Saturday, March 01, 2014

Exploring with the iPhone 5s


During February 6 of my photos were selected by Flickr's mysterious algorithm to be in Explore, the daily display of the 500 most "interesting" photos on Flickr. The number was unusual. I've never had that many photos in Explore in one month. Even more unusual was that they were all taken with my iPhone 5s.

Since upgrading my phone last November (mostly for the camera), I've been doing almost all of my personal photography with the iPhone. There are several reasons why I've been leaving most of my gear at home, the most immediate being our brutal winter. It's easy to keep the phone warm in a coat pocket, and shooting requires just the briefest touch, while using a DSLR on a cold winter day is a great way to suck all the warmth in your body out through your fingertips.

But there's more. The resolution is much better than my old iPhone 4. The lens is faster than those in older iPhones; the sensor and low light performance are better. Processing apps have become more flexible and powerful. I love the immediacy of shooting on the iPhone, and I like being able to process images on the phone while the memory of what I was trying to capture is fresh. I really like black and white, and the improvements in hardware and software allow me to make excellent bw conversions right in the camera.

Of course, the iPhone can't do everything. There are times I need a bigger sensor, full manual control, a longer lens or a much wider lens.That's not surprising.

What does surprise me is how many things the little phone does well.