The camera you have with you
More and more, photos I share with you here come from my iPhone 5. It’s always in my pocket.
My iPhone’s lens can’t match the sharpness and detail of my better film cameras or even of my go-to digital camera, the highly competent Canon PowerShot S95. The iPhone offers no optical zoom; anything you shoot at or near maximum digital zoom clearly shows the lens’s sharpness limits. Also, the iPhone isn’t good in very low light, where I can shoot my S95 all night. But within these limits, the iPhone 5 is a perfectly adequate camera.
The iPhone often returns startlingly pleasing results. I came upon this classic ’70s BMW in Fountain Square one evening and the iPhone captured the delicious early-evening sunlight as it reflected sublimely off the car’s finish.
I took hundreds of photos with my Canon PowerShot S95 on my Route 66 trip earlier this year. But sometimes I also took an iPhone shot so I could share it quickly on Facebook and also to record my location as the iPhone geotags all photos. To my surprise I often liked the iPhone photo better. Here’s an iPhone shot of a brick section of Route 66 in Illinois. At this resolution, the detail is excellent – you can almost count those bricks, and the light dances off them.
In contrast, here’s a shot I took with my S95 from about the same spot. It lacks the iPhone shot’s clarity and punch.
Even though I used my Nikon N60 on my recent road trip, I took several iPhone shots so I could share images from the road on Facebook in real time. All the photos in my recent post about the Medora Covered Bridge came from the iPhone. Here’s one of those shots.
I took a shot from the same spot with my N60. The iPhone rendered the skies bluer, but the N60 (with the 28-80mm AF Nikkor lens, the Fujicolor 200 film, and the processing and scanning by Dwayne’s Photo) rendered truer greens.
But the iPhone couldn’t touch the N60′s lens for sharpness. Below, I’ve snipped out the same portion of these shots from the N60 (left) and the iPhone (right).
The story is the same when comparing shots between my iPhone and my Canon PowerShot S95: at maximum resolution, the iPhone’s lens just isn’t as sharp.
Still, I am thinking seriously about trying out my iPhone as my only camera on my next road trip. Because it is connected to my car’s stereo via USB so I can listen to my music, it is always fully charged. It’s thin and easy to carry. Its resolution is good enough for the documentary shots I normally take while on the road. At the resolutions which I normally display my road photos, the reduced sharpness isn’t a problem.
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