Raymond Wong of Mashable ignored his Sony A6300 system on a recent trip to Japan. It stayed in his luggage while he spent his time shooting with the new iPhone 8 Plus. It is, he says, now his favourite camera:
“….The iPhone — more specifically, the iPhone 8 Plus — is more than just a “good enough” camera. Apple’s team of a 1,000+ working on the iPhone’s cameras have finally made a photo and video powerhouse that convinced me to leave my real camera and its superior image quality in my luggage.
“By the end of the trip, I had taken about 700 distinct photos and videos with my iPhone 8 Plus over 11 days compared to the 30-or-so I did with my Sony. One thing became very clear as I soaked in Japan: The iPhone 8 Plus is now my favourite camera to shoot with.”
Raymond cites the small size and weight, the excellent image quality, speed of processing, low-light excellence as primary considerations. In addition, he points out that the 8 Plus is so much better at shooting video. Not much about sensor size, but maybe we obsess about that too much. Raymond sums up:
“I could go on and on in detail about all the small ways the iPhone 8 Plus is a more convenient camera — like how it fits in places regular cameras can’t, or how much better battery life is, or how great it is to be able to edit photos on the go — but I’ll spare you. I think you get the point.”
I do, Raymond, I do. I don’t have an iPhone 8 Plus (I’m waiting for the iPhone X) but I do have the 7 Plus and even that makes a superb camera. From a purely personal aspect, however, I’ve never felt able to use it in place of a standard camera — it’s mainly the form form factor and the hold-from-the-face viewing which doesn’t come naturally to me. I suspect, though, that the thousands of smartphone users who now fancy themselves as pro photographers would disagree. It’s probably the only form of photography many of them have known. As far as I’m concerned, a smartphone is fine in emergency and the results can undoubtedly be impressive, but for me a smartphone couldn’t replace a camera. I’m open to persuasion, of course.
While I agree with Raymond’s contention that the point-and-shoot camera market has been murdered by the smartphone, I happen to believe that the smartphone is the best thing that has happened to photography in the past fifty years. Far from killing off cameras, smartphones are creating a whole new generation of budding photographers who are flattered by the results they can achieve so easily.
Their next step, I believe, is to invest in some “proper” camera gear in the hope that it will improve the skills they’ve sort of acquired by accident with their iPhone. There’s truth in this and it has to be good news for the camera industry, in particularly the mirrorless offerings in micro four-thirds and APS-C.
Do you think the iPhone 8 Plus — or a similar smartphone — is all the camera you will need in the future?