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05-10-2019, 09:46 AM   #1
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Why A BIG Camera When The Latest Smart Phones Are So Capable?

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Last month I visited my brother in Phoenix Arizona USA. We went on many nature hikes. As usual, I brought along a camera, and my brother (who also loves to photograph) brought along his camera.

On this trip I took my new Panasonic micro 4/3rds camera and a couple lenses (20mm, 90mm). My brother shot his smartphone, the latest offering from Samsung.

To my surprise, he got more keeper images than I did, and his best images were better than my best images were!

Unless you've done a side-by-side shoot against the latest smart phone cameras from iPhone/Google/Samsung, you have no idea how far their built in cameras have evolved. I've got an iPhone 6, and it's images are a far cry from those now produced by the iPhone 10 XS!


Check out this article where a professional printer talks about how the latest smartphone cameras are making image files that produce surprisingly good 30-inch by 40-inch prints. Also, the latest smart phones have great HDR and Panoramic capabilities, and have larger 12MP sensors that produce RAW files that can be editied in Lightroom mobile.

The gap is narrowing between smartphone images and big camera images.

Me, I intend to keep shooting my Pentax K-1's because I'm a bokeholic and love the DOF and 3D-pop I get from shooting fast lenses wide open on a full frame sensor.

Have you ever shot one of the latest smartphones? How does it's images compare with images from your big camera? What makes a big camera's images better than images from one of the latest smartphones?


Last edited by Fenwoodian; 05-10-2019 at 10:44 AM.
05-10-2019, 09:49 AM - 8 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
Why do YOU shoot a big camera?
Because I love photography
05-10-2019, 10:00 AM - 8 Likes   #3
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05-10-2019, 10:03 AM - 5 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
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Me, I intend to keep shooting my Pentax K-1's because I'm a bokeholic and love the DOF and 3D-pop I get from shooting fast lenses wide open on a full frame sensor.

Why do YOU shoot a big camera?
a) Sometimes I want to shoot MF film, and the color palette of Ektar or tonality of XP2+ just isn't the same as digital.
b) Shooting analog is slower and demands more patience and vision; the process, not just the product.
c) Control of aperture and shutter speed.
d) I prefer analog dials, button, knobs over menu driven controls.
e) More likely to use a tripod and long exposures.
f) Because I like using 35 year old lenses and cameras interchangeably with new gear. I also have an iPhone6 and wouldn't want to upgrade every 2-3 years just to keep up with technology.
g) RAW (for all of us using pre-iPhone8).

05-10-2019, 10:17 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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I shoot with K50, K3 and K1 for the same reason I shoot Pentax cameras to begin with. They are photographers cameras.

Cell phones, as good as some are, in my opinion, still belong in the bathroom selfie crowd..

Don't get rude, just how I feel.
05-10-2019, 10:32 AM - 6 Likes   #6
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Smartphones killed the generic "Point and Shoot" or P&S cameras, thats' history. Right before the death of P&S cameras, they got pretty good.
To be fair, there are still some P&S cameras out there because they offer something a phone can't give.
Walking around, snapping photos, good light...yeah, nothing probably beats a smartphone these days for those simple workflows.

But....

The minute you want to *do* something with a smartphone, it falls flat on its face with all the limitations...and the chasm is pretty large.
Because of the form factor and being a multi-use device, will probably never work out as a total replacement for "real cameras".
That being said, having the decent camera in the smartphone allows me to always have a camera with me, which is priceless in some situations.
A smartphone is just another photographic tool to me...oh...and of course a web interface and a phone.
05-10-2019, 10:42 AM   #7
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Original Poster
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LaurenOE, love your comments, very specific.

For the rest of you, I want to hear about your specific experiences shooting the latest smartphones. Let's hear from iPhone XS users, Samsung Galaxy 10 users, and Google Pixel 2 and 3 users.

Don't want to hear general nonspecific comments based upon your experience with ancient smartphones. I'm talking the latest and greatest smartphone image making technology. If you have no personal experience with the latest smartphone cameras, you have no idea how far they've come, so please don't even bother to comment.

As far as I can see, unless your are shooting wildlife, fast action, LONG shutter speeds, bokeh, low light, doing HEAVY editing in post (e.g. lots of layers) or making GIANT sized prints, I see little advantage to shooting a big camera over the latest smartphone. Are there any other photographic styles or applications that the latest smartphones can't adequately capture and require you to shoot a big camera?

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 05-10-2019 at 11:00 AM.
05-10-2019, 11:07 AM - 4 Likes   #8
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because i like shooting wildlife, fast action, LONG shutter speeds, bokeh, low light, doing HEAVY editing in post

My phone is a Galaxy S8 - so I can't answer to the other part, but I like being in control of the image I make


Last edited by ffking; 05-10-2019 at 03:19 PM.
05-10-2019, 11:16 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
.

For the rest of you, I want to hear about your specific experiences shooting the latest smartphones. Let's hear from iPhone XS users, Samsung Galaxy 10 users, and Google Pixel 2 and 3 users.

Don't want to hear general nonspecific comments based upon your experience with ancient smartphones. I'm talking the latest and greatest smartphone image making technology. If you have no personal experience with the latest smartphone cameras, you have no idea how far they've come, so please don't even bother to comment.
Thank you for being so specific in your request for information, therefore no comment
05-10-2019, 11:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
.

LaurenOE, love your comments, very specific.

For the rest of you, I want to hear about your specific experiences shooting the latest smartphones. Let's hear from iPhone XS users, Samsung Galaxy 10 users, and Google Pixel 2 and 3 users.

Don't want to hear general nonspecific comments based upon your experience with ancient smartphones. I'm talking the latest and greatest smartphone image making technology. If you have no personal experience with the latest smartphone cameras, you have no idea how far they've come, so please don't even bother to comment.

As far as I can see, unless your are shooting wildlife, fast action, LONG shutter speeds, bokeh, low light, doing HEAVY editing in post (e.g. lots of layers) or making GIANT sized prints, I see little advantage to shooting a big camera over the latest smartphone. Are there any other photographic styles or applications that the latest smartphones can't adequately capture and require you to shoot a big camera?
For me it would be product photography. I started a project that that involves a lot of it. With a phone i could never get straight lines, and a nice perspective.

Currently i use a Pentax KP with the 35 macro and pixel shift, and i can say i am really pleased. I use a cheap light box, an the results are really nice, lots of detail, perfect colors and also SHARP

edit: and some proof (soc jpg - small)
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX KP  Photo 

Last edited by robiles; 05-10-2019 at 11:25 AM.
05-10-2019, 11:19 AM - 7 Likes   #11
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Easy:





Cellphones do quite well if you are dealing with well lit scenes where you want a deep depth of field and a field of view similar to a 28mm on full frame. For most people that is all they will ever need or want. An example recently for me was when I went to my son's school band concert. A bunch of other parents I know through scouts asked if I could also take pictures of their kids as well. They had various modern phones with good modern cellphone cameras. Before it started and at the beginning I stood in back with my 300mm f/4 and K-3 they were where ever in the audience. They got grainy somewhat blurry images where you could find their but they were tiny. I got sharp lower noise images where each kid filled a large portion of the frame.

You mention keep rate which seems to be highly depending on ones own ability to frame a good picture and for that gear doesn't matter. If the keep rate is bad because of motion blur or missed focus then it is probably shooting technique and settings. A 3mm focal length lens even at f/1.2 focused at something even a few feet away gives a huge depth of filed, yet a 28mm lens, having a similar field of view on full frame, will have a much shallower depth of field so missing the focus is a lot easier, especially with autofocus where your DSLR will be using phase detection while the cellphone is using contrast detection. Cellphones will also crank that ISO up to their maximum (usually around 1600) so that they can get the exposure length down and then aggressively apply noise reduction.
05-10-2019, 11:31 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
Are there any other photographic styles or applications that the latest smartphones can't adequately capture and require you to shoot a big camera?
I can't imagine getting paid professionally to shoot portraits or real estate or catalog photography with a cell phone.....even if the phone generated images meet or exceed expectations.

I had to deal with this sort of bias for years when I was shooting professionally with high end Minolta cameras. I was paid less than my Nikon counterparts and the better jobs went to Nikonians....until I switched.

With Pentax MF, I've also had to deal with the Hassie/Rollei/Mamiya/Bronica bias because only real medium format cameras have interchangeable backs, finders, etc.

So in terms of perception, you "could" produce adequate results from a smartphone, but you may not get hired when and if they ask you what you're shooting with.
05-10-2019, 11:40 AM - 1 Like   #13
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What a coincidence!

I was just over at boardgamegeek.com in their off topic forum called Chit Chat participating in a thread titled Why I Will Never Be Rich. I posted my “This is madness!” Photo of all my Pentax gear and someone followed up with a photo of an iPhone on a tripod aimed at a stunning landscape next to the resulting stunning landscape photograph.

That poster asked, “If you can do this with an iPhone, why do you need expensive camera gear?”

I haven’t decided if I want to invest the time to reply but I did go through my favorite photos looking to see how many I could or couldn’t have gotten with a cell phone. But I haven’t shot very many landscapes in the last two years.

Last edited by Perfessor5646; 05-10-2019 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Spelling, capitalization and punctuation errors.
05-10-2019, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I don't think a cell phone will ever be able to replace my wildlife setup of a Canon 600 F4 IS II and 1DX2. And I don't think they will ever be able to make 20x30" prints that look as good as shots from my K1.

But for most people who don't hang out on camera forums cell phones do a real good job.
05-10-2019, 12:23 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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Why on god's green earth would I feel the need to justify how I go about my photographic pursuits?

Edit: this was not targeted at the OP, but rather the person who seemingly challenged @Perfessor5646 in his usage and enjoyment of gear.

Last edited by luftfluss; 05-10-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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