Saturday, 30 November 2013

snappy happy

Jesmond Dene, Newcastle
Well, I've idly been using the iPhone as my main carry around camera during November, as per my stated plan at the beginning of the month.

It's worked surprisingly well as a compact camera replacement.

I know its 'only' got 8 Mega-pixels compared with the 41 Mega-pixels of the recent-ish Nokia, but I can't help wondering exactly where marketing overtakes results. That's more pixels on a tiny sensor than on a full frame Nikon, for example.

I've tried the Nokia but noticed that both the startup time and the 'film wind' time from one shot to another seemed excessive. Measured in seconds, it appeared. A lot of processing to do 41 MP maybe?

For many social occasions that lag could mean the defining moment will have passed. It will still be fine for cityscapes and less timing critical shots, of course.

The Nokia has a proper shutter (instead of an electronic one) and image stabilisation. It means that the camera has a little bump on the back where the lens gubbins is fitted and so from the back the phone looks like a -er- camera.

It's reached a point where I start to think of the things I'd want on a proper camera again and that's where trade-offs start to play out.

I've decided I'll keep to the simpler iPhone form factor, with the smaller jpegs that are easy to manipulate onto web sites and social media.

My sense with the iPhone is that it's 'good enough' for many purposes. Maybe not to crop the pictures, but hey, this is for snaps in any case.
The iPhone camera works fine in daylight or at night in what I'd call 'street scenes'. It doesn't work so well indoors in less well lit areas, although there's a clever flash for such situations. I habitually disable flashes on cameras, but I may need to revive it on this one.
The lens is also quite good at fairly close shots and can do a reasonable job of blurring the background, as long as you don't expect some kind of miracles. The 'zoom' is digital, so the magnification is somewhat artificial.
There's various burst modes and high speed modes too, so speedy clicks are well catered for. I've decided I actually quite like using it, and even the little mode of using the volume control as a shutter button adds to the basic ergonomics.

It'll never replace a decent compact system camera or an SLR, but photographically, it seems to me that this type of phone has reached a good level of general purpose usability.

Maybe next month I'll use it for some kind of mini project.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

I am amazed at some of the iPhone pictures I've seen...Friends were in Hawaii a few months ago and the pictures of the Sunsets, etc., were quite incredible.....!
Pretty soon people will need only ONE device that does EVERYTHING!!

rashbre said...

Naomi You are right, it is getting that way that a single device can do more. Although I hope they don't all start getting too big as a result.