Better than good enough

camera-transformI have a Nikon digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with multiple detachable lenses, and it takes very good pictures.

More and more, though, it’s taking a back seat to the camera on my iPhone 6.

Because traveling light is very hard, any time I can unburden myself of extra gear when getting ready for a trip, I do. Applying that calculus, it gets easier to justify leaving the DSLR gear at home.

This is the way disruption happens. Some feature or function or product comes along, and displaces a tried-and-true method for doing something.

Photography has evolved

Photography has exhibited enormous disruption in the last two decades. Film photography has largely disappeared, at least for the vast majority of amateur photographers. At sporting events and other public forums, even professional photographers have switched to digital photography.selfie

Portable point-and-shoot digital cameras were very popular for a time, and you still see new form factors and new features introduced each year. But even these camera have taken a back seat to smartphones.

The selfie craze has underscored the ubiquity of smartphone cameras. While you still see DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras at various vacation venues and events, the much more likely instrument for picture taking now is the smartphone.

Great photos with a smartphone camera?

But can you take great photos with a smartphone camera? The short answer is yes. While smartphone cameras vary in their specifications, most recent smartphones have very good cameras.

smartphone-photo-1Add to this onboard editing software with filters and other tools, and one can take extremely nice photos with a smartphone camera.

There are still times when nothing but a DSLR will do. On trips to Australia, Hawaii, Paris, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona, I brought the Nikon and a few of my lenses. And I took thousands of pictures.

One of the nice things about DSLRs is you can easily swap out memory cards and keep taking pictures. Memory (flash) cards can hold up to 64 GB of data. That’s a lot of photos.

On the other hand, for short trips, or for destinations to which I’ve traveled before, I leave the DSLR at home. And even when I have my DSLR, I still use the iPhone to take panoramic pictures and 1080P videos.

Here’s an example of a panoramic shot I took on a recent trip to the Grand Canyon:


The iPhone 6

My current smartphone, the iPhone 6, has 64 GB of on-board storage. Although I have apps, music, and other data on the phone, there’s still plenty of room for photos.

The camera on the iPhone 6 is a very good camera. I won’t argue that it’s the best camera you can get on a smartphone, but it takes beautiful photos in good light and not-so-good light, and is ready at a moment’s notice.iPhone6-photo-mode

Apple refers to its iPhone camera as the iSight camera, and provides information on the specifications here.

I can testify to such nifty features as the focus pixels for fast auto focus, face detection, image stabilization, and exposure control. For me, they really have helped to optimize point-and-shoot functionality.

Also, because I use the Photos app on my Apple devices, and am signed up for Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, photos get uploaded automatically to the cloud at full resolution. And I can see all my photos from any Apple device, including iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, and Apple TV.

What’s not to like?


Here are a few more examples of photos I’ve taken on the iPhone 6 (click to see higher-res versions). Enjoy, and as always, comments welcome.






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