Saturday, October 17, 2015

What sort of camera do I use?

What sort of camera do I use?  A reader wrote and asked, so I'll answer for everyone: for over a year now, I've used nothing other than my iPhone 5.  Usually I don't even post-process them; they're straight out of the camera.  Occasionally I'll do a little color-correction, temperature-correction, or cropping (I did all three on a few photos this morning). 

Do I miss the 35mm SLR?  Most of the time, no.  And I certainly don't miss lugging all that stuff around!  The iPhone's convenience and the fact that I'm always carrying it on my person trumps the technical advantages of the SLR the vast majority of the time.  Occasionally I miss the telephoto lens (naturally, the biggest and heaviest of the lot), especially for wildlife.  Even more occasionally I miss the macro lens, for flower closeups.  Most of the time, though, the combination of the wide angle lens on the iPhone and its pixel density lets me do anything I want to. We'll be getting a new phone sometime soon, and the new iPhone 6 camera with built-in optical stabilization and even higher pixel density will only increase these factors.

I likely will get a system camera again someday, but I'm guessing that it won't be a 35mm system.  The old standby camera companies (Nikon, Canon, etc.) are struggling because so many of the people who would formerly have purchased their 35mm SLR products are moving to either the smaller dedicated cameras or, like me, are simply using their mobile phone's camera.  The camera companies still have the advantage on the glass (the lenses), but the phone companies (especially Apple) have the upper hand on the software, display, and integration side.  The sensors are pretty much a tossup.  I'm sure this will all settle out one of these days, and somehow some company is going to get the best of both worlds.  I wouldn't dare try to predict which company that would be; there are just way too many possibilities.  About the only thing I'd bet on would be that the sensors in the future will trend smaller than 35mm, and consequently the lenses will be much smaller (and therefore more convenient!).  When it looks like the dust has settled for a while, and that there's something resembling a standard for the glass emerging, that's when I'll likely jump into a system camera again...

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