It’s (almost) All About Creativity

It’s (almost) All About Creativity

A Perspective on Phone Cameras

Every time I read or hear about developments in phone cameras, that are designed to replace “real cameras”, I feel compelled to flesh out a response.  Arrogant,? Misguided? An exercise in futility? Doesn’t really matter? Probably!
Regardless, here is my view.
It is often more convenient and simpler for me to make an image with my iPhone 8 Plus than my Sony A7 III, as long as there is good light. However, I achieve a better end result with my Sony A7 III (and previously owned Interchangeable Lens Cameras), in part because I can do a lot more with it’s (their) much larger image files in post production, including heavy cropping.
Unedited version of Feature Photo (at the top of this blog). Shot in 2005 with Canon 20D,  an 8 Megapixel DSLR.
Of course, “a better end result” is a subjective notion, even though there are measurable benefits in quality with files from the Sony A7III compared to those from an iPhone 8 Plus, for example.
Over exposed, unedited file from Canon 20D
Edited Version with highlights reduced and colours improved
The technological progress being espoused by most phone camera manufacturers is intended to make the small lens, small sensor combo in a phone capable of making images that are Pro level (without the need for post production). That is, removing the photographer from most aspects of image making, except for composing the scene and pressing the shutter button. While composition is very important in the process of image making and is an aspect of photography I enjoy, I like to continue making creative decisions until the image is ready for presentation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was fascinated with the shapes and angles created by this banister and wanted to convey the feeling I experienced when viewing them. But the unedited image did not come close to capturing that feeling. Photo taken with Olympus C5050Z, a 5 megapixel camera with a fixed zoom lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a lot of experimentation in Photoshop I settled on this result


Of course, one can import iPhone (or Smartphone) images into Photoshop (or similar programs / Apps) to manipulate the image, but the amount of processing that can be accomplished is often limited due to the lack of subject detail recorded, smearing of background details and presence of digital artefacts.

Even if the image quality of a “point and shoot phone camera” does come to rival that of a large sensor, interchangeable lens cameras (ILC), I will probably choose to stay with the ILC, so I can, to a greater extent, control choices that contribute to how my images look and the mood they evoke.
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Unedited photo of Plaza de Espana, Spain 2016, taken during a guided tour of Saville.
Obviously, the sun was not in a good position for capturing this photo and I couldn’t wait there until the light changed. Made with Sony A7II.
Processed image is not perfect, but a big improvement over the original
I’m not so old as to oppose or dislike technological progress, but I want to embrace “tech”  that fuels my creativity, not something that attempts to replace it.
I’m definitely interested in improvements to image quality, and my skill level, but my driving forces are enjoyment and creativity, through every phase of image making – visualisation, capture, post production and presentation.
Unedited image – Playing with items at hand in low light, on a white glass top table.
This was part of a project on creativity.
Final result after experimentation in Photoshop
And then, I prefer to use the Electronic View Finder (EVF) on my Sony ILC (or even the Optical View Finder of previous cameras) than the iPhone 8’s screen to compose photos.
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Unedited Image – interior of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, built in the centre of the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain.
Perspective correction, reduction of highlights, boost shadows and colour enhancement.
ILC’s offer another major benefit – the ability to attach different lenses as required, from ultra wide angle through to Super telephoto (although this benefit does come with considerable added expense). I could have done with a wider than 35mm lens for this last shot, but I work with what I have.
Finally, I do agree with the saying, “The best camera is the one you have with you when you need to make the shot”. But why leave it to chance? Make certain you have your camera of choice with you.
If you would like to make a contribution to this topic, feel free to leave a comment below.


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