Yesterday I tried going to one of my most frequent photographic locations with just the iPhone 4S and a fairly basic point-and-shoot camera, and no tripod (but a small Gorillapod to act as a handle to make holding the iPhone easier). Neither camera has any real control over focus or exposure (i.e. program mode only), and neither can shoot RAW. I suppose the limitations of such cameras depend to some extent on the type of images you are shooting, and the fact that I shot quite a lot of detail, close up and requiring control of depth of field, served to emphasise these limitations. I certainly had a quite exceptionally high number of total rejects – i.e. deleted from disc, mainly due to focus or movement problems.
I’ve found the iPhone quite entertaining to use in the past, but it does depend on the type of shot, and images which are taken using Hipstamatic, or are subsequently seriously modified using Instagram, seem generally most rewarding – they are taken more for effect than accuracy. Yesterday I was also trying out the new olloclip fisheye/wide-angle/macro attachment. It’s fairly cheap and attaches cleverly, though it is rather easily moved, and when it is in place it covers the switch-off button of the phone. Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, the optical quality except at the centre of the image is very poor:
The image above is an example shot with the fisheye attachment.
I’ve been quite impressed by using the iPhone ‘stitching’ apps, such as Photosynth, for producing panoramas – image quality is quite result, and distortion is not such an issue (of course sometimes the reason for using a fisheye is specifically to get distortion). Naturally they aren’ usually much good if the subject, or something in it, is moving.
Overall, though, I found the experience of using these limited cameras yesterday quite frustrating, and I’m unlikely to try going out again without a camera which can be controlled properly, and can shoot RAW, though the iPhone will always be with me, and no doubt I’ll try using it for effect sometimes.
Below are three more images from yesterday, all taken with the basic, program-mode-only, P&S. You may recognise the first one, taken previously with a more serious camera.