I took a walk after work the other day, the first time I had poked my head outside all day, and was pleased to find excellent golden light. I made a number of photos on that walk with my phone.
I had recently upgraded my phone to the new Apple iPhone 12 mini. My iPhone 6s no longer held a charge all day, even after I replaced the battery early in 2020. Also, thanks to Apple’s planned obsolescence, my phone had taken its last major iOS update. In time, the apps I use would stop updating, and some would stop working.
A small rant: I was happy with my 6s. It did everything I need from a pocketable Internet device. I did not want a new phone. Apple’s latest iPhone features are interesting, to be sure, but I don’t need them.
I briefly considered chucking it all and getting a Google Pixel, a capable Android phone at a reasonable price. I also considered buying an iPhone SE, which has the same basic body as my 6s with up-to-date innards at a not unreasonable price. But then my carrier offered me a surprising sum to trade in my well-used old phone on any iPhone 12.
That brought the iPhone 12 mini into play. I dislike large phones — my one gripe with my 6s was its size. It took up my whole front pocket and could not be used entirely one-handed. The 12 mini is noticeably smaller than my 6s (though larger than my old iPhone 5) and is more comfortable to carry and use. It’s also less expensive than the full-sized 12 and the plus-sized 12 Pro.
But back to my walk. Whenever I unexpectedly come upon something lovely, I’m always grateful to have my iPhone in my pocket. All three of my iPhones have had smashingly good cameras — not perfect, but what camera is? As long as you have at least decent light and don’t mind its wide-angle ways, you can get the photograph.
You can pinch the screen to zoom the iPhone camera, but it’s a digital zoom. At phone screen sizes the zoomed images look all right, but at larger sizes fine details can be lost. I haven’t used my iPhone 12 mini enough to be sure, but it might yield better zoomed photos than any of my previous iPhones. The camera app now shows how much you’ve zoomed; this photo is at about 2x.
Here’s the same scene at 1x.
The iPhone 12 mini has a second camera with an even wider lens. The camera app shows it as “0.5x.” I’m sure this camera is most useful to photograph large groups of people. It’s hard to tell what the subject is in this photo, but at least the sky is dramatic.
I’m confident I could have made equally good photos with my 11-year-old Canon S95, and probably even better photos with my wife’s newer Sony RX-100. But neither of those compact cameras are as pocketable as my iPhone.
This photo has color that reminds me a little of classic Kodak color film. The iPhone 12 did a pretty good job of capturing the details of the branches.
Apple has improved its cameras, sometimes massively, with each generation of iPhone. I expect my 12 mini to get shots my 6s used to struggle with, especially in low light.
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