Focusing On iPhoneography

What’s the best camera? The one you have with you, of course. With that in mind, Apple is on the cusp of announcing its newest iCameras 14, presumably with ever-better camera systems. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying a reawakening of my dormant hobby: photography. And for a pocket phone cam that’s always with me, my iPhone 8 Plus isn’t half bad. Yet newer Apple cameras (phones) are even better. Why not make the camera that’s always with me the best it can be?

Before I talk about cellular telephone cameras, let me first say it’s refreshingly nice to feel my former enthusiasm for picture-making revive. The craft of photography is fulfilling regardless of the gear involved. Years ago, it was my main hobby. For various reasons — life — I’ve enjoyed other pursuits. But none seem quite so satisfying as getting outside and focusing on nature through the lens of a camera.

Colorful Sunset. Shot on iPhone 4.

So the photo bug bit me again. Why? Because my oldest two sons’ iPhones will no longer be supported by Apple once iOS 16 is released in the next few weeks. This means I get to upgrade my iPhone 8 Plus, which will be 5 years old next month. With one or two years left of support, it can be passed down to one of my sons, replacing their soon out-of-date device. That’s a fair recycling program. And it’s a convenient way for me to upgrade the camera that’s always with me. Naturally, I want to make it the best it can be.

I snapped this tractor tiller recently on iPhone 8 Plus.

Thinking about what newer iPhone I might move up to, I’ve been impressed by their more advanced camera systems. Yeah, camera nerd here. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m still talking about a phone camera and not a “real” camera. Yet dumb-cameras died a few years back since phone cam quality — not to mention convenience — matched or surpassed that of compact cameras (a.k.a. point-n-shoots). My iPhone 8 Plus is all I shoot with these days, only busting out my old Canon S5IS (and my wife’s Nikon D60 before it died) once a year during Bluebonnet season.

With iPhone camera hardware improved, my eyes are fixed on the three-lens setup found on iPhone 11 Pro for example. Also more advanced is iPhone camera software thanks to — queue buzzword — computational photography. Automatic features like Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Portrait Mode work with iPhone hardware to create impressive results. Search on YouTube for iPhone camera comparisons with “real” pro cameras — the picture quality gap is closing.

Apple’s iCameras still dominate Flickr.

The draw of more capable camera tech — think fancy new iPhone — pulled my gaze back towards photography. Also, recent news that Instagram is no longer about photography (no surprise) caught my attention. This led me to give Flickr another look, which seems to be doing fine. I’ve still got photos there from when I started a new account a few years back.

I’ve missed the relaxing and fulfilling hobby of photography. There’s no telling how much I’ll dive back into it or how long the latest photo-bug-bite effects will last. With a new camera (iPhone) and better weather likely coming this Fall, I imagine I’ll get out and take more photos. However far things go, I plan to enjoy the renewed focus while it lasts.

Do you dabble in photography or get excited for new gear? Is there a hobby that you’d like to rekindle?

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7 thoughts on “Focusing On iPhoneography

  1. The camera is always the reason I end up upgrading my iPhone, too, Jason. And, I’ve also recently gotten back into my photography hobby. I guess finally being able to travel again re-awakened that bug, and I’m glad. I’m looking forward to seeing what new photo features are added!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice, Rob, glad you’re enjoying the hobby again too! I for sure use my iPhone far more to take pictures than make phone calls. But I text more than snap photos, so…

      Getting outside, traveling…very thankful for such “normal” freedoms…not to be taken for granted.

      Rumors are the new 14 Pros will feature like a 48MP sensor that bins down to 12MP. At the least, I’d expect slight improvements like wider aperture, more lens elements, bigger/more focus pixels, sensor-shift IS on all lenses, maybe a 3.5x or 4x telephoto, better macro mode, improved night/low light mode, and better neural/AI for Deeper Fusion, “Genius HDR/XDR”.

      So do you use Instagram, Flickr, or another site to share photos online? I’ve been using Flickr (again) so far.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those all sound like great upgrades. I’d especially like more telephoto! I don’t really share photos online so haven’t used any of those services. Maybe I’ll check out Flickr and see what I think. I’m pretty sure Instagram would not be for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Flickr isn’t really social media, if that helps. While others can comment, fave, or like your photos, the site is tailored for pursuing photography with/among others (pros and hobbyists alike). I think many of the Groups there are dormant, but I’m not sure.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m spending time in Italy these days and brought my big Nikon and of course my iPhone. Having to bring the camera back pack all the time is a pain and hassle. My iPhone is taking more and more of my photo opportunities and I’m looking forward to the iPhone 14 Pro improvements in the photography space.


    1. Good hearing from you. Yes, I can imagine the inconvenience of carrying a big DLSR versus iPhone: night and day difference. And if phone photos are “good enough” then it likely wins.

      Anything iPhone 14 would be tempting to me…so I’m trying to keep my head in the sand…

      Liked by 1 person

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