Taking pictures have always been one of those things that you can’t stop doing. We’ve come a long way from different kinds of cameras. From film cameras and instant ones which died out (or just minimized) to digital ones which continues to expound. From large, bulky ones to ones that fit in our bags and pockets. Heck, when camera phones arrived, you have to have one or else you’re not in. From VGAs to Megapixels, camera phones have evolved and continued to rival professional ones. In a way.
I am currently dabbling in photography and due to the lack of having a professional camera, I wondered if a cellphone camera would suffice until I am able to buy one. Or if I need to buy one at all, given that some smart phone have even better cameras than professional cameras, let’s see and find out.
There are a lot of thoughts in this regard, and I must say currently, phoneography (phone photography. I don’t have an iPhone so I won’t call it iPhoneography.) and traditional photography are neck and neck. There are those who believe that phoneography is already acceptable as a form of professional photography, even replace the traditional ones, and there are those the see phoneography as “cheating” photography. After all, editing photos is a breeze with phoneography.
Still, like I said, there are people who use phoneography professionally. For one, Julian Calverley, a professional photographer, have used his own iPhone and his iPhone only, to shoot beautiful photos worthy to be put into a book. He even shared how he started iPhoneography, and even shared how he pursue phoneography in an interview.
Of course, there those, professional photographers most likely, who will ridicule the use of a phone as professional cameras. For them, professional works goes with professional equipment. Something like “The proper tool for the proper job.” If you did not use professional equipment, then your work is amateur. But is that really the case?
Let me list down a few pros and cons of using phoneography and photography. I’ll list at least 5 of each for both.
Phoneography (whether you’re using an iPhone, and Android phone, or a tablet, this is the kind of photography that you’ll be using)
- You won’t miss a photo opp (photo opportunity) – Do you ever leave your phone at home or at your office? No, you don’t. Unless you somehow forgot it charging at the corner. Having a thin, lightweight phone with a camera on you, you’ll be able to snap photos as quick as the brown fox jumping over a lazy dog. When something unexpected comes up, you pull out your phone, open the camera app (i prefer to have my camera app in a short cut), and then you snap the photo. “CLICK!” just as easy. There are also photo journalists; journalists who share stories using the photo they took. It’s a whole lot easier to pull out your phone and open the app than take out your DSLR, set up the lenses, and prepare for the shot. Things might have already passed by the time you point your camera.
- It’s a whole lot easier to share – Whether you want to share your photos to friends, family members, or the whole world, all you need is wi-fi. And let’s face it, almost all corners of the world has wi-fi. You don’t have to pull out your laptop, plug in your camera, move the files from folder to folder, then upload it to social media sites.
- Editing is a breeze – Let’s face it, most photos require editing. Whether you’re removing a blemish on the face of your subject, adjusting brightness, contrast, sharpness, even size. All can be done with an app. Just now, a friend showed me how a professional photographer was able to focus on the subject and blurred the background. I showed the same to him a few moments after, editing a photo I just took. It’s far easier than opening your laptop and uploading the photo on your trusty photo editor. (I do recommend editing photos on your trusty photo editor on a computer. It has a lot more to offer.) Snap a pic, edit it, upload it. Easy as 1, 2, 3.
- You can take a photo incognito – Let’s face it, if you see a person pointing a camera at you, what do you do? You hide of course, too suspicious. Too obvious he’s taking a photo. When a camera phone is pointed at you, you either think the photographer is capturing something behind you, or he’s just taking a photo in general, or doing something else entirely. There’s some kind of anonymity. Although now, having a camera phone pointed at you also results in being suspicious, as many news bites and events have been captured by camera phones by citizen journalists. Also, it’s easy to hide that you’re taking a photo. You could just say you’re doing something else when trying to take a photo incognito.
- You won’t have extra baggage – What does a phone need to be used as a camera? A charge. As long as a phone has enough juice to take a photo, you can take a photo. You don’t need fancy equipments for your camera to take a good photo. Sure, your phone won’t hold out for the whole day, but that’s why you carry a portable charger. A powerbank. Heck, you can even charge your phone while taking a photo. And even if you do need accessories to take better photos, lenses for phones are not as large. You won’t need an extra bag just for a charger and lenses in a box as big as a pack of cards.
You can read this article for better understanding of pros of phoneography.
Of course, taking photos with a camera has their cons as well.
- Photos are not as good – Let’s face it, there are shots that we wish we took with a DSLR or a professional camera. A cellphone camera is only limited by the hardware you can put in a thin, lightweight phone, so you can’t expect better photos than a DSLR no matter how expensive your phone is.
- You won’t be able to compose your photos better – Like I said above, there are those times when you would wish you have a DSLR to take the shot. One of the reasons would be composition. Phone generally doesn’t have much settings to tweak to improve the photo. You have some, but they’re always not enough.
- Battery problems – If you constantly use your phone to shoot photos in the morning, there’s a huge chance you wont be able to use your phone after lunch, even if you fully charge your phone. Phones have more things to power up than a regular camera, so you drain your battery faster. Although you can use a power bank to charge your phone, a powerbank can only fully charge your phone twice (some power banks may be able to do more than that but in my experience, twice is the most I can get out of my power bank).
- Shutter lag – There are times (actually, almost all of the time) that when taking a photo, camera phones do not take the shot instantly. You see a shooting star, you take out your phone, ready yourself for the shot and when the perfect shot presents itself to you, you take it. You check the photo, it does not have that perfect shot. This is one of the problems with phoneography.
- The Flash – Not talking about the hero here. Let’s admit, there are times when good photos should be lighter or brighter. And a camera phone’s flash just doesn’t cut it. The flash is too bright the it discolours the shot itself. You’re better of with natural lighting or none at all.
Check out this article on how a phone camera is outshone by s DSLR
Regular Photography (whether you use a DSLR, a point & shoot digital camera or an analog or film camera, this one’s for you.
Every photography hobbyist, or professional dreams of having their own camera. Be it a DSLR camera or a point & shoot, one would have either or both.
- Better image quality – Since cameras are made for one thing and one thing only, they do not have to sacrifice hardware just to make sure the other capabilities of the device won’t be affected. With better lenses and sensors, a DSLR camera will have a wider range of situations where it can be used.
- Shutter speed that rivals The Flash – I may be exaggerating, but faster shutter speed keeps you from getting frustrated over a shot not taken. Or, well, not taken in time. That’s why at most sporting events, a DSLR is used. This is to capture those great moments that happens in a split of second. Also, there are sporting events like running, boxing, soccer, and any other sport that has a lot of movement. To capture these movements, shutter speed is important or your picture is blurred.
- You won’t need to worry when you go camping – Since a DSLR or any camera is made only for one thing, it does not consume to much energy. A single charge of a DSLR can take up to days even without charging. And even if you do run out of juice, you can always carry a spare or two that’ll last as long.
- It’s an earner – Think about it. Professional photographers use DSLR to do photo shoots, portrait shots, wedding photos, and events photos. These are good ways to earn especially when you need a new lens (as will be explained later). If you do photography on the side, you can sell your photos in stock image websites (you can actually do the same using a phone camera, but photos taken by a DSLR always looks better).
- A photo that is not lopsided – For one thing, a camera has its shape to better hold it. If a camera is hard to hold, then chances are the pictures are lopsided or blurred.
- It’s heavy – Probably not that heavy, but heavy all the same, and large, when you compare it to a smart phone that fits easily in your pocket. Since a DSLR takes a lot of accessories, having a separate bag is advisable to carry all the other accessories.
- It’s also expensive – Yes, an iPhone may be worth Php 50,000 whereas you can buy a DSLR at Php 20,000 (the cheapest I found) but when you buy an iPhone, a Samsung phone, or any other smartphone, you don’t need any other accessory. A DSLR, to work at various conditions, needs different sets of lenses to do so. Lenses are expensive, heavy and fragile, and to travel with this much equipment plus your bag of clothes, I must say good luck.
- You’ll probably miss a good photo op – Well, only if you’re not ready. In this world of photo sharing, commenting and capturing, who wouldn’t be redy to take a photo? With your phone camera of course. Let’s face it, it takes a whole lot of time to get you camera out, power it up, adjust settings and, if needed, change lenses. Gone is that photo opp. Who would walk in a crowded street with a DSLR hanging from their neck, ready to shoot a photo if, and only if, it comes?
- It’s kind of dangerous to walk around in a crowded street with a DSLR hanging from your neck – It’s noticeable, it’s expensive, and it’s sellable. What more can a pickpocket or snatcher ask for? Having a camera alway at the ready has its advantages, but it’s disadvantages far outweighs it more. Either your camera is taken away from you forcibly without getting hurt, or you’ll get hurt. You might be asking, “Who in their right mind would have a camera dangling from their necks?” Let me ask you in return, how would you capture a moment if you’re not ready?
- You can’t really share your photos ASAP – You either wait until you get home, or you bring out a laptop from the depths of your bag to post photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This is changing though, as there are already DSLRs that can pair up with your phone and transfer the photos for upload. Of course, check number two above.
Check out this one for a better list of Pros and Cons of a DSLR
Whether you have a smart phone that can take great pictures or a DSLR that you have no problem lugging around, everything depends on what are you going to use it for.
Whether you mostly shoot weddings, or family events, schools events or just at random, the type of photography greatly influences the type of camera to use for the purpose. – Humza Mehbub, hongkiat.com
Think first before you buy a DSLR or if you already have one, make sure to take good care of it. Whether you use an Android Smartphon or a DSLR, an iPhone or a Point & Shoot one, remember that it’s not the camera that decides how good the photo is, it’s the photographer. YOu can’t buy the composition of the photo, only you can do that.