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Friday, 07 April 2017


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Perhaps a nice pocket camera? Sony RX100, Panasonic LX10 (that's what I have), Canon G7. You can always have these with you. They have 1" sensors and zoom lenses. They are far better than phone cameras.

You are a sick puppy! New camera indeed!
about C$1159.00 plus 13 percent sales tax here
at the local Apple Store. Then there are the stupid connection fees and more tax...Canada is one of the most expensive countries in the world to own a cell/mobile phone.

I like my iPhone 7+ except for the mute switch that is too easily activated. I've developed a fix and am currently testing prototypes, see my blog at


Some David Kennerly iPhone photos: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/27-stunning-iphone-photos-taken-c1416002518899/photo-venice-boardwalk-photo-1416002167462.html

The iPhone changed the world in many ways because it can BE anything there is an App for. As you point out, it also created a whole new class of pictures, the record picture, or 'holy crap look at this' or simply as a note taker. These kinds of pictures have always existed, but now the whole world is making them because the ubiquity of smart phones when combined with instant sharing via messaging, it's become a whole new form of communication.

The cameras are amazingly good considering their size but because of the tiny sensor have a relatively small sweet spot where you can make a nice small print. And I do print some, but as you also pout out , mostly you can't.
It's good to have a camera with you but I certainly agree that (if pictures and prints are important to you, we need to guard against phones becoming an excuse to leave the camera home.
Well Said

Here are a couple of other fire hydrants-

So, in other words, you jumped the "the best camera is the one with you" bandwagon.
You'll get over it.

I have an irrational affection for the RX-100 which is always bulging in my pocket.

Dumb phone and a GR.

iPhone or $2K lens? Just think of how much easier it will be to snap Butters chasing his balls. ;-)

Hi Mike,

By coincidence, I just replaced my venerable Nokia Lumia 1020 phone with a shiny new Google Pixel. I do miss the raw output and manual controls on the Lumia, and I'd say the lens on the Lumia is a tad better, but I have to say the image quality of the Pixel is pretty impressive, especially the way it handles high-contrast scenes.

I just had the great good fortune to accompany my younger daughter and her high school Chinese class on a trip to China over spring break. Just under 1,000 shots in 9 days - about 350 with the Pixel and the rest with my trusty travel buddy, the Canon G10. How lucky are we to have so many great tools at our disposal these days?


I was going to suggest getting a GR (or maybe the Fuji version) and hang it around your neck like a tourist for the rest of your life (my method). But recently on a trip to Alaska to visit in-laws I had an interesting photographic experience. I arrived with an absurd amount of gear, my GR, K1, rented EM1 ll and old EM1, plus assorted lenses and my iphone. I ended up taking the vast majority of shots with the K1 and a couple "limited" lenses. It was just too much fun to bother with the other stuff. I used the EM1 ll a couple times, enough to know that it's a great camera with much higher "keeper" rates, but it was more fun looking at the world through the Pentax.

I've heard the phrase "don't be a tourist" before, but I think the answer might be to go ahead, grab the camera you enjoy and be a tourist in your hometown, get used to it. Be that wacky guy everyone sees with a camera and your iphone will be used for other purposes.

The Iphone gives a new look to the idea of photography as a calling.

Good choice! I sometimes wish I'd bought that one. Instead I got the standard iPhone 7. It was the first phone I've actually bought - until this one I'd always leased, i.e. on a subsidised deal from a network provider. But since I started travelling I need an unlocked phone so I can switch the SIM and that meant buying one. The standard 7 was £100 cheaper. And, to be honest, it fits my pockets better.

But I am using it more and more as a camera. Truthfully, I love it.

However technically good the iphone is, you're still having to compose pictures by holding the thing at arms length and trying to see what's on the screen while the sun does it's best to make it impossible.

[Not sure I agree entirely. Once you learn where the lens is and work out how to hold it both ways, it's quite secure. And for all the occasions when the screen is somewhat hard to see, there's a corresponding occasion when the viewing screen makes a marvelous and even seductive viewfinder. Because let's face it, iPhone photos do tend to look about as good as possible on the iPhone's Retina screen. --Mike

I'll see your fire hydrant and raise you this one I photographed in Big Water, UT many years ago.

I know what you mean about varifocal lenses. I'd be all over the Fujifilm x100t if it had a 35mm and 90mm (equivalent) option. You can probably tell that I shot with a pair of Leica M-4s with those lenses, back in the day. On another note, come fall I'll teach a class in cellphone photojournalism. Whooda thunk?

I use DuckDuckGo https://duckduckgo.com so I DuckedDucked dry hydrants. Dry hydrants are used in areas with lakes and stream, like the area where Mike lives.

A photo/video app about a local Volunteer Fire Department and their use of dry hydrants would make a good project for someone.

I wrote this post back in January where I compared "bokeh" effects between the iPhone 7 Plus and an OM-D E-M5 Mk1 with the PRO 2.8/12-40mm (both items which I'd picked up at different times on heavy discount). I liked, and was quite impressed by, what the iPhone is able to accomplish. I'm curious what you'll eventually accomplish photographically with your iPhone as you grow to know it.

Link: https://arcanesciencelab.blog/2017/01/03/computational-photography-example-iphone-7-plus-vs-olympus-e-m5-12-40mm-pro-zoom/

I've been tempted to buy a dual lens iPhone myself. I had a dual lens Kodak tele-instamatic a long time ago - it was the first camera I bought with my own money. These days on my point and shoot zoom cameras I enable "step-zoom" or "memory zoom" if it is available. That makes the zoom stop at 24, 28 35, 50, 85mm-e. It makes composing photos more predictable.

My favorite iPhone camera app is called Moment. It's free, it supports two lenses, and it saves to DNG.


Someday Mike will find the "video" button.

For short term relief from iPhoneitis, nothing beats a new lens. After four years of Canon 6D ownership with nothing longer than a fast 50 mm, I sprung for the new 70-300 mm zoom and it's...fabulous. Focuses instantly in damn near no light, completely silent and weighs a big 25 ounces. iPhone, you hereby are banished to the pocket (for now).

My eye moves back and forth between Butters and that roofer on one foot ever so slightly leaning to his left at the roof ridge. Waiting for him to tumble I guess. There's his skill.

Nice tension.

Day to day I use the phone a lot more than an 'real' camera. On trips I use the real camera more and get up to about half and half. I would bet that for most of the stuff I shoot you would not be able to tell which device I was using by looking at a full resolution file in the non-raw format of your choice stripped of meta-data.

There is a lot of photo-nerd technical bias against "toy small sensor" cameras that have not taken into account the fact that 10-15 years of experience with the tech. has made these toys much better than they have any right to be. The iPhone 7+ (and the 6 before it) routinely takes pictures *better* than my old D200 could do, even with its 12-bit RAW files and *especially* in low light, where the D200 was terrible. And I don't have to haul a bag around with me to dinner anymore. Sure the D200 is an old camera. But c'mon ... it has a sensor that's like a gazillion times larger right?

Complaining that you have somehow lost something in using an allegedly inferior machine to take the picture seems to me to be wasting energy on sunk cost. It would be like regretting that you didn't take that 4x5 on your trip to Everest because you were too lazy. I don't get it.

Gratuitous iPhone 7 shot from a while back that probably would have been impossible to do this well with any "real" film camera without a tripod.


and ... a closeup of my coffee this morning. Under barely any ambient light in the cafe...


Masterpieces? No. Technically fine? I think so. Download the full sizes and see for yourself.

With this device you can take a usable picture of almost anything almost anywhere at almost any time. With a thing that fits in your pocket with no bulging. Why complain? You should revel in it.

The 7+ got me, too. I have probably taken 3-to-1 pictures with it vs a real camera this year so far. It's a great pocket camera in many ways, especially that there are so many apps it's like having a half dozen cameras in my pocket.

The ergonomics seriously suck, though. The volume button can be used as a shutter button, but it's on the wrong side of the phone. So I got a little bluetooth shutter for those times when the iPhone is on its bendy tripod.

It's also a video camera, and a slow-motion (120 fps) video camera. I love those features. Plus point-and-shoot HDR, even some goofy filters are fun. Film emulations, B&W, it's quite a tool.

But after abandoning my E-M10 for a while, I finally got around to working about 50 pictures I'd taken a month ago through my workflow, and was somewhat surprised (embarassingly so) that the files looked so much better than the iPhone files.

For me, a big part of the equation is sharing. I'm not a social media guy, but I do send people photos (usually in text messages) all the time. I also am part of a photo club which posts to Tumblr. The iPhone wins every time in those scenarios.

So, shoot, I have two good cameras now. A good first-world problem to have.

I'll second and amplify Dan B.'s comment re: Ricoh GR as an adjunct to your iPhone. It can be set to record in 4:3 aspect ratio, giving you the equivalent of a 35mm lens in 35mm photography, your favorite lens length. It's an f2.8, but the sensor is APS-C so you should be able to get great photos from it in more difficult lighting situations. The controls are direct, and it is eminently pocketable. The V2 was a really minor upgrade over the V1, probably not worth much of a premium over the original. And either one costs less than an iPhone 7! ;-)


The wife bought the iPhone 7+ just this last weekend. The camera quality is pretty good even better then my old D2H; portrait mode looks interesting too. Gee wiz info, the home button isn't even a button; it's just a sticker on the screen with a jiggle-motor underneath.

I suffer the same affliction, tempered somewhat by also carrying the tiny DXO One camera. Plug it in to the lightning port and away you go. 1" sensor, decent lens, RAW shooting, perfect integration into Photos, complete with app for post processing. Great little gadget and much higher image quality than the native iPhone cameras. Sometimes I just can't take my Leica with me.

I have a cheap ‘smartphone’ - a Sony Xperia E1. I bought it in order, you may be surprised to hear, to make and receive phone calls and send/receive the occasional text. I bought a cheap model because it only gets used a couple of times a month.

It has a camera. However, to use it, I have to:
1. Take it out of my pocket
2. Turn it on.
3. Swipe to get to the main screen.
4. Go to the apps section.
5. Select the Camera app – wit a couple of seconds while it starts up
6. Compose the picture – it apparently has a zoom but I can’t see how to get to it – holding the thing at a distance with all the problems that causes
7. Press the shutter release

With my pocket camera, I just:
1. Take it out of my pocket
2. Turn it on.
3. Lift it to my eye
4. Compose the image - zooming in if necessary
5. Press the shutter release

So if it's OK with you, I'll stick with my little LF1 (always in my jacket pocket) for spontaneous picture taking. It has a (slightly) bigger sensor, with a lot more pixels, it has a viewfinder and an optical zoom. It is designed primarily as an image taking device; that functionality is not an afterthought or add-on. OK, it weighs nearly twice as much, but is a lot quicker and less of a faff to use. I suppose I could spend a couple of hundred or more on a fancy new smartphone, but why would I? For the same money, I could get another lens (or two) for my E-M10. And still use my phone for calls and texts.

Clearly a pre-emptive fire hydrant.

For UK readers, or visitors to London, the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea is running a selfie exhibition sponsored (incongruously) by Huawei and Leica.

It's actually really good fun, and not at all what you might think. Some of the shots are quite inventive and not something that could be readily achieved with any other kind of camera, not least because you probably wouldn't have brought it with you.

It's not the quality of the print, but the idea that counts. After all, how many famous Rodchenko, HCB or Capa images can make poster-sized images?

Link here

I'm happy I had my phone on me today:


[Nice! --Mike]

"I'm not supposed to like this thing quite this much." The iPhone's camera working with its great display is one of the good things of the day, so I've learned to enjoy it - excessively even. I go here, I go there, I see what it'll do. The earth still will keep spinning even if I do jump the fence for a while.

For the peculiar stuff I shoot my 7+ has been an advancement. The "look" of its artifact works with my subject and conditions like nothing else before. And "inferior" resolution and tonal sensitivity work for me, ironically. They soften overwhelming detail and by that help unify the image. These and other characteristics let me develope ideas further and faster than before. For 18 months I've used nothing but the 6 and the 7+.

It's been good. For me it started by accident.

There's no telling where tech will bring these things in the future.

Hi Mike

Instead of taking time to ‘look slow’ with a ‘proper camera’, I find that I am using the phone a lot more. The quality is getting there (low light performance leaves a bit to be desired), but the limited point of view/depth of field is challenging.

I find the ‘Live Photo’ feature quite intriguing. It adds so much more to the ‘decisive moment’. Take a look at the image at the link below. Then click-and-hold on the concentric circle in the top left corner.

Behind the Decisive Moement

In other Phone vs, Camera news , apparently Samsung's camera business hasn't caught fire* quite like their phones have so Samsung has announced that they are dropping their cameras that are standalone cameras line to concentrate on the phones that can be cameras and the TV sets that can be cameras.
*nor have the cameras exploded like their washing machines. Maybe if the cameras would randomly burst into flames, explode into shrapnel and send your photos to the C.I.A. they would sell better.

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