They say the best camera is the one you have with you. It’s true. And, we all have a capable camera in our pocket these days. But, no matter how much I try, I just can’t use my iPhone for serious photography.
By serious, I mean, anything other than taking a picture purely for reference, like of something on sale at Costco so I can text it to my wife. That’s the extent of my iPhone photography. 🤓
Yes, camera technology in modern phones is great. Now we have multiple lens choices. We can even shoot RAW with the iPhone. The images are convenient for sharing and they can be edited on the device. But, there are a few things missing.
- This is the biggest deterrent for me: the shooting experience. I just don’t like framing a photo with the back of my phone (or camera for that matter). View finders rule the day because they isolate your attention, allowing you to frame your subject with intent. Much of the joy of photography is the actual experience of composing and taking pictures and the iPhone falls short here.
- Color: I hate the way the iPhone renders color and lifts shadows. The color is hyper-saturated and un-natural. It’s a pain to fiddle with an app to make it look decent. You would think shooting RAW makes up for this, but the RAW files are limited and don’t allow much flexibility.
- Depth of field: Because the sensor is so small, everything is in focus. Yes, computational photography can blur a background but only in certain conditions and it still looks fake. Playing with depth of field is so much fun and you can’t do it with a phone camera.
- Low-light capability: This one is important. Even with the improvements in low-light photography in the recent iPhone models, it’s still never going to compete with my Fuji cameras in this department. I find myself shooting in low-light often and my iPhone can’t hang.
Here’s a comparison of what I mean about the color. Below are 2 images shot in similar circumstances. 👇
Again, phone cameras are pretty amazing for what they are. A modern phone produces better image quality than point-and-shoot cameras from just a few years ago.
If you just want to capture moments and don’t want to hassle with a dedicated camera, something like an iPhone will be fine. Just fine. If you take photography a little more seriously, you’ll quickly find that your phone has some significant limitations.