Has Apple finally given its super-fast iPhone a camera worthy of the name? – The Guardian

If you’re a keen photographer (which this columnist is) one of the things you prize most is a strange property called bokeh.

No, I don’t think so. A subset of photographers think that background blur is the best thing since sliced bread, but most serious photographers know that it is just one limited effect in their toolkit, one to definitely not overdo.

In the era when all photography was analogue, the only way to get good bokeh was to use lenses that produced narrow depth of field at wide apertures.

In the era when all photography was analogue, no one used the “B” word, which seems to have been adopted around 1997. People did speak of “shallow depth of field,” and this was an effect that was used in portraits and in macro photography, for the most part, but not just to show off the value of a lens, as is often the case now.

The thing about background blur on the iPhone is that it is blur; it looks very different from what you get with a lens and shallow depth of field. It’s nicely done, but it is visibly different from what you get with the optical characteristics of a good lens.

Episode 20 of the PhotoActive podcast discusses background blur in detail.

Source: Has Apple finally given its super-fast iPhone a camera worthy of the name? | The Guardian

0 thoughts on “Has Apple finally given its super-fast iPhone a camera worthy of the name? – The Guardian

  1. Boohoo. If you want a prime camera go buy a real camera. Other than that a good camera only works for a good photographer. And they are probably well aware of the limitations of such a small camera to begin with. Why even waste a Watt of energy on a camera that goes to waste in more than 99% of the cases?

    • This comment seems elitist. So my pictures go to waste because I’m not a “good photographer”? And who defines what a “good photographer” is?

      I have friends who are professional photographers, and they still carry and use an iPhone camera all the time, because the best camera is the one you have with you.

      Just like with desktop publishing, affordable cameras are democratizing photography, and the quote-unquote “professionals” are always going to bristle at the idea that anyone can be a photographer. And just like any other technology, the results are going to get better and better until they are good enough for most people.

      • I have no idea about your pictures. I even wasn’t commenting on them in the first place so why bring that up? The framing game and the definition game I can play too and contributes nothing to the discussion.

        And professional photographers using an iPhone camera goes to show that I am correct. A good camera does not a good photographer make. A professional however recognises a useable tool when he sees one.

        The quote-unquote professionals see that the anyones are making all the glaring mistakes that can be made. Good software does not a good web designer make. And you can repeat that for a lot of technology that seemingly democratises areas where the anyones do not have the first clue of how much they have to learn outside of being able to push buttons or move mice around.

  2. Hi Ruurd,

    “Why even waste a Watt of energy on a camera that goes to waste in more than 99% of the cases?”

    This may be the comment of yours which set the tone of your argument (which from the outside looking in you seem to be contradicting with your second reply).

    A photographer absolutely can take fantastic photographs with an iPhone camera and why would investment in such a camera ever go to (or have gone to) waste? If not for that investment, it would be a whole lot less worthwhile as the “camera you have with you.” It’s also quite cool to see exceptional progress in computational photography overcoming some of the limitations associated with smaller sensors in mobile devices like iPhones.

    In your second reply it sounds more like you’re thinking along these lines, and if that was the case, it did not come across well in what you initially wrote.

    I may love my Olympus and Sony cameras, but I also sincerely enjoy using my iPhone for photography as well, even if in doing so I must necessarily contend with different limitations (to be fair, not without enjoying some very worthwhile perks).

What do you think?

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