Last weekend I went on a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail down here in Georgia. The weather was perfect, and there wasn’t a lot of fog, so the views were stunning. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my iPhone. Instead, I had my brother’s old Kodak point and shoot from circa 2008. It’s a good camera, but for some reason it wasn’t giving me the shots I was looking for on this trip. It was really disappointing. I did get some pretty good shots, but the lighting was less than great on some of them. This got me thinking about the iPhone as a camera – not as a cell phone camera that you use to take awful pictures when you don’t have a good camera, but as a real camera.
Apple claims that people take more pictures every day with the iPhone than they do with any other camera. They say this is because it “makes it so incredibly easy.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a photography expert, and I don’t know how to use any advanced photography features, but simple things like photo brightness are so unbelievably straight forward on the iPhone. To adjust the lighting in a picture, just tap the spot you’d like auto brightness to adjust to. Still not happy? Slide your finger up or down a bit to make finer adjustments. This simplicity is what makes the iPhone such a great camera for normal people like me. There’s nothing to it – you just tap on what’s important and the phone does the rest.
But what about more professional photographers? There will always be a place for dedicated cameras, but iOS 8 gave the pros more features as well. Apple now allows manual control of camera features such as shutter speed and white balance. These advanced features can’t be used in the stock camera app, but third-party apps like VSCOcam can take full advantage of these manual adjustments. Again, this doesn’t make the iPhone a professional grade camera, but it does open up a whole new world to amateurs looking to dive a little deeper.
“Now wait a minute,” you might be saying, “doesn’t that Kodak camera also has adjustments like that?” I’m sure it does. However, when I’m taking pictures, I’m often looking to get a quick shot and then move on. I tried mashing a few buttons on the Kodak to bring up some sort of controls, but I got nothing. This is my point about the iPhone, it’s just so easy. Now truly anyone can take, if not a fantastic photo, a perfectly good photo, and they can do it with ease. This is not a fact to be taken lightly.
There’s one more thing that’s great about the iPhone’s camera, and that’s the ability to share. The internet is a fantastic place to share photos, and the easiest way to do this is through our phones (since many photos are already stored on there anyway). In order to share my backpacking photos, however, I first had to go home and plug the SD card into my laptop. Then I had to import them and let them sync to iCloud Photo Library (more on that in a future post). If I had taken these pictures on my iPhone, they would have begun uploading the moment I got back on WiFi. Sure, they still would have taken a while to load into cloud storage, but at least I could have sent a few pictures to people over iMessage while I was waiting to share the entire album.
These are some of the many reasons why the iPhone is a great camera. But there’s one more big one: we always have our phones with us. I am a person who believes that more photos is a good thing. Sure, sometimes the good photos get buried in all the junk, but I know that I have often gotten great memories from a shot I took on a whim. Plus, it’s quicker to pull a phone out of a pocket than to retrieve a point and shoot from a backpack. This means that I can get shots that I otherwise would have missed completely. The iPhone is definitely a revolutionary camera. I for one hope it continues to be. ••