Opinion: Real photographers need real cameras
May 19, 2015
The proliferation of smartphones has introduced or reignited the love of photography with their owners, but I for one am not happy with the quality of images produced by them.
Just to give you a little background, I became well known as a photographer in the late 1990s/early 2000s because I carried a compact film camera everywhere I went, and I shot a wide variety of subjects, which pretty much describes the majority of people’s experience with photography.
For a while I was seduced by my iPhone 4’s camera and the fact that it would let me post an image online immediately after I took it. Sometimes, if I really liked an iPhone image, I would shoot it again on a ‘real’ camera so I had a higher quality version, but I did not always do this. Unfortunately, I have a lot of images that I shot only on iPhone 4, which, outside of Instagram, look a little pants.
In 2013, I got my first smart camera, which enabled me to shoot DSLR-quality pictures and wirelessly transfer them to my phone for posting online. Now I have the best of both worlds – a high-quality raw file and the ability to post great-looking images online in the moment.
At the end of 2014 I acquired an iPhone 6. I was expecting to be impressed with the camera on this model, seeing as though it was generations ahead of my iPhone 4, but I was underwhelmed. Apple recently released its World Gallery, which showcases 60 images that where shot with the iPhone 6.
The images look great and some of them have been blown up to the size of billboards, but one thing you might be quick to notice is that all but two of the images were shot in daylight. One of those photographs was taken in Germany’s bright Berlin subway and the other is of Japan’s well-lit Tokyo Tower at night, so they’re hardly challenging lighting conditions. None of the images was shot in low light and none of the images uses the iPhone 6’s built-in LED flash.
Sure, camera phones are getting better, but I reckon for the foreseeable future a bigger lens and bigger sensor are always going to outperform the tiny cameras in phones. If you’re serious about photography, I highly recommend getting a camera that can fit in a pocket or handbag – and don’t let me catch you shooting on an iPad!
Kevin Meredith is an obsessive documentary photographer and author of several instructional books. He regularly runs workshops in Brighton and sometimes further afield. Follow him on Twitter: @lomokev