David Vestal used to warn people not to tell him things he was supposed to keep secret. He gave a reason for not signing non-disclosure agreements: "I'm in the disclosure business."
Even though I'm in the disclosure business and I tend to be confessional by nature (in other words: a blabbermouth) I have to be careful sometimes. There are things I've agreed not to say and things I shouldn't say. Occasionally I transgress. The issue makes me nervous, because I have a holy memory and poor filters.
So maybe I shouldn't say this, but here's why I don't like cellphone cameras: I don't sell 'em.
Neither "e-tailer" sells iPhones [UPDATE: see Speed's comment below]. Long and short: if everybody shot with a cellphone and nobody bought dedicated cameras and lenses any more, TOP would be history and Xander would have to pay for all my dinners. So yeah, we could do posts about iPhoneography and get all enthusiastic about it and create a lot of interest in it, but...why would we do that?
It's not like I never mention them. We even had a print sale of an iPhone picture (I still really love that piece, by the way. Gotta get mine framed). And we do post things like this from time to time. I'm not averse. I'm just not a fan. The trend to cellphone cameras and away from dedicated devices makes me nervous. I don't like it. But, I freely admit, for purely selfish reasons.
But maybe Xander will pay for all my dinners someday anyway: his latest video got 2,000 views overnight and drew 51 new subscribers, both of which are records for his YouTube channel The Best Hobbies Blog, which, by the way, is now also an actual blog.
And notice how much clearer the video quality is since he got his new Panasonic HC-V550K and he doesn't have to make videos with his dang phone any more. ;-)
So now you know why you won't find a lot of phone-cam boosterism around here. Maybe I shouldn't have said it out loud. But hey, I'm in the disclosure business.
(Thanks to the world's best son)
P.S. There's one more reason I don't like cellphone cameras, but it requires its own post. Someday.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Speed: Re 'neither sells iPhones': Amazon does sell iPhones."
Mike replies: Oh...okay...but TOP doesn't...isn't there some reason why people don't tend to buy iPhones from Amazon? I thought there was. (You can tell I'm out of my league on this topic...I was the last person I know to get a cell phone, and I still just use it to get driving directions and communicate with my son. Oh, and play Angry Birds. At least I know more about phones than I know about video. :-)
John Camp: "Amazon starts selling the most ballyhooed cell phone in years in the next few days. Like, tomorrow, maybe?
"You should give cell phone photography some coverage, but without worrying about it too much. I don't think you have to cover lenses, sensors, all of that, because they're not important. Cell phones will probably never make genuinely inflected photos—they're snapshot machines. If you're a hipster big on trends, of course, you can use a cell phone to do more serious photography, at least for now, before that trend fades. But, basically, using a cell phone for serious photography is like that Iowa farmer who drove his riding lawn mower several hundred miles to visit his brother. You can do it, but why, when there are better tools, and not all that expensive? (The Iowa farmer's better tool was his thumb—he could have hitchhiked.)
"So, cover cell phone photography as you'd cover snapshot photography. It's totally legit, and can produce some amazing photos, especially of news events. But there's another kind of photography, involving introspection and long-term study of the subject matter, for which there are simply better tools. You can cover that, too."
Mike replies: Another thing I probably shouldn't disclose is rank ignorance, but until I started searching around to try to figure out what you were talking about in that first paragraph, I had not even heard about Amazon's planned phone. That could cut both ways though. I might sell some phones, but then does that give every Amazon phone user a direct link to Amazon with no need to be steered by little affiliates like me? It's been a pretty harrowing ride for Amazon affiliates over the years, as you may know. Ken Rockwell packed up his family and moved across the country when Amazon temporarily cut off its California affiliates.
As I always say, something's gonna kill TOP, I just don't know what it's going to be yet. I just plan to ride this horse all the way to the inn and have a good ride along the way, that's all I can say.
Gunnar Marel: "I'm a film guy (case in point, I just finished mixing up a fresh batch of D-76) but last year the local photography museum contacted me and offered to host a small show of my pictures. Of course I was thrilled. But what did they want to exhibit? A selection of my Instagram (i.e. cell phone) photos (theme: abandoned shopping trolleys). As I've read somewhere: 'You know what they say: Oh well.' It opens next week if you happen to pass through Reykjavík, Iceland this summer."
atmtx: "Mike, your honesty is refreshing."
Mike replies: Honesty being refreshing reminds me of one of my favorite ads. A Washington, D.C. bank had decided to be up-front about all of its small charges and fees, and was running a campaign on the theme of "Honesty: Isn't It Refreshing?"
So in the ad, a fresh-faced young couple are standing at a kitchen counter, on which are spread stacks of plans and drawings. On the other side from them is a contractor, a rough-looking heavyset middle-aged man chewing on a cigar. Behind them all is a wall with a window in it.
The contractor says, "Oh, your new kitchen is gonna be beautiful. You're gonna love it. Now, the first thing we're gonna do [he gestures to the wall], we're gonna knock down this entire outside wall. Sure, that will open your house to the elements for a while, and anybody who wants to can waltz right in, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do when you're remodeling, you know what I mean?
"Then, me and my crew, we're gonna disappear for—oh, I don't know, four, five, six days. You're not going to know what the hell happened to us. Sure, you can call the office, but you'll just get the secretary and she won't tell you anything...."
The young couple exchange bewildered looks and the voiceover says, "Honesty—isn't it refreshing?"
No offense to any contractors in the audience!
Vachnie: "Given the monthly service fee, which in some instances is $200, some iPhone users will have paid enough in four years to have purchased the Leica APO lens."
Gato: "My only real gripe about my phone camera (cheap Android) is how slow and awkward it is to use. Otherwise it is perfectly fine for many kinds of photography—family memories (as you demonstrated), record photos, quick sharing of daily experiences, and even once in a while a print up on the wall. My last vacation I carried a small camera, a tablet, and a phone. I hope within another year or so I can do all that with one device. I'll still keep a more serious camera for the kind of pictures that demand the flexibility and technical quality, but it is also nice to have a phone included in the one compact device that is almost always with me."