You're never more miserable than when you have a bad cold. You're suffering, you feel awful, it hurts to cough, it hurts to sneeze, you have a fever, you feel like you're head's going to explode, you're just miserable—and yet you know you're going to be okay, so inherently you're just being a great big baby. It's always an awkward juxtaposition.
So I was pulling out of the doctor's office today (acute bronchitis, and yes, I'm being a baby about it), and saw this across the road, and snapped a picture of it with my phone. Four pictures, actually. One (this one) is a little sharper than the others but none of them are sharp. The file's blown out and hard to correct. Doesn't really capture the subtlety of the light or the colors. Looks okay as an online JPEG, but it would have been a lot better if I'd had the Sony A7III along. So I had the wrong camera. Too bad.
I'm normally very good at seeing both sides of issues, but I have to confess, I'm completely mystified that some people don't accept the idea that the camera you have with you can easily be the wrong camera. I don't get it. It seems so utterly self-evident to me. I'm not seeing the other side of the argument, this time.
I mean, I suppose you could say that I got something. But what's the use in that? So I have a souvenir of the picture I wanted but that I wasn't able to take? Something to take home as a reminder of my failure? I don't get that people don't get this.
But I'll feel better in a few days.
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Featured Comments from:
Terry Burnes: "I think the point of the aphorism you're troubled by is more that a 'photographer' should always have a camera, not that the camera that a photographer happens to have is necessarily the best one for the task at hand. If nothing else, having your phone along, as opposed to no camera at all, allowed you, both a photographer and a journalist, to create this post. So it was a useful camera to have along, right? Actually, I would argue that, for the point you are making, it was the best camera to have. The Sony presumably would have created a perfect image and then you'd be writing about that, not this. I like your photo by the way, at least at its size on my screen. Lovely light. You're lucky to be able to see that when departing your doctor's office. Get well soon."
Doug Thacker: "This has been exactly my experience with using a phone for photography. You see a picture you want to take, you take it, and it looks great on the phone screen. Later, when you blow it up to full size on your computer, you find that the image you thought you had is poorly rendered, soft and unusable, merely a notation or rough sketch of the image you had in mind.
"Back when the cameras in phones were a joke—one-third of a megapixel and no dynamic range—shooting with them could be fun. These were the antithesis real cameras. You knew you had no right to expect anything at all. When you pushed the button, you might get shutter lag measured in seconds, you might get blur, you might get lovely colors and selective focus. The fun was in finding out, but whatever you got it could never be printed, and only viewable at 72 DPI. It was like painting miniatures with a lot of randomness thrown in, but you'd never mistake it for an actual camera.
"Nowadays phones are good enough to use as real cameras—until they're not, which happens all too often. Encounter enough disappointment like this, and pretty soon you give up on the idea and remember to take along your purpose-built camera.
"'The best camera is the one you have with you'—like other dog-eared axioms of photography, such as 'If your pictures aren't good enough you're not close enough'—was, I guess, really only supposed to be a hint. Maybe it's time for a new axiom: 'Take a camera and leave the phone in your pocket.'"