Photography’s Greatest Moment

I’ve heard that some photographers don’t care much for smartphones. The thinking is that these disruptive devices will overtake our beloved interchangeable lens cameras and leave us with only slippery glass slabs for our work.

By way of example, they may point out the demise of inexpensive compact point and shoots. They’re practically extinct. But to be honest, weren’t they zebras at the back of the pack anyway? Who wants to carry a phone and a digital camera when you can just carry a phone?

OK. Fine. But these grip-less droids are getting smarter. They’re not satisfied with the elimination of defenseless point and shoots. Now they want my stuff. My camera.

This is serious.

I understand the concern. My iPhone 12 Pro Max is the smartest device I’ve ever photographed with. And future generations will be even better.

But let’s step back and look at this. Even the worst case scenarios reflect hope. VHS did not put movie theaters out of business. CDs didn’t kill vinyl. And film photography is trucking along just fine.

They’re not dead. They’re just not at the top of the food chain anymore. That doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy them. (Yesterday I bought a brand new 180 gram vinyl record titled, “ella & louis”, and I can’t wait to listen to it.)

What’s going to happen is that smartphones and cameras will find their niches in this big ecosystem called digital imaging. People who don’t need a dedicated camera won’t be forced to buy one. That’s a good thing.

Camera manufacturers will be focused on developing products the rest of us want. For example, I’m hoping for more computational photography in my Micro Four Thirds body. I’m starting to see that now. The future looks fantastic.

So instead of fighting the smartphone revolution, as photographers, we should embrace it and use every pixel of that technology to our benefit. Why nibble at the crust when you can have the whole pie?

Smartphone photography is real photography. Features such as handheld night capture, intelligent panoramas, depth of field control for portraits, ultra wide lenses, and slo-mo movies have replaced a ton of gear that I no longer have to lug around. Thank you Apple, Google, Samsung, and the rest of you for taking that weight off my shoulders.

And when I do pick up my Fujifilm X100V or Olympus PEN-F, which is often, I love them. There’s no way a slippery slab of glass will ever replace either.

I just wrapped up a workshop where we focused on integrating iPhones with our favorite cameras. These photographers let go of their biases and embraced their favorite mirrorless and a phone for each assignment. The presentations were brilliant.

Sometimes the best shot was with an iPhone, other times not. And by the end of it, we didn’t care. We just wanted to see great pictures.

The reason why I’m bothering to share this with you, is because I believe we’re living in photography’s greatest moment.

And I don’t want us to miss a second of it.

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