As a person who like to be on the forefront of technology I’m always in search of the latest and greatest camera gear as well as other gadgets and electronics. Before I got the camera bug, my hard earned money was mostly spent on getting the latest and greatest cellphone. When phones with camera started coming out, I imported different models and brands from other parts of the world because at that time US cellphone market was far behind the rest of the world. We didn’t have iPhone and Android back then so every manufacturer produced their own OS for the phone and that made it a lot more exciting to use phones from different manufacturers to see what software/hardware features their phone offers.
One of those imported cellphones included Xcute DV1 that had an integrated 3 megapixel camera and at that time most of the people have never seen a cellphone with anything other than a VGA camera. The camera produces decent pictures but nothing to write home about but still having a “3 megapixel” camera always in pocket was big deal and I loved it. I even printed few pictures from it (4×6 size) and they came out pretty decent.
Fast forward to few years and now every one carries a “smart” phone that has an integrated camera which enables them to take pictures of every moment of their lives (and others) whether appropriate or inappropriate. Having a camera with you all the time could be great thing as there is a common saying among photogs that “the best camera is the one that is with you”. But this convenient feature has also given rise to a lot of social, moral and privacy issues.
Among other obvious issues that we hear about in our news my biggest issue with the camera phone photographers is their utter lack of respect for other photographers and their thought of phone camera as a replacement for proper camera gear. This issue is very apparent at social gatherings where everyone wants to either take a picture of everything or wants you to take their picture with “their” cellphone no matter how crappy it comes out.
I noticed this issue at a wedding that I went to last week where the official photographer was constantly getting frustrated by the cellphone photographers who were interfering with his work, as they tried to get as close as possible to the bride and groom to take a pictures (after all, none of theses cellphone cameras had zoom lens). Then there were “selfie” people who would disrupt the photo session just so they can have a selfie with the couple. Apart from these the most frustrating people for me (even though I wasn’t the official photographer) where the people who constantly asked me to take a picture of them with their cellphone just after I have taken the the picture with “proper” camera. At one time I was photographing a group and I got handed 5 (yes FIVE !!) cellphones to take pictures after I’ve taken one with my camera. I can only imagine how horrible the cellphone pictures might have come out in that challenging lighting condition when even my FF camera was struggling.
I don’t shoot events as an “official” photographer but I can only imagine the amount of frustration they face when they are trying to take picture of a bride coming down the aisle while other camera phone photographers are jumping in front of them with their camera phones. Or even worse when an auntie/uncle go all out and bust out their iPad.
Step outside social gatherings and go to a any local attraction or park and you’ll be greeted with even more phone camera photographers and if you are unlucky (or lucky depending on your thought about this issue) you might come across as few carrying a pole as well. This pole or so called a “selfie stick” another one of those inventions that should never exist. What happened to handing someone your camera to take a picture (if you are really that desperate to be in it)?
I’ve even seen people taking pictures of animals at the zoo with their fixed focal length lens phone camera where even my 600mm lens wasn’t long enough as the animal was so far away. I’m sure the picture from the phone had a small dot that can magnified to tell people that it was an animal of some kind.
The point is that sure phone cameras are convenient and useful at times but no matter what fruit or vegetable logo they have on the back……they are NOT a replacement for proper camera and if you insist on using them in public, be respectful to others around you as not everyone is OK with a blurry, out of focus, over saturated, over sharpened picture 🙂