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  1. #1

    Smartphone Cameras

    Hey everyone, I wanted to share a video by Marques Brownlee (like he needs views lol) that I thought was incredibly interesting and maybe a bit of a hot topic amongst a technology focused / gaming group like all of us!

    I first noticed the AI effects on photos with my Huawei P30 and it was the phone that made me sell my DSLR actually, I'm not ashamed at all to admit that I loved getting the photos I wanted faster just by tweaking an already slightly tweaked photo, and the results I achieved were fascinating, I wanted a better screen and processor and switched to a OnePlus 8 this year when it was incredibly cheap one day and I have to say, I have regretted the camera switch for sure, and possibly this is just because the OnePlus Chinese-Photo-computer-man living in my phone interprets images differently to the little Huawei demon that lived in my P30.

    I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts, especially from some of our Photographers in the community (I'm looking at you Smilodon!) to see what other considerations there are :-)

    Link to the video below:
    Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.

  2. #2
    A lot of the lenses and sensors are very similar these days. Usually the image processing software each brand uses is the issue.

    You can download other photographic apps to get better results.

  3. #3
    Edit - I've replied with more of a smartphone vs camera approach, rather than one smartphone vs another. Perhaps that wasn't what you were looking for? Either way, here it is...

    I personally use my mirrorless* because I enjoy the craft of photography.

    Yes, it can take better quality pictures than a smartphone, but for most people a smartphone camera is more than good enough most of the time.

    With regards to better quality... well, you can't defy physics. The lenses in smartphone cameras are obviously not as good at bringing in light in and focussing as the comparatively huge lenses found on dedicated systems. This becomes even more relevant with 'zoom' lenses. The sensors are smaller, and thus collect fewer photons of light per exposure. This means less resolving power, and is why the megapixel number alone is a fairly useless guide to clarity.
    Technology has done a lot to 'close the gap', which is fantastic, but it can only take you so far. As is pointed out, a lot of this is done via AI post-processing - and yes, each brand will have its own flavour to this. Essentially it emulates the tedious work that photographers do in photoshop / lightroom / whatever long after the shutter has fired. This technology has gotten very good over the last few years. Once again, a photographer who knows what they're doing can undoubtedly produce better results with time and hard work, but as I said above, for most people smartphones are now more than good enough.

    Finally, and really this is the most important thing, what makes a photo 'good' often has little to do with the camera and everything to do with the person behind it. Being in the right place, at the right time, with an eye for composition (and an understanding of how to capture what you see in your head on 'film') - this will always be far more important than the thing in your hands. Giggity.

    I use my smartphone for quick and dirty photos all the time. It is instantaneous, and produces results that are perfect for sharing with friends and family. When I want to either enjoy the process of photography, or when I want to take photos that I intend to print, I always turn to my camera.

    *Not a DSLR, but for the purpose of conversation can be thought of as much the same.
    All our Gods have abandoned us.

  4. #4
    You knew I won't pass up the chance to waffle about this, invite or not

    It's impossible to take a 'true' and 'unprocessed photograph". A photo is always a two dimensional interpretation of a three dimensional reality. The picture is always going to be an interpretation of that reality. Depth of field, bokeh, vignette blah blah blah are not real things in the world to be captured. They are all unnatural artefacts of photography, even though we often obsess and evangelise about them. Ansell Adams, arguably the greatest landscape photographer ever, processed all his images by making careful decisions about the paper he printed on and the chemicals used to develop the prints. None of his work was as the world really appeared not least because he shot in black and white.

    Most people don't take photographs, they capture memories such as summer holidays, birthdays, events and whatever else they want to preserve in time. If AI can help make those memories more pleasant to look at then there's nothing wrong with that. They almost certainly don't want to faff about creating their photos, they want to take pictures that look like what those professionals do with their big fancy cameras and bags of kit which they have to hump around all the time. They want that but just without all the effort and hard work, which is absolutely fine.

    For professional photographers cameras are just tools in the tool box. They serve a process and then eventually break and get thrown away. I was lucky enough to begin my photographic career using Nikon F3, 4 and 5 cameras owned by my company. They were just things on a shelf I had to sign out for when I wanted to use them. So I have never become very emotionally attached to photographic equipment. While they are very impressive pieces of technology they are still tools that let me do a job, which is to provide a client with what that client wants. The easier I can make my job the better. A carpenter doesn't sweat away all day cutting wood with a junior hacksaw. They use a big electric contraption that makes the job infinitely easier. I don't sit about for days on end waiting for a sunny day to get an exterior photograph. I go shoot the image whenever I want and press a button in Photoshop to add a highly realistic blue sky to my image. Professional Photographers who shun technology on principal are free to do what they want. Of course they will go broke because a photographer like me will do the job faster, cheaper and probably more accurately because I use modern software, hardware and leverage technology to get the job done. Referring to Marques comments about group shots - I have often taken group photos professionally. You may have noticed at LAN's I go

    "Smile everyone (click) one more (click) and another (click) last one (click)"

    It's a standard way to do group portraits. Usually there's one picture with everyone looking at the camera. But sometimes every image has one plank staring of into the distance or picking their nose or something. In this case I will combine images in Photoshop to get everyone 'smiling sweetly into camera'. It's a bind and takes time, so a camera that just does it natively would be very useful. Like Auto Exposure, Auto focus and Auto anything else you like.

    Some people with a £600 camera, a Wix Website and a Vista print Business Card, claim to be a 'professional photographer'. In reality though they just rely on the skill of the people who make the cameras, lenses, smartphones and processing software. These poor souls are heading for extinction. Why pay someone else to take a photograph of your product or team or whatever when you can grab your smartphone and do it for free. Back in the them "goode olde days" - 'proper' photography was tricky. Cameras were expensive, had no 'auto' anything. You couldn't check each shot on a little screen. Developing film was expensive and you needed to be trained to do it properly. There was no Photoshop to fix your mistakes. Professional photography was something you had to be taught to do either at University or as an apprentice. It took years but at the end everyone who claimed to be a Pro was a Pro. You defiantly couldn't wing it, pretend and ruin countless weddings, birthdays, events and product launch deadlines in the process as you can easily do today.

    Purists can enjoy their photography anyway they like. It's art and there is no right or wrong. If you want to wait months to get a perfect sunset image knock yourself out. People will always appreciate the creative process and creative excellence. In a hundred years I'm guessing people will still prefer something created by a person rather than by a machine. Go to a Cafe where you are offered home made sandwiches, made today from produce grown in the cafe gardens and the organic farm down the road. Or go to Cafe that offers something defrosted that an articulated lorry delivered last week from the Mega-Food Conglomerate Factory. It how we value stuff and that's never about absolute quality. If it was the advertising industry would be out of business.

    However the Instagram cess pit is something else. Passing off an image as having been created through photographic skill or by just being naturally beautiful, rather than the truth of using the skill of the software engineers that programmed the camera or smartphone, is a lie. It's shady and a bit pathetic but it's the Internet and by definition full of lies and cheats because the Internet just reflects the real world. And the real world is full of liars and cheats.

    Photography has always been a compromise with reality. Smartphone AI is nothing new. You either want a magic box that spits out perfect images of whatever it is you are looking at or you want a box that you can control completely and decide precisely what you want the camera to do and what you want to control yourself. Professional photography isn't really about being clever with cameras. It's about being a skilled artist. Painters use brushes and paint to create exactly what they want to create. Sculpture's use stone and chisels. Photographers use cameras and software. You have to know exactly what image you want to create before you even put a camera to your eye. It's going to be a version of reality, but a version that you can already see in your mind. Anything less doesn't work. So you have to know exactly what is going to happen when you press the shutter and that requires control. What will the camera give you automatically what do you want to decide yourself. What has to happen for you to get the image you've already decided upon. Happy mistakes are nice but they can't be something you rely on. It won't work that way. It's like a painter painting but someone else deciding what colour paints they can use. Maybe one day a computer in your pocket will be able to do anything you ask it and pro photography will be dead. Then we'll just enjoy it as a hobby, like making furniture, knitting or home made beer and wine or the millions of other things we do for no more than the fun of it. I'm cool with that.

  5. #5
    Interestingly after a hiatus of almost a decade I've just gone back to DSLR, got a child starting their school journey, and sat 30m away during a school production or sports day when flash photography isn't allowed and wide angle shots aren't great 'cos permissions, the iPhone was not cutting it. Dusting off very old Canon 350D and my 70-300mm lens has been brilliant, to the extent that I will be upgrading in the New Year to something a bit less ancient.

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