Is the mobile phone going to replace our cameras?
Everyday we are surprised by a mobile phone manufacturer, especially if we are talking about the camera specifications. It is like a cold war, everyone has a race to see who can develop the most advanced and optimal hardware. On other hand, even stock agencies now accept photos and videos taken by mobile devices. Is that our future? Is photography as a profession going to be forgotten?
Personally I think, that taking photos via a smartphone is enjoyable but for social media purposes or other, not necessary for the professional use of an image. I have a few photographs and videos in stock agencies taken by mobile, but I'm not happy with the results. Sure, photographs pass the test and are available for sale, however in my opinion, the quality is still far away from DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
I use a Sony Xperia and I'm pleased with the results, especially when I get a quick snap and publish it on Facebook or Twitter. Unfortunately on the mobile I am missing few important settings like golden triangle (shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings). It seems to me as though someone has deliberately avoided these options. We have a lot of fixed settings for landscape or portrait, but everyone who uses a normal camera knows that fixed settings are useless.
I'm quite familiar with android phones, not so with apple, but I checked on one of the latest iPhones but still these functions are missing, instead we have a lot of filters. However after taking a snap we have almost unlimited options with post production.
Another thing to consider is lens size. With DSLR we are aiming at around 40-50mm to allow light in through the lens, with mobile devices the size is really small. As we know, if you can't let much light in, we need to compensate by slowing shutter, or increasing ISO sensitivity. Both options are not so good. Like ISO noise we are able to mask or hide out in photoshop or Lightroom, slower shutter could be annoying, especially when we see the image on the computer screen.
Are we going to see the replacement of photography gear for mobile devices in the near future?
Personally I don't think so. Companies have made a huge progress in search and development, but current devices are unfit for most photographers. They could be a support but not front line. Sure, on the Web we can find plenty of articles promoting some brand and worshiping a specific model, but we can't forget that is just a simple marketing job. Almost everyday we can read some publications made by a public relations department in big international corporations, with updates and information about new things which we are going to find in the new devices. That is good, competitors increase the quality and lower the price of new devices, but let's think about this for a second. Someone hires you to take some photos for a wedding or take some commercial shots for a new advertising campaign, and you arrive with a mobile phone in your hands and inform them that you are ready. Just use your imagination and answer yourself what reaction do you think you will receive…
In the end we can't forget that everyone with an expensive mobile phone is going to call themselves a photographer…
Photo credits: Jacek Wojnarowski.