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Monday, 10 January 2011


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One thing I've never quite understood is why fashion photographers shoot medium format cameras and then spend hours retouching their high-res photographs to soften the skin. It would be quicker and cheaper to just use...well, an iPhone. Or maybe a Canon G11 if you really want to appear professional.

Yes he took the photo under optimal conditions, in the studio, using artificial lighting to enhance the effect, and the subject frozen in place.

Some people would call that cheating.

It is worth noting that the iPhone 4 camera is MUCH better than the one used in that video. :-)

How is this any different from the guy who did a fashion shoot using disposable cameras?

It's pretty much the ultimate example of "it's not the camera, dummy!" The inevitable death of the camera as a single-use still-picture taking machine is irrelevant to the whole exercise...or maybe it's the whole point. I'm sure someone cleverer than me will weigh in...

"... and pair of $50 floods from Lowe's."

It's a good thing the model didn't melt from the heat. Are we about to usher in an era of hot-light popular photography? Or perhaps all that's needed a bluetooth slave trigger. :-)

I'm already printing iPhone shots (for others) for exhibition.

If Canikons could solve Sudoku puzzles by just taking a picture of them maybe they'd be taken more seriously.

There was a saying in the "teen model" people.

"What have you set - aperture priority or shutter priority?"
"It is beautiful Lady Priority"

More seriously, it is actually demo the "Light Priority" principle.

In a recent trip I have taken 4 phone photo (none of us carried a proper camera and we took turns to take photos of each other using others' phone). The flash necessary in the place made iphone the worst camera. Others (even a blackberry?) seems take better photo.

I am not a "Trekkie" although I enjoy the reruns of ST NG. In those episodes the characters use a singe hand-held device for taking moving and still images. We are still along way from realizing many fantasy technologies seen in that program (vaporizing people and transporting them ain't going happen any time soon, if ever), but other in other ways, the ST universe has anticipated technological developments. The imaging device is probably going to be one such example.

there's more to be said about iPhoneography than imaginable. After nearly 50 years of photography my daughter introduced me to the iPhone. My work has never been better nor have I ever been this creative in my life.
HOWEVER. I usually put my camera on Airplane Mode to stop if from getting pesty calls.

I saw that shoot, I loved the getout there and shoot something and don't obsess about your gear. I have an Iphone 4 and am constantly amazed at what that little camera can do, especially with all the software apps to use with it!


For example this picture:


The light was fading fast, just shot out the door phone in my pocket!


Yes, if you use makeup and control the light well, any halfway decent imaging device will turn out good product. I bet it would have looked good on a Holga, too. It's the lighting and preparation that's the rub.

I don't know Mike. The chrominance noise is a tad nasty on some of those photos.

That is little more than a publicity stunt. So many iPhone owners dream that their iPhones could take such glamorous shots of them and their friends; It can, but *they* cannot!

I can only imagine the amount of attention that project got Lee Moris et al.

Speaking of iPhoneography, the Instagram app on the iPhone is really awesome for making photos and admiring other people's work too. I am constantly amazed by the talented photographers produce such gorgeous material with the humble phone camera. The Japanese iphoneographers are my favorites.

(My Instagram user name is @mr_brown just FYI.)

Let's not forget, the iPhone is no cheapo camera... it's a $600 (I think) camera, more expensive than most high-end point-and-shoots, and even some DSLRs. Oh, and it happens to do other things too.

There is some amazing work being done by users of the iPhone. I was particularly drawn to the work of Australian photographer Sally Sargood after seeing here Siberian Railway portfolio in the Oz magazine Better Photography. Her work can be seen at www.whereissally.com .

You forgot the $800 worth of PhotoShop used on the orignal image.

It's interesting that an older 3GS model iPhone was used. The iPhone 4 has a significantly improved camera.

It's got sort of a plasticy look...like a Canon. 8-)


Your feature comment by E. Taylor does not marry with my experience with the new iPhone 4. (I love my iPhone, but in most circumstances it cannot compete even marginally with better cameras.")
I have been happily shooting with it so often that it has largely replaced my GF1 for daytime shooting. Of course it can't compete with night photography, but I have come to love using this 'always available' camera.

Link to pictures

iphone are not alone in this.
What of phones like the Nokia N8 with its Carl Zeiss 28mm-e lens and 12.1 MP 1/1.8" sensor?
Mine comes perilously close to the IQ I saw in my lamented Ricoh GR-D.
these little device can do well outside the studio as well.
And are far more portable than most any compact.

"$50 floods from Lowes" - That's very misleading. The point of illumination is often the cheapest part of lighting. Shaping and diffusing is the expensive bit. I haven't added up the cost of the softboxes he mentioned, but I once had to replace my small Chimera soft box: $270. The grid egg-crate for the front (sold seperate) costs $170. The lighting in this shoot has much more do do with shaping tools versus the point source.

And yes, with good lighting, makeup, a stunning model and fantastic photoshop skills, any camera will capture good images.

Camera = inanimate object to take pictures with. Photographer = animate object that takes pictures using camera. So who cares about the camera quality or image quality? Pixel peepers (and let them) and marketeers (stop them). Who thinks about picture quality? Everybody else. So I'm not suprised to see an iPhone blast out great shots in the hands of a professional. I'm equaly not suprised to see a Leica M9 flunk out le crap du jour in the wrong hands. There is a place and a time for everything. And a great camera in the hands of a great photographer is a stunning combination. So the question shouldn't be wether you can make great shots with a iPhone, of course you can. The question should be of a Leica (or Nikon, or Canon, or Hasselblad, or Mamiya, or Cambo or etc. etc.) would have made an even better shot. Now the limited image at web size won't tell, will never tell even. But now blow up the photo to wall size and look then. Then the iPhone (and any small sensor camera) will submit to it's limmits. Then IQ will negatively influence PQ.

Greetings, Ed

Wow, he must have a really good iPhone!...... ;-)

"It is worth noting that the iPhone 4 camera is MUCH better than the one used in that video. :-)"

And both still worse than the LG Viewty phone camera.

Still, I´d like to see Asad´s comment featured: it is a very intelligent comment stating a true situation, and a true dissapointment later on.

"So many iPhone owners dream that their iPhones could take such glamorous shots of them and their friends; It can, but *they* cannot!"

Assuming they and their friends are as glamourous lookin as the model in the picture;)

Incidentally, I like picture #3 in the series at the link provided much more than the one Mike picked (cliched though the pose might be in photography, all the way back to the photographer Julia Cameron in Victorian England.)

Taking pictures was often considered painting by light. The tool is always third after artist and light.

Looks phoney to me....

And THATS a good commentary for the noob question "Whats the BESTEST camera eva?"

In response to Nick, I couldn't tell which photos at the link were taken with an iPhone - perhaps all of them? But this still only supports the idea that a good photographer can do good work with almost any camera. It does not offer any factual support suggesting that an iPhone camera is even in the same ballpark as the GF1. Time to boot up, Shutter lag and low light performance alone rule that out.

I never said you couldn't take great shots with an iPhone. But it is really just silly to suggest that an iPhone is all a camera should be. If that were the case, we could have stopped introducing new cameras many years ago.

Regardless of the camera, I think he would have done well to point the model's nose a bit more towards the camera.

This discussion brings up the point that "a good photographer can take good pictures with any camera." While the iPhone images are excellent and the photographer took beautiful-lit pictures of his model, there are still valid limitations to relying on an iPhone. It is my opinion, that resolution dictates the kinds of images that can be taken.

Way back, when I was young, I worked in a camera shop, the 110 camera was very popular. It could really only take one kind of picture well and that was birthday parties for toddlers! Landscapes, street photography, weddings, or a good portrait of your girlfriend? Forget it. Film photographers had restrictions on resolution, the 35mm wasn't the final answer, landscape photographers needed larger format cameras to capture the detail, wedding and portrait photographers used medium format pretty exclusively for the portability and for those profitable enlargments and journalist and sports photographers relied on 35mm for portability, speed and wide range of lenses. These requirements haven't changed, because each type of photography needs a different kind of resolution and speed to meet their subject's requirements.

The cell-phone camera might replace the point-and-shoot someday, but I think the end of cameras is still off in the future. Who knows.. if we are optimisitic, when the change does come, it could be as dazzling as that new, 40 megapixel Pentax 645.

Many of the problems with the camera in my phone (not an iPhone, pretty decent camera finally) are precisely the problems that mostly don't come up working with a professional model in the studio. It's slow, doesn't have that good auto-exposure (but lets you compensate), and isn't very good in dim light or with a large brightness range. Those are precisely the things that the studio, and a model working with you, renders irrelevant.

In response to Ed,I never said that the iPhone is all a camera should be. But I am constantly surprised by the quality of images and speed of focus in good light. For general picture-taking, the phone is "highly sufficient" in this role. Whilst some people snort and harrumpf about it not being a 'real' camera,(some of the lecturers at my photography school for example), others are going about taking photos and enjoying the results, and not as hampered by perceived shortcomings as is made out.

I realize this is a bit late to try and light more fire here, but the Iphone is apparently moving in to major motion picture territory as well. Well, at least in South Korea..


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