Readers of Macfilos, laden down with their SL2s, M10s and, if wanting a light day out, their Q2s, may bristle at the above headline. But there’s a grain of truth there. Yes, we know all the arguments, but the back-office wizardry in a model smartphone is capable of creating some stunning pictures for the small screen.
Ina Fried, writing on Axios, believes modern smartphones, such as Apple’s new iPhone 13, are showing the way in image processing.
…the real advances have been in what smartphones can do with the images they capture. By passing data from multiple lenses and multiple exposures through their high-end processors, today’s phones can create stunning portraits, freeze fast-moving action, make sunsets and fireworks a snap — and even change the focus after a portrait is taken.
The smartphone saw off the point-and-shoot camera several years ago. As a result, camera manufacturers have gradually moved to high-end products with prices to match. Whereas ten years ago we thought in hundreds of dollars, euros or pounds, today’s all-singing cameras cost in the thousands.
It’s not just the results from the smartphone that appeal. Results that flatter the casual user into believing they are a pro photographer. It’s the convenience and the fact that the phone (and camera) is always in a pocket.
In the old days, even in the heyday of digital point and shoot, cameras were reserved for special occasions. Most non-enthusiasts wouldn’t have carried an IXUS or its equivalent everywhere they went. Now everyone carries a phone everywhere and, as a result, photography has never been more popular.
Says Ina Fried:
The bottom line: Today’s high-end smartphones are expensive, with some models topping out at more than $1,000. But at least for that price you are getting not just a pocket computer and communicator but also one of the world’s best cameras.
Over the past ten years, there has been much gloom in the industry over the challenges and contraction in the mass market caused by the smartphone. But in many ways, this transition has been a good thing. For one, it has forced manufacturers to concentrate on professional-quality equipment, leaving the mass market to the smartphone.
As I’ve said on many occasions, the revolution of smartphone photograph is actually a good thing for the photographic industry. Millions now regard themselves as competent photographers and aspire to a “proper” camera. In effect, the smartphone is the incubator for a future generation of enthusiasts. I think we can look forward with confidence to a streamlined and innovative camera market.