Recently, there has been a wave of manufacturers announcing their latest and greatest cameras, with one of the top selling points being gigantic sensors crammed with gobs of megapixels. Now, don’t get me wrong—I am a big supporter of cameras with high megapixel counts. In fact, I already placed my preorder for Sony’s upcoming a7R IV camera. As landscape photographer, it is a huge boon to be able to crop in tightly without worrying about losing too much resolution. However, I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t considered the idea of going smartphone-only. Granted, it’s a fleeting consideration, but it’s one that I have often. And why shouldn’t I?
The truth is that the camera and editing capabilities of today’s mobile phones have come such a long way. Between the ability to shoot in raw file formats to the myriad accessories available, the smartphone has become a serious camera that every photographer should pay attention to. There have been several shoots recently where I’ve challenged myself to only use my mobile phone and the results have been beyond impressive. With apps like Adobe Lightroom CC, I can take full-resolution DNG photos, long-exposure photos and HDR photos. I can then edit them on the fly and have them waiting for me on my desktop when I get home.
One of the things that I often put into perspective when rationalizing my choice in solely using my mobile phone, in my case the Apple iPhone XS Max (read OP’s review of the iPhone XS Max for landscape photographers), is the intended use—or destination—of the photos. Admittedly, the bulk of the photos I take are destined for web use. Whether it’s for this blog, social media or to send via a text message, I rarely need lots of megapixels. Plus, I’ve found that today’s mobile phones are exceptionally adept in capturing tonal range, even during challenging conditions.
It isn’t so much that I want to try to convince you, so much as I want to remind you. That device that’s already in your pocket is an amazing camera and I highly recommend you give it a fair shake. It’ll likely surprise you.
See more of Brian Matiash’s work at matiash.com.