Tuesday, 9 April 2013

You can go with this, or you can go with that

Tree Panorama

Deeply ingrained habits of mine went through a change this past few months. I noticed it at first during our January holidays.
Arriving at Sydney, I took my SLR out to fire shots away. Along the way I stumbled unto occasions where I used my iPhone instead, just because it was already in my hand and much faster to deploy. And as time went by, I noticed that I was carrying the SLR in its bag along with me but never actually opening that bag; virtually all of my photography is now done with the iPhone.
I haven’t touched my SLR since January. By now I’m relying on my iPhone to deal with my photography needs. What used to be a crappy last resort camera on my iPhone 3GS had turned into a marvelous black swan in the shape of the new iPhone 5.
Is there a price to pay for the convenience of the iPhone? There sure is. A modern SLR can take a photo under virtually any condition, while the iPhone is limited under extreme light, relative darkness, or just heavy light and dark contrast. Then there is the matter of quality: a comparison of the Sydney Opera House photos I took using both contenders leaves no doubt as to who delivers best. There can also be no doubt as to which is the more versatile.
But still, I find the iPhone 5 camera to be the winner:
  • Its camera is good enough not to attract attention to the quality of its shots.
  • It doesn't break my back.
  • It is always there, in my pocket, two clicks away from taking a photo.
  • It can actually produce photos of superior quality than an SLR. Granted, under very specific conditions, but conditions I do encounter - such as very close range macro photography.
  • It allows for elaborate photography, such as panoramas, that takes ages to process from multiple shots on the SLR. Check the above image for proof that decent quality can be achieved: we actually had a version of this photo printed on a 100cm*50cm canvas, and it looks great.
  • It allows me to do most of my photo processing on the spot, using various applications including the likes of Adobe Photoshop. I'm thus saving hours of post processing time later.
  • Its photos are automatically transferred to my iCloud account the next time I visit a wifi. They're not only backed up, they're also waiting for processing on my Mac.
  • Its fixed wide angle lens forces me to move around in order to create a proper composition, instead of standing still and playing with the lens' zoom. Pathetic, I know, but I feel more active.
I will still use my SLR for those specialty shots or when quality matters more than anything. For the rest of the time, the vast majority of the time, the sheer spontaneity of the iPhone make it my default camera of choice.

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