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Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?

  
 
tkbslc
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


akashyap wrote:
Traveling & photography are 2 of my 3 favorite hobbies. I have started getting better phone pictures, but they just don't have the special sauce, regardless of how good the lighting and composition is. After losing myself in a new city, I love continuing to lose myself behind an EVF, and preferably with a manual focus lens. Traveling with my camera and lenses is a huge reason I slug it out on a corporate 9-5 that's not related to photography or creativity (well sort of), so the idea of leaving my camera at home is blasphemy.

Just my 2 cents.
...Show more

I often feel that a phone lets me blend in and just enjoy the city and take photos without being noticed. More and more, a “real” camera is very conspicuous. And it’s nothing to pack and carry.

I take the real camera for rural and driving trips.



Sep 17, 2022 at 09:57 AM
molson
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


johnvanr wrote:
iPhone pixels are not camera pixels: https://bythom.com/newsviews/start-saying-goodbye-to.html



Thom just wants you to keep buying Nikon cameras...



Sep 17, 2022 at 10:04 AM
darrellc
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


I’d consider something like the Ricoh GR III for stills to accompany an iPhone as a minimal solution if you’re OK with a 28 or 40mm equiv solution.

I always get excited about every new iPhone release with the sensor/lens and imaging pipeline processing advancements, but then when I start looking at the pictures on any screen larger than a iPhone (like my 12.9” iPad Pro even), the pics look horrible to my eye in anything approaching marginal conditions. And bokeh in portrait mode is super wonky at scale beyond the iPhone screen. This has been true through iPhone 13 family… I’ve yet to buy or download and look at iPhone 14 pics, but I’ve had the same cycle of excitement followed by profound disappointment since iPhone 4 or so.

My Ricoh GR III pics on the other hand, are superlative.

Now I always use my iPhone for video, it makes it easy to get great results which I often struggle to get with my A7RIV.



Sep 17, 2022 at 10:19 AM
Mister-Mr
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


Yes, yes I have. I would NOT purchase an Iphone or similar only for the camera.
However, I do get 'free' iphones whenever someone in my family upgrades..
Like just yesterday ..
.
Honestly, I am likely to never 'upgrade' to another mirrorless ( sony or otherwise ) and have way too much money tied up in the kit , which I expect will see less and less use as time marches on.

Kind of sad TBH...


virtualrain wrote:
I’m wondering now if I can do a lot of my travel photography with an iPhone and save packing my camera and trio of voightlander lenses around

Has anyone else considered this?






Sep 17, 2022 at 11:10 AM
AmbientMike
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


I'm just not that interested in phone photography. Although I've seen nice phone photos lately. If you want light the rebels + kit trinity are extremely light, and off 16-400 ff equivalent.

I doubt tele is as good, on phones, I'd definitely keep the 100-400 at least until you figure it out



Sep 17, 2022 at 11:28 AM
Dave Sanders
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


It seems that a thread like this follows every iPhone release.

Horses for courses.

The latest top smartphones have excellent cameras; the advances in computational photography have been impressive. My 'go everywhere' camera has been a phone since the Pixel 2 XL. If I want to get a snapshot, share a family event, taunt my friends with my (excellent) lunch, if I run into an old pal and want to send the moment to a long lost group of friends...camera phones - especially with the quality of portrait mode these days - are perfect.

The medium of consumption is what matters in these situations. I know people are going to be looking at the photos on their devices, most likely with HD or, tops, 4K screens, so seriously low resolution. Speaking of resolution...depending on how they're transmitted, they're going to be downsized, compressed, crushed, by whatever app I'm using to send or post.

So, yeah, a phone is perfect. The auto HDR mode? The snapshots look great on a phone. Ditto night mode, shots of the stars, etc. Incredible for involving friends in family in a view or an event you want to share, for connecting, for starting a conversation. For most of the people I connect with, a phone is, quite literally, the only device they will ever look at a photo on, unless it's printed and on a wall somewhere.

But let's be honest, the quality is awful. Zoom in and apply the same standards we use for image evaluation in these forums...looking at a phone image, even in the RAW formats, is like looking at a 10 year old DSLR. Likely worse..more like a 10 year old small sensor digicam. Details obscured by noise, smeared corners from awful lens performance, bad colour, terrible tonal transitions. It's not close.

So, ask yourself why you do photography. For me, I love the process. I like thinking of locations, I like packing my gear and getting out. I like checking the tide or looking at sunrise/sunset. I like looking at the light and using my experience to start thinking of the final image. I like setting up, being patient, calculating stops of exposure on my fingers, the internal dialogue as I debate a shutters speed or aperture; I like taking the exposure. I like downloading my photos, the anticipation before the image pops on my big screen. I like zooming in, pixel peeping, being amazed at what my camera and lens capture. With people, I like the connection I get, the smiles, the excitement they get from seeing a photo of themselves that wasn't taken by a phone.

I like looking for gear, researching, reading reviews, talking to people on forums like this and arguing about whether a certain lens is sharper, or has better colour or more pop. I like reading thoughtful opinions about things I hadn't thought of, or even that I disagree with. I like the shared passion.

So yeah, I don't get any of that from the photos I take with my phone. Don't get me wrong, my phone is an important tool in my arsenal now, an essential one, one that I use all the time...it feeds my need for connection. But not my need for the craft or the art of photography.



Sep 17, 2022 at 11:56 AM
Mister-Mr
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


Somewhat off topic, but I read and article yesterday that said audio CD's are making a comeback. And not too long ago, another article stated that audio cassettes ( aka compact cassettes originally ) also were now being sought after.. For quite a while now, audio CD's were presumed to be a dead medium - much like vinyl was when CD sales overtook vinyl. I found this comforting since I own a LOT of audio Cd's.

Point is, interests and 'coolness' do cycle and it's not necessarily due to any technical advantage.
So it's just possible that if/when phone stills and video reach their peak, the mirrorless camera market may also begin to rise and become increasingly desirable by gen X, Z etc..

I've probably peaked myself ( due to my age and my photo equipment needs ) and have no desire for an 'update', but will hang on rather than sell stuff since my grandkids may just become interested in something other than their cell cameras... You never know..
.



Sep 17, 2022 at 01:21 PM
wordfool
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


My experience with iPhones and Google Pixel phones (two brands with among the best cameras) is that they're fine for Insta-type images, but severely lacking for much else. Because physics. But, yes, a phone will always be with you so it's better than no camera at all. I tend to use my phone for snapshots on casual trips, around town, with family etc. and it's fine for that. Kinda a modern-day P&S with resulting 5x7 prints from the drugstore. I've never really been one to use my "big" camera for such casual snapshots, preferring to only schlep it around for specific photography projects.

Blow even well-exposed images up on a big screen and they tend to fall apart (detail, flare, CA, etc.) although maybe the very latest generation is slightly better (but I doubt it... because physics again). If you don't like very wide angle then you're SOL unless you pony up for the bigger, more expensive versions of the phones that might just get to to about 40mm equivalent (without digital zoom) if you're lucky.

TBH the ultra wide angle standard "lens" on most phones is the biggest issue for me because I just don't see the world that way. If you tend to like shooting at 20-24mm then you'll probably have a higher tolerance for phones than I do. I'm more of a 40-60mm world view person



Sep 17, 2022 at 01:40 PM
darrellc
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


Mister-Mr wrote:
Somewhat off topic, but I read and article yesterday that said audio CD's are making a comeback. And not too long ago, another article stated that audio cassettes ( aka compact cassettes originally ) also were now being sought after.. For quite a while now, audio CD's were presumed to be a dead medium - much like vinyl was when CD sales overtook vinyl. I found this comforting since I own a LOT of audio Cd's.

Point is, interests and 'coolness' do cycle and it's not necessarily due to any technical advantage.
So it's just possible that if/when phone stills and video
...Show more

I was at the house of a 22 year old today and watched her unwrap a CD. I was shocked, it looked like a CD but I was convinced it had to be something else until I saw the disc. She then showed me her CD collection, full of mostly 90’s music, some older. Her parents loved music and that’s what she grew up with, so a nostalgia thing.

Regarding photography, when the cycle kicks in, I suspect instead of a Canon 10D or Panasonic GF1 or Nikon D1, kids will be clamoring for and driving the price up of classic Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, and Sanyo phones, or most desirable of all for those who can master it, an early Sharp with Japanese UI. Everyone will want that 0.3 megapixel classic Nokia sensor look.



Sep 17, 2022 at 03:12 PM
mudlake
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


I’m the dad who has packed around my camera, lenses, AND tripod on every family vacation for 23 years. Still doing it even though all the kids but one are an adult and out of the house. Has it been worth it?

YES. I’ll gladly put up with some discomfort and inconvenience to take priceless images and preserve family history that will be worth their weight in gold 30 years from now. iPhone images are what I reluctantly take when there’s no time to get my camera out. They’re ok, but nothing like the quality of a good camera and lens.

It’s interesting to me that many choose to cut back on their quality images while on vacation. No judgment, just not how I think. Vacation images are where I want my best images. If an iPhone gets you want you want, great! But it’s not for me.

Edited on Sep 19, 2022 at 01:23 PM · View previous versions



Sep 17, 2022 at 03:41 PM
 


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philip_pj
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


Perhaps you answered your own question inadvertently with the first three words; it's an issue that has much more to do with reassessing 'your photography' - its place in your life, what you want from it, what you want to remember and look back on in 5-10 years time - than it does about just the equipment.

You only get out of things what you are prepared to put into them. How many phone images are among your top 100? Remember, your photography is silently documenting your very existence - where you went, what mattered to you, who you met. I'd like that to be very high quality, but it's very personal.



Sep 17, 2022 at 04:19 PM
virtualrain
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


mudlake wrote

It’s interesting to me that many choose to cut back on their quality images while on vacation. No judgment, just not how I think. Vacation images are where I want my best images. If an iPhone gets you want you want, great! But it’s not for me.


That’s exactly how I use to think. But then it occurred to me on this latest trip that my GF was getting better JPEGs to share with family back home or on Instagram (instantly)from her iPhone than my RIII was producing. I save a RAW to one card and a small JPEG to the other using that to preview… and the RIII JPEGs are really not that good.

In my case, I’m going to get a better image after I get home, load it on my MacBook, process it in Capture One, and then upload the full res output to Flickr. But will anyone look at it? Maybe a few family members will scan the album out of courtesy,… on their iPhone or iPad. I produce these images with amazing detail that get consumed on 4K screens… usually much less. It’s hard to justify packing all this gear and the long workflow process.

It reminds me when digital transformed photography… from dropping your film off at the processor, to having a digital photo instantly… except I feel like my workflow has regressed back to the days of Film because the JPEG output of my camera is not good.

It’s almost like the iPhone is to my Sony RIII workflow what my first digital camera was to film. When digital emerged, some of the benefits made it more compelling to switch from film despite the setback in quality. I’m starting to think I’m at a similar juncture again.



Sep 17, 2022 at 04:27 PM
Dave Sanders
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


virtualrain wrote:
That’s exactly how I use to think. But then it occurred to me on this latest trip that my GF was getting better JPEGs to share with family back home or on Instagram (instantly)from her iPhone than my RIII was producing. I save a RAW to one card and a small JPEG to the other using that to preview… and the RIII JPEGs are really not that good.

In my case, I’m going to get a better image after I get home, load it on my MacBook, process it in Capture One, and then upload the full res output to
...Show more

This is the opposite of my experience. When we take family vacations and share with family via various means, everyone can instantly tell when it's a photo from my Sony. I transfer JPEGS to my phone by touching it to my camera; I can share photos pretty instantaneously that way. My wife even has a joke where she gets me to text her the images, then she shares them and claims responsibility. No one buys it...



Sep 17, 2022 at 04:56 PM
mudlake
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?




virtualrain wrote:
That’s exactly how I use to think. But then it occurred to me on this latest trip that my GF was getting better JPEGs to share with family back home or on Instagram (instantly)from her iPhone than my RIII was producing. I save a RAW to one card and a small JPEG to the other using that to preview… and the RIII JPEGs are really not that good.

In my case, I’m going to get a better image after I get home, load it on my MacBook, process it in Capture One, and then upload the full res output to
...Show more

I actually like working on images in Lightroom and Photoshop when I get back from vacation. I never share images on social media when I’m on vacation because I don’t want to broadcast to everyone that I’m away from home. I’ll send iPhone pics to family or friends via text, but not many.

The whole process of looking at each image in Lightroom and then selecting only the very best to work on is very fun and relaxing. Seeing the fantastic A7R3 images on a 5k monitor is pleasurable. Only when I finish working on the best 20-30 images from a trip will I share with close family and friends. I used to post to Flickr, but no longer. I just text them.

I’m definitely getting older! However, I’m happy to carry some weight because it’s all part of the fun of searching for and capturing quality images. No iPhone can do that for me.



Sep 17, 2022 at 04:59 PM
Donzo98
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


virtualrain wrote:
That’s exactly how I use to think. But then it occurred to me on this latest trip that my GF was getting better JPEGs to share with family back home or on Instagram (instantly)from her iPhone than my RIII was producing. I save a RAW to one card and a small JPEG to the other using that to preview… and the RIII JPEGs are really not that good.

In my case, I’m going to get a better image after I get home, load it on my MacBook, process it in Capture One, and then upload the full res output to
...Show more

When I'm on vacay...

I edit every night while my wife is getting ready to go out for dinner. Grab a drink... and edit a few from the day on the laptop.

Totally relaxing...




Sep 17, 2022 at 05:43 PM
gocolts
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


For casual snaps in good light where the output is going to be social media, sure. But would I have tried to get good shots of our daughters cross country meet today with a phone vs. my A9? Nope...there's a reason a number of parents on the team ask me to get pics for them. And we're going to Universal Florida this upcoming week...sure casual snaps can be done with an iphone, but when the light gets low due to darkness or being inside, I'm glad I have my 24 GM, which fits fine in the small hiking backpack (with insert) that I already was planning to have with me, camera or not.


Sep 17, 2022 at 07:09 PM
AmbientMike
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


virtualrain wrote:
That’s exactly how I use to think. But then it occurred to me on this latest trip that my GF was getting better JPEGs to share with family back home or on Instagram (instantly)from her iPhone than my RIII was producing. I save a RAW to one card and a small JPEG to the other using that to preview… and the RIII JPEGs are really not that good.

In my case, I’m going to get a better image after I get home, load it on my MacBook, process it in Capture One, and then upload the full res output to
...Show more

Part of the reason I shoot Canon is the SOOC/jpeg output. Generally has really nice colors imo. That said your A7r3 probably has lots of adjustments to get the jpegs to look better. Used to shoot raw+ S on older body for fb. Not a big fan of pp especially on vacation

I already got robbed once while on vacation so as mentioned above I don't post although I doubt it was due to a post. Haven't posted to instagram much ever, mostly quit posting to fb due to copyright concerns. Not sure if Flickr is any better though



Sep 17, 2022 at 08:02 PM
virtualrain
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


I think the revelation to me is this...

When digital SLRs first appeared on the scene, they could not compete with the quality of film, but offered a number of advantages over their film counterparts. Many adopted these early digital platforms, despite the fact the quality was inferior. It actually took some time for the quality of digital to match the resolution and dynamic range of film but the benefits made this sacrifice worthwhile for many.

I feel like I'm at a similar point now with mirrorless vs camera phones. Of course camera phones can't complete with the quality of a dedicated mirrorless camera and lens, but they offer other advantages that make the sacrifice worth-while for some (or many).

Does anyone else see this transformation unfolding?



Sep 17, 2022 at 08:42 PM
tzhang4284
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


https://www.austinmann.com/trek/iphone-14-pro-camera-review-scotland

There's a downloadable DNG here from the iPhone 14 Pro that looks pretty good especially if you run it through Capture One and Topaz Sharpen. Will probably skip this years iPhone though and wait for the 15 Pro next year.



Sep 17, 2022 at 09:45 PM
Mister-Mr
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Re-evaluating my photography… can an iPhone work?


virtualrain wrote:

Does anyone else see this transformation unfolding?


In my very limited view, yes in some cases.

Once an innovation or solution is found that provides a quality 'telephoto' equivalent for a phone, then that may be the last straw for the traditional " glass/box/electronics " thing we now call a 'camera'..

I expect that would push me over to the phone for nearly all my ( non pro / casual ) shooting.

Right now digital zooming is not going to cut it, but if I were a betting guy, I'd expect that there are a bunch of engineers locked in a closet somewhere working on this very issue....



Edited on Sep 18, 2022 at 09:36 AM · View previous versions



Sep 18, 2022 at 06:03 AM
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