They say the best camera is the one that’s with you and that was certainly true Tuesday morning as I drove along admiring the morning light, looking for the best place to pull over only to realise with a sinking feeling that I had forgotten to put my camera gear in the car. For a few moments I was gutted, knowing that we don’t get snow very often and that by the time I drove home and got my stuff the light would be gone, I littered the car with profanities.
But then, as I took one last look at the scene I was about to miss capturing, I considered it further. More specifically I considered the fact that I had an iPhone 7 plus beside me and that the main draw back of camera phones is their inability to deal with the extremes of light and shadow that most landscape scenes render. In most landscape scenes the land will be much darker than the sky and that will generally warrant the use of a filter or bracketing of shots ready for merging later. This is something that is just not possible with even the best phone cameras, but in front of me was not a scene of contrasts, it was a scene of beautiful even light. Could the phone handle it? I mean, properly handle it. Not a snap that I show to a few people on my phone, I mean a shot that I can upload to my website and sell prints of. There was only one way to find out.
I parked the car and hoped over a gate to survey the scene. I felt that it was very likely that due to the even lighting the iphone could expose the shot of but what about the sun poking through the trees, what would it do with that? Traditionally when using a “proper” camera the technique in such scenarios is to stop down the aperture to create a bit of starburst but controlling the aperture is not possible on the iphone. How would it handle this? Even my best lenses struggle to not create artifacts, would a phone really be able to handle it? Well, in my opinion not only did it handle it but it excelled. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to sell all my Olympus gear and become an iphone photographer. This was a unique set of circumstances that the phone could handle, they tend to be few and far between. But, it does go to show that if the scene is pretty evenly lit phones have advanced enough to make a shot worthwhile and at 3958 x 2968px it should even print pretty well at a reasonable size.