The camera at hand

It is very easy in photography to get extremely wrapped up in the gear that we use. The companies that sell are always making the implications that if we bought better gear we would miraculously take better photographs. The reality is that this is mostly rubbish.

As Ansel Adams stated

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!” 

There is an expression that the best camera you have is the one that you have with you. I am not sure who that is actually attributed to. Over recent years that camera has tended to be the one connected to your phone rather than being a dedicated one. In fact Nokia became the world’s largest suppliers of cameras a number of years ago and long before the smartphone came into being.

Now I have been somewhat sceptical of cellphone photography, thinking that they were really only good for selfies and drunken group shots. Even so I did use my old cellphone on a number of occasions with my Photo A Day project last year. The photos were ok but nothing compared to what my SLR could produce, and as the phone aged there was a definite issue with keeping the lens clean.

I was blown away when I saw the detail that was in this image.
I was blown away when I saw the detail that was in this image.

About a month ago I was lucky to be given a new iphone 5s and after I used it’s camera for the first time I was blown away with the quality of the image that it produced. I was so impressed that my photo a days since 31 October have been taken using it (with the exception of the two days of the Central Regional Conference.

No it is extremely unlikely that I would use the phone as a replacement for my SLR’s in a a serious shoot for three reasons:

  1. The phone can only shoot in JPG format and I do like the additional control that I have shooting in RAW.
  2. I like to have the option of controlling aperture and having lens that let me get closer or further from the action without having to physically move.
  3. It is not professional looking enough.
Using a phone does make shooting in a crowded restaurant a lot easy.
Using a phone does make shooting in a crowded restaurant a lot easy.

On the third point I know that there are professional photographers such as Richard Woods ( who have shot weddings using them, but those were very much “proof of concept” ideas rather than a serious attempt at a switch in technology.

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