Another announcement that's possible this coming week is that there might be a medium-format Fuji on the way—something possibly similar to the Hasselblad X1D (which, as an aside, has suffered multiple shipping delays and isn't being delivered yet).
I hate to say this (I ain't lyin', I do), but my thinking about cameras has been changing a bit lately, and it's because of the iPhone. Previously what I always aspired to was to have one camera system that provides an optimum balance between quality and convenience, which to me right now means Micro 4/3 or APS-C ILCs.
But I've always been well aware that I like to use cameras as a "notepad," a way to "jot down" something I've seen that I want to remember or share. Social media is this impulse raised to a high level of efficiency. My 12-year-old niece uses photography as an integral part of her life—yet she isn't interested in "photography" per se in the old-fashioned way most of us would more easily recognize.
And, much as I've resisted it, I have to admit that I adore my iPhone 6+. It bugs me to admit it, but I've got to be honest—something like 30 to 40% of the best pictures I've taken since I got it were taken with it. By "best" I mean most pleasing or meaningful, and therefore most prized or valued. And I'm thinking about changing to an iPhone 7+ just for the camera. Not because I need to, just because I want to.
(With my plan, the hardware isn't a very significant part of the expense of the phone...
...Theoretically. I just got off an long and pretty impressively confusing conference call with Jasmine at Verizon and Kylia at Apple, trying to dredge up an actual number for this post, and we determined that we are unable to determine what it would cost for me to upgrade. We did learn that I'm not eligible for an upgrade till March in any case. So the bad news is that I don't know what it would cost but the good news is that I don't need to know.)
Much as I like the iPhone, the idea of being a smartphoner—using it exclusively, for everything—is a non-starter. Poor low light capability, limited controls, blown-out highlights à la c. 2007 or so, no interchangeable lenses, etc. They're good cameras, but they're not that good.
So since I'm using the phone as a "note-taking" camera now, it seems like it would make sense to have a bigger camera to differentiate more decisively from the iPhone.
This could also be TR (tortured rationalizing). Maybe I've just got a bout of the old itch to upgrade. You know how that goes.
But wouldn't it be nice to have a smartphone as one camera and a medium-format camera or high-megapixel FF camera as the other? Seems like that would cover all the bases in interesting ways.
More soon on this, probably—depending on what Fuji has waiting for us at Photokina.
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Featured Comments from:
marcin wuu: "This is exactly what I am doing and it works quite well—I am using a phone camera much in the way of your niece, for my social networking needs, and digital FF + film medium format combo for 'real' photography. Works pretty well, so long as you know the limitation of each of those. It's also worth noting that the 'real' cameras are getting more and more web-friendly. I can upload images directly from my camera to my Facebook page with some basic adjustments. It's nowhere near a smartphone in terms of workflow smoothness (quite the contrary actually, it's a big PITA), but it'll do in a pinch."
Geoff Wittig: "My thinking partly matches yours. I always carry an iPhone 6s, mostly as a small computer for medical apps. Photo note-taking is exactly how I use it as a camera. Its limitations are just too frustrating for anything else. 'The best camera is the one you have with you' and all that, but mostly that's not good enough. I suspect it partly reflects the way I see things; a quick gander at my favorite photos shows I shoot a lot between 70 and 150mm (35mm format) and considerably less at wider focal lengths. Cell phone cameras are pretty much all wide angle devices. My main photo toolkit since 2012 has been a full frame DSLR and a full complement of lenses in a large backpack with a solid tripod. I shoot mostly landscapes and often print large.
"If I'm going out intentionally to photograph, I want to do justice to the subject, and I'm willing to carry a heavy kit to do that. For me point 'n shoot cameras just seem to fall between two stools; not small enough to carry everywhere, but not good enough for serious work."
Moose (partial comment): "You might consider the possibility that the yearning for medium format or high-resolution FF may be rooted more in GAS than reality. Big gear with big numbers is definitely cool, but does it add any practical capabilities? One of my touchstones is the $19.95 print by Ctein that TOP sold in 2012 With a 15x20" image area (29x) from a 12-MP Olympus E-P1, the first Micro 4/3 camera. It's a pretty spectacular example of how much clear detail is actually available from a modestly sized sensor and a moderate number of MPs."
Mike replies: Good point. I guess most of why I think a big camera is an advantage is not resolution but the "malleability" of the files. But I hear you.