Phone Cameras? Camera Phones?

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Rob Sheppard, one of my best friends, and I have been teaching together for 12-15 years. We first started teaching digital photography before the digital SLRs were affordable for most people. We used the compact digital cameras and Photoshop..

A lot has changed in that time. Lightroom, affordable digital SLRs, small form cameras with interchangeable lenses. I went the route of high end Nikon DSLRs, as I wanted the highest frame rate, best resolution, least noise and to be able to use my Nikon lenses. Rob went the direction of the smaller cameras. It was a personal choice on both of our parts.

Enter the smart phone (in my case the iPhone 5 at present), and so many images are now taken and shared, sometimes from the field. Dan Cox and I had a conversation about this recently (fabulous nature photographer and overall great guy, see his website), and he said that a camera store in his home town, Bozeman, MT, is printing 40% of their business from iPhones or other camera phones. We discussed the possibility that PHONES might become the camera of choice for most people and has the Photography Industry concerned.

So, along those lines, on a recent hike to Mt LeConte, even carrying my Nikon D800 and several lenses, I concentrated on housing my iPhone. I really enjoyed the flexibility of using the iPhone ( in my LifeProof waterproof case). I could into places that you can’t take regular phone easily.

Just a few images to show you what I did with my iPhone going up Rainbow Falls Trail and coming back Bullhead trail in the Great Smoky Mts NP.. All images on this page shot with iPhone 5 by Apple (Shameless plug)

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Oh, the biggest drawback is pre dawn. IPhone gave me black image and D800 gave me what I would expect. The camera phone won’t replace my regular camera for everything, but they are getting closer!

4 Responses to “Phone Cameras? Camera Phones?”

  1. Eric Bowles says:

    One of the big advantages of the iPhone the ability to work in a small space. The mushroom image above was impossible with a DSLR.

    Several of these subjects were “too much trouble” if you had to stop, take out a DSLR, set up a tripod, and compose. The iPhone frees you up to try some images creatively that you might not consider otherwise.

    The iPhone takes practice. Technique is still important. But wow – I have a much greater appreciation for using my phone to complement my DSLR.

  2. Alton Marsh says:

    I was able to get a photo of an airplane that could stand being blown up to 36 inches after I reduced noise. I also saw a photographer with a DSLR At the national zoo carrying a huge lens, tripod, and camera on his shoulder while I was photographing with a point and shoot. There was good activity with the animals but he made no attempt to put his camera on the tripod or even take it off his shoulder.

    • Bill Campbell says:

      So many people look at small cameras disdainfully and think that you are not a “real” photographer unless you are carrying a big camera and a big lens. Wrong.. It’s about the vision from the photographer.. Until we have cameras that have AI (Artificial Intelligence) that equals a human, cameras will continue to be a tool..

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