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PhotoWalkthrough

John Arnold

Free photography video tutorials using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

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Should you replace your SLR with an iPhone?

December 5th, 2011

Episode 39 of 101 episodes

The Guardian recently posted an interesting comparison of pictures taken with an iPhone and the same picture taken with a Canon 5D mk2 (lens not specified). A cursory inspection, especially by a non-professional, might conclude that the iPhone is nearly as good as the SLR - in some cases the exposure looks better on the iPhone. So should pros be considering iPhones as a valid alternative to their SLRs? Sounds like an idiotic question doesn't it and, sure, you obvisouly won't want to shoot a wedding with an iPhone where looking like a pro is as important as shooting like one. But I'm not so sure the answer is as clear cut when you're just shooting for yourself. Camera phones haven't got the pixel count or flexibility of an SLR, yet. And it'll be a while yet before they get full manual controls, large sensors, RAW recording or interchangable lenses. But if all you want are snaps that you'll only ever view on a screen or print small then they're more than good enough - and getting better all the time. This is a perspective issue. When I look at an iPad I see a much more limited version of my desktop computer. I think about all the things I *can't* do with it. When I look at an iPhone I see a much more limited version of a point and shoot camera. But young people don't see limitations - they see opportunities. Young people didn't look at a mobile phone and think, "I'll never be able to type on that". They just used what they had and got really good at it. And in just the same way young people will use these new tools to make genuine art. They will become skilled in ways that we don't appreciate. We always say, "it's the photographer, not the camera", don't we? And while they're making art those "lesser" tools will improve until they're nipping at the heels of our "proper" gear. We can see that improvement happening already. That's what that The Guardian's comparison article is all about. We have to be honest with ourselves about the state of technology or we'll end up being one of those old guys still buying 33rpm records and complaining that we don't understand how people can put up with the dreadful quality of those awful CD things.

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