Last week I was catching up on a few articles on Digital Photography Review (www.dpreview.com), and one article that piqued my interest was this one ‘Roundup: 11 Cool Photography-related Kickstarter Projects’ (http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/10/19/110-cool-photography-related-kickstarter-projects). There were some cool proposals, and one or two of them might make it on my wish list but the thing that surprised me was the number of photography related gadgets that were proposed related to shooting photos on mobile phones. Pretty much all of them were focussed on the iPhone, which should be no surprise given that as a single device it probably has the greatest market share (versus the fragmented number of Android offerings). Even This is different from the fact that for the OS share of the market Android is definitely king in the smart phone space. But I digress. This irked me a little, because I felt like all this mobile phone photography focus was taking eyes off the prize – how do we make “proper” photography even better.

Now don’t get me wrong, I shoot mobile photos. My weapons of light are my digital SLR, my digital point and shoot, and (as a last resort) my mobile phone camera. But the last one I really don’t like. I asked a fellow amateur photographer friend of mine, who is currently in the closing stages of a photo a day for a year, whether he ever takes a mobile phone photo as his entry. He emphatically answered no! His showed me his weapons of light, which he carries with him daily, being his digital SLR or his top end digital point and shoot. And sometimes he carries both. For him, quality is everything.

So what do I think are the strengths of using a mobile phone camera. We both agreed that the ability to document at any time what was happening was a big strength. You know, pull out the phone and docu-shoot what is happening now. The ability to share the photo instantly on any social networking site, upload to the cloud, or even post to my blog was a big bonus as well. It is the one device that you have on you all the time, regardless of where you are. And the plethora of photo software options that you can install through either Google Play store or iTunes is incredible. But in my opinion there are too many detracting points around my phone camera for it to be a serious:

  1. pocket fluff is always on the glass (lens)
  2. the sensor size is pretty small so regardless of the quality of the glass the picture quality is average at best
  3. proper zoom is just… absent
  4. exposure capabilities are just poor
  5. low light shooting sucks, wit the flash being a bit mickey mouse
  6. the form factor of these “cameras” is just bad.

This list in itself would encourage me to relegate the mobile phone camera to the scrap, but it is probably the most common weapon of light I use to shoot at the Pok – and of course he hams it up for the camera too. Quickly followed by “show me Daddy!”

I trawled my phone gallery to see if there were any photos that I would be proud to post on Flickr, and of the close to 1,000 snaps I have captured in the last few years I was struggling to pick 10. 10 snaps that stood out by themselves as ones that could compete with what I can capture on a dedicated camera. But I think that these ones are cool. I would be keen to see what other people think, and if they have other “phone” snaps that, without photoshopping, they would be happy to blow up and hang on a wall in their house.

Winter sunrise over the CityReal Life Comic LuggageFiery Sunset SilhouetteStar Spangled Banner in LightsTerritorial DogGull on WatchNeon Tree under the OverpassLeaning Glass WallsSandstone SentinelI guess for me, like my photography mate, I am adding to the wish list a top-end point and shoot that I am going to carry around with me EVERYWHERE. Add maybe an eye-fi card to have some wireless capability. And hopefully up my game by shooting more often – maybe even daily. Me thinks the Canon Powershot G15 is my target addition to the light arsenal.

Next clue on my site header photo – the building has appeared in a James Bond film.