Is the Iphone Killing Photography?

The iPhone 5s with its upgraded 8 megapixle camera and dual LED flash

Today the eyes of the internet were all looking to Apple for the release of the new iPhone 5c and 5s. Engadget, Techcrunch and just about every other tech blog was listing all the new features, analyzing the prices, and discussing the new phones. One such feature that was listed, was the upgraded camera on the 5s. While still only 8 megapixels,  it has a larger imaging sensor and thus can capture higher quality photos with the same number of pixels. Beyond resolution, there are a number of other new features including a new flash system that uses two different LED flashes for a custom white balance. Beyond that, there’s a new flash called True Tone, with dual-LED. According to TechCrunch, “this is meant to take that whitish, blue tint out of photos taken with flash. One of the LEDs is the normal cool white and the other is a warm amber. The iPhone can combine them in over 1,000 ways to match the room and the skin tone, offering the best possible picture even in low light.”

With all these upgrades why would someone need anything more than an iPhone camera? In a post by professional photographer Dean Holland, he documents shooting a trip to Vietnam with his wife with only his iPhone 4s. He left all his SLRs and lenses at home and still managed to capture some amazing shots on his old 8 megapixel 4s. He even managed to make some 36 inch prints of some of the shots, and while, “they’re not as crisp and detailed as from a big DSLR camera,” he said that they still looked great. Now with the higher quality sensor in the 5s he would have even less to complain about. 

Silhouette on the Japanese Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam, shot with iPhone 4S using Camera+ app, edited with Snapseed (Dean Holland)

One might even say that the resolution that he gave up by taking the iPhone, he made up for in other ways. Firstly, an iPhone can fit in ones pocket, while an SLR cannot. The ease and portability of an iPhone is something that I envy when I am lugging around my camera when I travel. It is not only the phone itself that is easier to travel with, but all the accessories that that one may need are also more compact. Whether it be mini tripods, telephoto or fish-eye lenses, there are countless miniaturized photography accessories for the iPhone. Also, it is much easier to walk up to a stranger and ask to take a picture with an iPhone as they tend to feel less intimidated and more at ease as compared to the much larger SLR. Street photographers can be much more inconspicuous when taking candid shots, as very few people even notice iPhones on the street. 

While it is clear that the new iPhone with its upgraded camera has much potential, it still has a ways to go. SLR and other professional cameras still offer higher quality photos and more flexibility with interchangeable lenses and other accessories. So while the 5s is moving in the right direction, and there are some photographers who will shoot your entire wedding with just an iPhone, I feel that most people will still hire a photographer with a traditional SLR camera.  

Is the Iphone Killing Photography?

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