Not to date myself, but my first cell phone didn’t have a camera. Those that did were amazing and “luxurious.” It didn’t matter that it was three megapixels and you could barely make out what you were taking pictures of. It was crazy to think you had a camera at your fingertips all the time – even if it wasn’t the greatest one.
Then something started happening. Cameras on phones became the standard and the quality started getting better. This enraged photographers everywhere. (Myself included.) It was bad enough that with the prices of DSLRs coming down, everyone thought they were a photographer, but now? Now almost everyone with the latest smartphone thought they were a photographer! What an outrage!
Ok so maybe it wasn’t nearly that dramatic, but it did create some eye rolls in the photography community. We always said “a cell phone camera will never replace a DSLR.” While cell phone cameras still haven’t matched the ability of the DSLR with depth of field and metering (despite apps you can download to mimic this), I think there really will be a time in the near future where this might be the case.
I’m not super into specs so I’m not going to go into detachable cell phone lenses and whether portrait mode on the iPhone 7 plus is good or not. What I will say is this: I’m not so sure photographers should be so angry about this anymore. I’m certainly not. If anything, with the quality of cell phone cameras increasing, it’s an amazing opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try a different format.
When I shot film, I remember saying (and hearing), that the megapixels on a digital camera will never match the quality of a large format negative. With the introduction of gigapixels, I’m not so sure anymore.
Again, we can start a debate and bring in all the specs, or we can just embrace what’s going on and as artists, see it as a different way to express ourselves. It’s important to remember that the quality of a camera will never dictate whether or not you can take an amazing photo. That comes with vision. If you gave me the highest quality brushes and paint in the world, I would still probably make a portrait of a stick figure. The quality of the tools doesn’t make me any more of a painter than a “nice camera” makes anyone a photographer. So I say, don’t resist the change, embrace it. *
*this has nothing to do with politics. Just sayin’. 😉