A few months back, I got roundly criticized in these environs for grumping about the iPhone camera. It was (correctly) pointed out that a) I was using a phone that wasn't up to date, b) I didn't know how to use it, and c) I hadn't given smartphone photography a chance.
Well, now I have, and here's my "camera review." I've been using the up-to-the-minute iPhone 6+ camera a lot. I'd say I've taken pictures with it every day since I got it. And I've had great fun with it. It's a very capable digital point-and-shoot; I like the wide lens; I've gotten lots of "nice enough" results (e.g. Winifred the Cat, above), and it's certainly highly convenient to be able to "communicate by image"—I've had great fun shooting pictures to friends. And pictures look great on the iPhone 6+ Retina screen.
It's practical, too—for example, when I wanted to remember where my car was parked in the airport parking lot in February, I just snapped a picture of the location including the sign. When you want to remember a phone number from a billboard, a picture is quick and easy. And so forth.
I can give good marks to the iPhone as a digital p/s. It's reasonably easy to hold and use, it starts to "get out of the way" adequately when you get used to it, and it's quite flexible.
'The wrong film'
But now that I've done my duty, I'm going to go back to my real camera. The problem is that photographing, for me, is like deep-sea fishing for sailfish—you can do it for years and never get a strike, or (as happened to me when I was a boy) you can get insanely lucky and get five "bites" in one day.
When you're fishing, and you get lucky and a fish takes your bait, you really need to be using the right tackle. Similarly, when I get lucky and the stars all align and I get a "real" picture I'm going to want to print—like that picture the other day of the Rockingham Meeting House—I really, really need to be using the right camera. I shudder to think how I would have felt if I'd encountered that scene with just the iPhone on me! It would have been just like, in the old days, having the wrong film in the camera.
Fortunately, I had my Fuji with me on that occasion. The file is typically Fuji-amazing: not only is there detail in the brilliant glare on the roof, there's also detail inside the many-mullioned windows of the Meeting House. I stand the best chance of being able to make a good print when I have the file I want from the sensor I prefer and I'm using the lens I want.
So I'm retiring as an iPhoneographer. The temperature just crossed the 60°F mark here in Upstate New York, which I understand makes this the first warm day of 2015 here, and I'm going out for a walk with my pet X-trans sensor and XF lens.
But I have zero quarrel with anyone who enjoys smartphoneography—no problem at all. I've had great fun with all kinds of cameras, including toy cameras, antique cameras, a very early Canon Xapshot "still video" camera c. 1988, point-and-shoots—and now, a phone-cam.
Photography is first and foremost fun, and iPhoneography is photography. Ergo....
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Featured Comments from:
Mark Kinsman (partial comment): "Cat pictures and iPhones, kinda sums it all up, in a way."
Mike replies: Ya saw what I did there. :-)
Stephen Scharf: "The dynamic range of my Fuji X-cams (shooting mainly with the wonderful X100T of late) continues to amaze me on an almost daily basis."
Mike replies: It's really just such a blessing, for B&W especially. I earnestly wanted the D800 to "give me black-and-white back," but as much as I yearned for it to be the case, it just wasn't, quite. It was left for Fuji to actually give me the gift I sought. I'm going to write an ad for those people one day soon, I swear.
Steve Sobs: "Poor Winifred's burned face. Apple, where's the tone curve control? Raw mode? Your solution to the highlights problem is limited to HDR - not exactly different thinking. While I'm griping, how about a way to set the default camera app for the lock screen, so I can quickly get to something more thoughtful like Camera+ or 645 Pro."