellphone cameras. Again helping the human condition!

0 upvotes
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 15, 2013)

I don't even own a cell phone, or use one. Drives my wife and family and friends nuts. :) That may change in the future but it is what it is. I see way too much abuse with cell phones in so many areas of life I can't stomach getting one as long as I have a land line next to me all day long.

C

0 upvotes
peterstuckings
By peterstuckings (Mar 15, 2013)

When I can dial in a shutter speed or aperture value or ISO in an instant without having to look at the screen, & when the world decides after almost 200 years of highly dedicated camera technology refinement they only want lo-fi image results, I'm gonna get into mobile photography. Shouldn't be long now ;-)

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Mar 14, 2013)

So, well, this was another I-phone advertisement. Horrible vignetting done again, to try to make the photos 'interesting', oh well what ahipsta.

2 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Mar 14, 2013)

So risky to exploit a feature that Samsung and Nokia have better technology, the camera.

Oh well.

2 upvotes
sportyaccordy
By sportyaccordy (Mar 14, 2013)

When o when o when will a manufacturer get its head out of its butt and combine a proper cell phone with a proper P&S camera? Can you imagine something with a 1/1.3" sensor + zoom + Android Jelly Bean that you could make calls with? I have money locked away for when this device hits the market.

I like my Sony NEX, but like dude said, a camera is no good if it's not on you.

1 upvote
smallcams
By smallcams (Mar 14, 2013)

I've been very pleased with my Hipstamatic and Snapseed images printed as 8x8s and 8x10s, but I agree with you. It would be something to combine my Sony RX100 and iPhone as one.

2 upvotes
luigibozi
By luigibozi (Mar 15, 2013)

RX100 is wonderful, but it would be extremely wonderful having the interface rotating from landscape to portrait and back, like an iPad :-(

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Mar 14, 2013)

Recently I have been reading articles like this, and having gotten my first iPhone for Christmas, decided that on my next vacation I would work with it, alongside with my Fuji XE-1. I like the author's choice of cameras.

Since my return from that trip I started posting a series of images from the iPhone on 500px with an explanation of why I would do such a thing on that site. Reading this article made me happy that I had done this and now I may look to post elsewhere as well. Anything that makes me shoot more is a good thing.

The question skeptics should answer is this: If the exact same images the author posted were shot with a "real" camera, (pick your favorite), would they be more creative or better composed than what we see here? What is your definition of a photograph?

I also agree with the author liking the square format. It changes your perception. Very good article. I'll be forwarding it to my iPhone friends and buying some new apps.

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 14, 2013)

Why are we still seeing "connect" content in the main RSS feed?

Can we just get a different feed without it?

(p.s. No, given the content of the article, the irony is not lost on me. However, there's a difference between choice and having something rammed down your throat. Of course, there's always a choice, and the only one left may be to delete the feed from my browser.)

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 14, 2013)

@ micahmedia
You can look at this Article as you did. You also could look at this Article as lovely writing about photography. It would apply all the same to DSLR. Tape black PVC tape to your DSLR LCD and you can turn it into a 1:1 aspect ratio camera. Add the appropriate filter while ingesting in Lightroom and voila, all your images squared. You may choose not to do so, but yet still could pick up the idea to limit yourself creatively to free your creativity. And possibly by design make your work more consistent, easier to create a portfolio. It is about a way of thinking on how to approach your photography which is really independent of what type of camera you use. Please do not take this negatively, chances are that your photography will never be great unless you start thinking on this level.

@ dpreview
Given the seemingly unstoppable rambling of the other audience I actually also would appreciate two separate feeds. And if only to increase the signal to noise ratio in comments.

2 upvotes
Lars Rehm
By Lars Rehm (Mar 14, 2013)

you can filter your content where it says "Filter News" just above the news stream. Then select advance mode to pick the topics you want to see.

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 16, 2013)

@HubertChen
I'm not a format snob by any means--I've taken pictures with a pinhole camera made of a green bell pepper for craps sake--but I already know all I want to about camera phones. Developments elsewhere are more interesting to me.

@Lars Rehm
Thank you for someone finally responding! However, I don't see what you're talking about on http://www.dpreview.com/feeds

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 20, 2013)

Lars? Hello? As I said above, I don't see the option you're talking about at the link above. Or are you referring to a browser option? I'm viewing the feed as a live bookmark in Firefox.

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 14, 2013)

I is becoming my new ritual. If I like the writing to scroll up to check if it is from Amadou. Lovely read. Thank you!

3 upvotes
alatchin
By alatchin (Mar 14, 2013)

Great writing Amadou, and an interesting article I really enjoyed reading. While relatively young (33) I dont really use too much social media sharing, and therefore my phone cam rately gets used (I dont own any apps)... Maybe I will get snapseed as a lot of your images were very attractive!

1 upvote
GURL
By GURL (Mar 14, 2013)

This site and your job are devoted to comments on cameras and those comments are mostly devoted to "camera snobs" who tend to neglect the fact that taking a photo is only the first in a long series of actions: keeping it or deleting it, improving it using various available tools (or not), adjusting it for screen or print and finally showing it to different peoples in varying circumstances.

Rather than the way photos are taken, I always felt digital photography mostly changed the subsequent steps. Using a camera phone could and should made this more obvious than ever...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Mar 14, 2013)

I totally agree that digital changes the workflow after the fact, but instantly viewing not only the image you just took but also an RGB or luminance histogram also radically changes how pictures are taken.
I didn't spend a whole lot of time with film, but I'm glad I got as much time as I did. About five years of shooting with a manual Olympus OM2000 taught me things that some DSLR owners will never learn, and I still feel lazy sometimes with my current shooting technique. There have been many times when I think "why didn't I spend a little more time considering that shot before I took it" after the fact. Also with the ability to change ISO and use very high ISO there are many other variables to consider when taking the shot that one never had to think about with film (noise reduction setting, long exposure dark frame subtraction). Tons of other digital-unique settings, too.
Variables have been added before the shot is even taken and developing a negative/print starts in-camera.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 14, 2013)

@ howardroark
Here are some ideas for you which you may or may not find useful:
You always can shoot digital same workflow as film. You now have more choices. It does not mean you have to go through them all the time. So if you miss your OM2000 you can shoot with your current camera the same style still. Maybe if you do once you will realize that the convenience the DSLR provides might be more useful than you thought and that what you thought is laziness might be you having adapted to the digital workflow. Personally, I found it was sometimes faster for me to shoot, check, adapt and re-shoot than to pre-visualize. As long as you enjoy and practice photography you are certainly not lazy :-)

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Mar 14, 2013)

Some of it certainly is adaptation. Some of it certainly is laziness. If given a chance to be lazy, most humans will take it. Discipline can either be self-imposed or imposed by our environment. In the case of the Olympus it was forcing me to do things a certain way, although while it forced a certain amount of discipline it also limited possibilities.
Balance in all things. The super fast, very accurate AF of my 7D makes things possible. I also have to think about whether I would like to do an HDR shot with multiple exposures, what ISO to use, and a million other options made possible by digital capture.
That's all really great. Part of the art of digital photography is remembering what your settings need to be in certain situations. A world of possibilities opens up and gives you not only composition and lighting to consider but all the things that can be done at the point of capture and in post processing. I'm not saying that any of that is bad, but it is unique and complex.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 15, 2013)

@ howardroark
Thanks for your reply. What I tried to say was that in case you feel this complexity of choices is impacting your pictures in a bad way, you could make these choice once ( and for a fixed time, like a day, or a month) and then during this period no longer think about those choices but accept them as given to use your remaining time on other creative choices of the moment. Your writing left me with the impression that you are torn in some ways and I tried to give an idea on how you may find your personal focus. It is great that you are searching and I pray for you ( aka: wish you the best of luck ) that you find it!

0 upvotes
Jarvis Grant
By Jarvis Grant (Mar 14, 2013)

Here's my take on this very subject: http://jarvisgranteditions.com/blog/2012/08/mobile-photography-confessions-of-a-camera-snob/

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 14, 2013)

Nice read, Jarvis. I agree with your comparisons to earlier technology shifts in the photography medium and process.

0 upvotes
Jarvis Grant
By Jarvis Grant (Mar 16, 2013)

Thanks Amadou, much appreciated.

0 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (Mar 14, 2013)

There just needs to be a disclaimer on all iPhones: "Just because I can take pictures with this device doesn't mean I'm a photographer. Just because I can add "cool" effects to my snapshots I take with this device doesn't make me a "cool" photographer".

5 upvotes
cacv12000
By cacv12000 (Mar 14, 2013)

By your logic, all cameras should carry this disclaimer.
You seem very insecure.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
11 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 14, 2013)

"Just because I have a big camera bag doesn't mean my photos are good"

4 upvotes
CollBaxter
By CollBaxter (Mar 14, 2013)

To tkbsis

You are correct but you will have a better quality / more flexible not so good photos.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Mar 14, 2013)

I agree with cacv12000. Your disclaimer suggestion implies that all the wannabe tourists with expensive DSLRs around their necks, and no training in photography, do _not_ need that disclaimer. Which reveals a strong hater bias against the iPhone.

0 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (Mar 14, 2013)

Not in the least. My disclaimer has nothing to do about tourists with DSLRs. But great extrapolation, I like the way you think! That shows more about you than my disclaimer does about me.

0 upvotes
Townsie
By Townsie (Mar 14, 2013)

I'm a camera snob, I'll admit it. That's why I shoot mostly film.
On the other hand, I do enjoy shooting with the iPhone for the superior ergonomics. The ultimate point and shoot.

However, every article or argument on the merits of phone photography fails to mention that which I feel is the biggest drawback - all automatic controls.
You can't control shutter speed or aperture meaning you're cut off from those venues of artistic control.

What we sorely need, for the next generation of phone cameras is for Apple (or whatever the manufactorer of the phone is) to expose APIs for developers to build apps which allow setting manual controls.

The reason they don't do that, however, is that Apple is really good at designing the experience of its users, and the people watching over the shoulder. You'll never get a blurry, or overexposed shot, they simply wouldn't allow it.

0 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Mar 14, 2013)

"On the other hand, I do enjoy shooting with the iPhone for the superior ergonomics. The ultimate point and shoot."

What is superior ergonomics in a slippery brick? Ultimate P&S? Come on are you day-dreaming?

Mediocre sensor, sluggish performance, lack of manual controls need masking program to hide mediocre IQ. Printing is good up to 4x6 inches. Crazy and lousy accessories to make it look like a photographic tool.

9 upvotes
MichaelToyeImages
By MichaelToyeImages (Mar 14, 2013)

Better to get the shot than not, even if all you have is an iPhone.
I was with a bunch of underwater photographers on a dive where a whale shark turned up. $100K worth of DSLR equipment between the group and the only shot of the whale shark was from a compact camera and a non 'photographer'.

6 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 14, 2013)

Aperture control is of limited use when the DOF is always deep, but I do agree that having shutter speed control would be useful at times.

2 upvotes
amvj
By amvj (Mar 14, 2013)

Sometimes posts like these makes me think that DPReview (owned by Amazon) is teamup with Apple and trying too hard to sell iPhones.

Stop posting false phone photo crap praise.

See this
http://fstoppers.com/how-does-the-iphone-5-camera-compare-to-a-dslr

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 14, 2013)

@ amvij
Amazon is selling iPhone. They also sell Samsung Galaxy and many other Android Phones. This should void your reasoning. However, I do agree with you that dpreview is pushing iPhone out of proportion, I wish I would know their reasoning though?

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Mar 14, 2013)

The article is written from a single users' perspective. If I had bought an Android or Windows 8 phone, the piece would have been about that camera instead. And I wouldn't dispute that other smartphones have better cameras than the iPhone. As I wrote in the article, I made my choice based on app availability. Some of the ones I was most interested in using were iOS-only.

But the overall thrust of the piece applies to any recent smartphone.

2 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 14, 2013)

@Townsie
This might be another way to look at this topic: Increased speed = more practice in the same time. My wife started shooting with her phone ( even way worse than the iPhone ). Nevertheless, now she shoots more frequent then me and her photography is improving accordingly. That kept me thinking.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Mar 14, 2013)

I don't quite understand your comment because I have iPhone apps that allow manual exposure control, and I turn to them when the auto apps aren't cutting it. Some iPhone also provide separate focus lock and exposure lock, and manual white balance.

0 upvotes
james s. kennedy
By james s. kennedy (Mar 15, 2013)

I bought the IPhone 5 before Christmas specifically because it had the best camera. But, I always have with me a Canon ELPH 310, 320, or 330 which all are smaller than my IPhone. I live in a suburb of Seattle and enjoyed the photos. The hateful comments remind me of when I was stationed in segregated Dixie, surrounded by redneck Jesus freaks.

0 upvotes
cyrildelatorre
By cyrildelatorre (Mar 16, 2013)

Great post. Frankly all this back & forward arguments about the validity of mobile... i think the issue is or was quality, mushiness which i particularly don't like, but you can mask if you need to.

I've been shooting mobile since 2006, back then with a sony k800 (3.15 MP)... very mushy. No one knew or cared about mobile... now is such a controversy.

The tool or project forces you to be creative. Artists need & want limitations. Even if you shoot night portraits with a mobile there's a way around, ok is not a d800 quality... so what? fi you need quality shoot with phase one.

Perhaps the only thing hard to compromise with mobile is the dedicated camera button, otherwise pretty much anything will do.

0 upvotes
Timj351
By Timj351 (Mar 18, 2013)

I thought this was a great article and I feel sorry for those that seem to miss the point of it. A smartphone camera is simply another photgraphic tool. There is a whole other side to photography that isn't about camera specs. It's about capturing a moment in a creative way and easily sharing it with others while not having to think about F-stops or shutter speeds. The ease and simplicity of it is the point and also is what makes it fun and liberating for a lot of people. For some people using their smartphones is the only photography they do and for others it is in addition to their other gear and why should anyone have a problem with that? Your precious, hi-spec'd gear is not going anywhere so you don't need to feel threatened. You can choose to just ignore all this smartphone nonsense if you wish.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 90
About us
Sitemap
Connect