best walkabout camera – the iPhone

best walkabout camera – the iPhone

My love for the iPhone knows little bounds. Not only do I have my office in my hand, but I also have a device with which I can contact anyone in the world via phone; email; text messages. (I am extremely contact-able!) I can surf the web; I can take photos; record 1080p HD video clips; record voice recordings and send them to anyone. I have a built-in GPS. I can check train and flight schedules from this device. I can listen to music. I have a staggering number of ways I can interface with the world around me.

As a friend of mine commented to me, not only does it do all of that, but what blows her mind is that it even has a flash-light built in. Staggering!

Best of all for me, as someone with an unquenchable love for photography – I have a camera with me at all times. Right now, the iPhone 4s sports a whopping 8 Megapixels. Sure, the megapixel count isn’t everything. The quality and size of the sensor matters greatly. That said, if the light is good, the quality from the iPhone is quite impressive. In low light – well, you still have a capable little camera with which you can pull out surprising images.

The photo above was of a cyclist swishing past me in the evening in Manhattan. Panning with the cyclist, I have him sharp enough so that you get some detail … and the background is pleasantly blurred with my movement. As much as there is noticeable digital noise in the image, I feel it really captures a moment there. And all I had to do was whip the phone out of my pocket. A camera as usable and accessible as this, truly democratizes photography.


Now you may well ask – why this article? It is my way to announce the winner of the previous contest we had here on the Tangents blog – what photo gear had a fundamental impact on your photography?

The winner of the contest eloquently described the impact the iPhone had on his appreciation of photography. (Comment 121 in that thread.) Check it out.

7 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says

    Great blog entry! I have been using my iPhone for a few years to capture some basic images and recently decided to try during vacation. I’ve fallen in love with the app and it’s basic editing. Its perfect for posting on the social sites and is much lighter than two bodies equipped with a wide and zoom lens. I’ve setup the app to post to my account for quick sharing –

  2. 2Steve Vequist says

    I find that the simplicity of the iPhone’s camera operations and the complexity of the image quality is amazing. Apple has done the unbelievable feat of allowing you to adjust the focus and exposure of a photo without glass that moves or an aperature that mechanically changes! How can that work? I thought about ten years ago that it would be wonderful if a handheld device could include a cell phone, mp3 player and camera all in one. And it happened with the iPhone! And having the ability to use filters with Instagram and post pictures on social networks makes the iPhone a device that is the new media to communicate with family and friends, and with only pictures! As annoying as my frequent Instagram post may be, pictures speak a thousand words and they are much more enjoyable view!

  3. 3Bogdan says

    Now we need a way to black foamie the flash on the iPhone :-). Joke aside I LOVE my iPhone, my whole life is on it.

  4. 4 says

    This Mashable article has some interesting figures on how iPhone owners use their phones:

    4% of the iPhone owners canvassed have used their phones during sex.

    15% of those canvassed would rather go without sex for a weekend than be without their phones.

    More disturbingly: 10% of Under 25s Think It’s OK to Text During Sex

    Neil vN

  5. 5Bogdan says

    That’s taking the iPhone experience a bit too far… But texting while sex is better than while driving… Just as disturbing…

  6. 6Erik Halberstadt says

    Wow — thanks, Neil; I am honored.

    I have to give Instagram and its users a lot of credit — I’m not very social, generally, but by participating there I got exposed to some really wonderful people and their visions (and favorite apps.) We meet in meat-life, too: instawalks (I need the exercise) with food and drinks after are a favorite diversion; last weekend I hosted the second portrameet at my studio — it’s always a blast giving people a chance to shoot under the lights. Without them I’d probably be trying to figure how to have sex with my phone. :-)

    Always looking forward to the next post!


  7. 7Dismayed says

    I only use my iPhone camera to capture notes off of white boards during company meetings. Really dislike using the camera. I’ll take a real camera every time.

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