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Monday, 17 October 2011


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Of course I hate to throw your own words back at you, but...

'However, with my reviewer's hat on I cannot tell a lie, and I just can't find a thing nice to say about the DLC—except that it can be used to hold a lens and film. Keith's a great designer and a superb craftsman, but I'd look at his wooden cameras'
M.Johnston 2003

Really those all metal thingies of his are horrible, please immediately change the photo for one with real wood.

Actually I'd have gone for the biggest Ebony I could have found, they are really beautiful, even if I, like you, find the bellows a bit flimsy.
All the best, Mark (who's very glad to see you are still alive after your last post)

Apple will let you download the originals, but none of the samples are at high ISO.

ISO64 luminance noise is visible at full screen and the photos have a soft-but-pleasing-nonetheless look when the sun isn't high. Thanks to sensible sharpening there's no halos. JPEG quality is 96, which is better than current Canon compacts (unless you have CHDK. Canon, please fix this; after all, you managed 96 in the past). I have seen far worse results from current compact cameras.

For carry-everywhere I prefer a S95, but the iPhone 4S is surprisingly good. Most people record the emotional content of their lives - rather than make photos - and the iPhone is more than good enough for that if it all happens close to the camera.

The photos on the Apple page describe the target market.

Will we ever see a device that's as good as the S95 (or better) on the camera side and as good as the iPhone 4 (or better) on the phone and computer side, while being pocketable? I doubt it very much in terms of useability for advanced photographers, unless some shape-shifting technology comes along.

Like my Victorinox toolkit-in-a-pocket, the iPhone is jack of all trades and master of none.

I used the iPhone 4 as a vacation camera, on account of both battery chargers for my DSLR ending up at my GF's place, and her forgetting to bring them by when we were leaving. (Of course, that was judged to be my fault.)

Turns out it's a pretty bloody good camera, perfectly good for vacation snaps, as long as you can live with a fixed 35 mm-ish lens.

IMHO a nightmare camera I prefer de new S100.

Was that "Penthouse" or "penthouse" of the camera world?

Brilliant! :)

Apple's iPhone cameras are important (and deserve a place on this list) not because of the quality of their images but because they are the head-end of a system for simply and reliably saving, sharing and publishing photographs.

Readers of this blog may be surprised at how many lesser phone-cam pictures reside only on the phone to be viewed and shared on its tiny screen. Then lost for ever.

"Was that "Penthouse" or "penthouse" of the camera world?"


Mike / Decent editor, not-so-decent proofreader.

My iPhone 4S arrived today (pre-ordered with Apple and sent directly from Shenzhen). Pretty impressive camera: great resolution & good colour. Obviously there's some sophisticated noise reduction going on here.

Does phone calls as well!

f/111 and be there?

Any camera that needs two tripods is a little too big for me. I am in awe however, of those with the patience and skill to operate ultra large format cameras. Recently I been whining because I can't get 120 film for less than four bucks a roll and these guys are looking at how much per shot!

I don't know what the average is, but the only 20x24 film listed at B&H goes for $16.60 per sheet.


Beautiful, huge beast of a camera. Not that I have any desire to wrestle with a sheet of film that big. That's for folks braver than I. Did a bit of research and found few carry or make film that large. B&H has one 20x24 listed with a 6-10 week waiting peroid..


My big worry would be what happens if Efke goes under? On a side note I'm still tempted to pick up a 4x5.

Mike, here is a link to some casual snaps and vids I took with the Phone 4S this weekend to give you a better idea of what this phone is capabe of... As an FYI last year's model (the iPhone 4) has a 5MP BSI sensor with a 4mm f2.8 len shooting 720p30 video at 11mbps vs. this years model with a 8MP BSI sensor with a 4mm f/2.4 lens that shoots electronically stabilized 1080p30 video at 24mbps. I hope next years model has a 2MP BSI sensor with an f/1.0 lens that records 100mbps optically stabilized video at 1080p60. Hahahaha! (Maybe Ctein can figure out if that combination is even possible in such a thin device...)

That big view camera is uber cool. I'd love to look at the world projected upside down and reversed onto the 20X24 ground glass and then insert the film holder, remove the dark slide, and take a big picture. I'd need to hire an assistant to help me hoist it onto two tripods. My lower back isn't built for mega-ultra-large format photography. I play the lottery once a year--on my birthday. If I win, I'll purchase a Canham 20X24 camera and set aside one day a month to take a big picture of Florida swampland.

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. That monster is beautiful. I mentioned before on TOP how much I enjoyed seeing both Art Sinsebaugh's prints and his 12X20 Deardorff. 20x24 seems a little big for me but a 12x20 might be OK. I just have to get better at buying Powerball tickets.

Interesting contrast between one of the least used cameras (and I don't mean anything disparaging by that - it's just that a 20x24 exposure takes a significant investment in time and money) and what might be the most used camera in the near future.


Whoa, $16.60 per sheet? I'd better learn not to gripe so much about the cost of 8x10 film then!

I believe that the best smartphone camera resides in the Nokia N8. I'd be very impressed if the iPhone 4S produces better pictures than the N8: I have made many awesome pet kitty pictures from it.

Hi Mike,

You might be interested in this link that ties in both with your post about large format cameras and those about famous photographs and the photographers who took them.

24x30 x-ray film* is 38.50 a box of 100. One could conceivably trim that to fit.

*I couldn't find 20x24 with a quick google, but it's supposedly out there. It's broadly green-sensitive, which is apparently just fine for outdoor work, though I suppose it's like having a permanent green filter on. Real ISO might be 100-400. This stuff is coated on both sides, and the emulsion is pretty soft when wet. There's a couple threads dedicated to x-ray film on the LF forum.

Re: 20x24 LF, wouldn't it be cool if Betterlight could make a scanning back that big? I shudder to imagine the file sizes! I suppose it would be suitable for making maps of the country in 1:1 scale (g).

Re: cameraphones in general (not specifically the iPhone), I wonder what people are doing with those 5, 8, 12 megapixels? I know camera consumers are finally learning that more MP doesn't equate to better pictures, but it seems the lessons learned have been forgotten with mobile phone cameras. It would surprise me greatly if more than .1% of camera phone pics are ever printed. I've said before, I'd love a phone maker to implement a 1080P resolution sensor and call it an HD camera. 2MP in the same size sensor as currently used, and we'd get pixel size doubled, improving signal quality. As well, the tiny little CPUs could do better image processing in a given time thanks to the smaller file sizes, improving JPG conversion, etc. I think Apple is the only camera maker that could sell this new concept, but everyone would jump on board and pictures would improve.


This "odd couple" goes together in very practical ways, too. For example, some MF and LF shooters use iphones in lieu of viewfinders or ground glass, with added benefits. For some reason, this particular "convergence" really tickles me.



That 20" X 24" neg would make one hell of a platinum print.

Noticed the 20x24" film at B&H is described as "excellent for contact printing". OK, glad to hear that...

"Noticed the 20x24" film at B&H is described as 'excellent for contact printing.' OK, glad to hear that...."

LOL. I hadn't noticed that. What a relief we don't have to fire up the ol' 20x24" enlarger, eh?


I have an iPhone 4S and a Canon S95. The S95 takes better photos, no question. But I can't get its email or iCloud features to work for some reason. And my pockets have no space for it, as one holds my wallet and the other my phone.

And ironically, you can use one as a viewfinder for the other.

Uh Huh

I,too, took that incredibly ballooning large format path some time ago. I think it had something to do with a lust for fine woods,legacy lenses, and alternative photographic processes. I wound up with a 16x20 camera that I planned on shooting landscapes with, but hardly used.

A couple of things are worth mentioning about super-duper format cameras: wind can be a scary factor, and the amazingly huge groundglass image is truly something to behold.

I eventually calmed down, and realized that I truly enjoyed working with large format, but ease of use (a relative term, with these cameras) and expense were definite factors. I finally wound up with a Toyo 4x5, all metal, smooth as silk, a lovely precision instrument.

This was before going digital, which has just about ruined my photographic concentration and motivation to print. It's way too easy to accumulate digital detritus under the guise of image files that no one will ever see.

4S native resolution...10x13" at 240. Not bad for a phone.

"f/111 and be there?" --Paddy C

f/128? f/256?

The iPhone is more like "f/2.4 and always there." :-)

And no one pays any attention to the street photographer with an iPhone. Probably a tourist or something.

I saw someone taking snapshots with a iPad in a local park recently. I joked that with a cloth and a tripod it could be a (really flat) view camera. I shouldn't make jokes like that given the Alpha iPhone finder.

The only thing desirable about an apple product is that it has a very short life before it is thrown in the bin (not working) or thrown in the bin (obsolete = 6 months old).

Got a 8x10 but my dream LF camera is the one that take Polaroid 20x24. No need to develop. Instant. One of a kind. And huge!

That is better than this one, may I say!

BTW, thanks to remind me to subscribe and download this year LF. I have no interest to read the magazine a few page but one year in one go.

I like that Keith's camera is black. Makes it a natural for stealthy street photography. :)


I believe this photographer is using such large formats (20x24)

I've been to the gallery in Paris when they were exposing "The Great 3rd Front" and this was the first and only time I've seen ultra large prints (up to 4m x 5m) where the ultra-high resolution was actually critical to the picture's artistic quality. You were litteraly sucked by the image.

I loved it so much that I bought the book, but even if good, this is not the real thing.

A possible nominee for random excellence?

Well, after playing around with my wife's 4s yesterday, I'll say to anyone pining for and upgrade, don't worry about it, it's just upgrade-itis. It's still a little point and shoot that's hard to hold, it still takes only ok photos. My daughter's old, dented 7.1 mp pink Canon Elph is a much better camera.

That LF camera is a beast.... very cool. So who is going to make a digital back for one :) Come on Leaf, get working on it, I think you could fit quite a few mega pixels in there. LOL.

Cool article, and I agree with some others that the convenience of having your camera in your pocket at all times is a real advantage. Getting a pretty good photo with a camera phone is better than the stunning photo you didn't get because you left your dSLR and lenses at home.

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