What Camera to Buy? Annie Leibovitz Recommends the iPhone

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. MacRumors, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2011

    macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    When friends ask famed photographer Annie Leibovitz what camera they should buy, she suggests the iPhone. Appearing on NBC's new Rock Center news program, Leibovitz suggested the iPhone because it is "the snapshot camera of today", saying it is "accessible and easy".

    It appears Leibovitz is a firm believer in the theory that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you.

    Article Link: What Camera to Buy? Annie Leibovitz Recommends the iPhone
  2. macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2011

    That's so true. I have my Canon SLR which takes great photos, but it's not always the most accessible. On my iPhone, I just double tap the home button, shoot, and bam I have the picture.
  3. macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Yes, the iPhone 4S has a good camera and yes, it's easy to use.

    But: The 4S is $599 off contract and $199 on contract. While a also very good camera from say Canon or Nikon is $150-200. Which in return will give you more settings to play with and it's cheaper.

    If you're in for a new phone and also want to take loads of pictures: Get a 4S or iPhone 4.

    Edit: And if you're proffesional you shoulden't buy a point and shoot camera anyways :p
  4. macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    Agreed. I love SLRs, but they're rather bulky and you really have to plan on doing a photo shoot. I never bought a DSLR myself because I know I would never really bring it along. Instead, a small Canon Powershot (i.e. IXUS, the ones that are just square slabs) is what I've been using since 2006. Fits in every pocket, takes decent photos and small videos. But now with the iPhone 4S, I can spontaneously snap pictures of whatever, it's always charged, always in reach. I don't think I've actually used my Powershot since I got the 4S. Still takes better pictures, but the iPhone's pictures are good enough for most purposes.
  5. macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2011
    Right, but the point behind her suggestion is that you probably already are going to have your phone with you. You may as well get a phone that can double as a decent point and shoot (with crazy editing features available as apps, to boot).

    Also, entirely not true about professional photographers not buying a point and shoot. Photography for professionals is often a job and they don't necessarily want to lug around the DSLR for family vacation photos or out to lunch when you might see something interesting or just while you're out wandering around, but you still might want to capture a moment or an image that you see. For those times, professionals may still rely upon a good camera phone like the iPhone's or a point and shoot. But why carry both if your phone's camera is pretty good?
  6. macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Couldn't agree more, and I'm a semi-pro. While its great to have a "real" camera around, the number of fantastic shots I've gotten from my iPhone--shots that would have never happened otherwise-- make it indispensable. The quality is also really disturbingly good, surpassing just about any point-and-shoot on the market. With the number of photo editing apps out there, you can get vastly better results, more often, with an iPhone than with a p&s. It can't compete with great glass, but it's got one hell of an imaging processor!
  7. macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2011
    What a joke, I couldn't disagree more.

    For practicality sake ...sure.

    But come on folks, it's a phone.

    If you're serious about photography use a proper camera.
    (Annie Leibovitz does....really)
  8. macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2004
    I totally agree. And as the camera in the iPhone gets better, and better, this will be even more true.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    Hmm. I'm not sure if Annie is in any relation to David Leibovitz, but I noticed that David Leibovitz (also artist, photographer) worked on iPhone camera app "Top Camera":
    "App was designed in cooperation with Artist / Photographer, David Scott Leibowitz to bring you the highest quality in every detail."

    In my opinion iPhone 4s+photo/video apps is perfect thing to take great photos.
    The only problem with iPhone 4s is battery life issue.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    If your SERIOUS about Photography, why are you asking which camera you should get?

    I think the point is that the iPhone 4S camera is a good replacement for a point a shoot for most people...
  11. macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2008

    So professionals are only allowed to take heavy dslr's and even heavier lenses with then?

    I'm going on a snowmobile ride on my next vacation. Now I'll have my dslr with me on vacation but with plenty of light in the middle of the day and the reflective snow during the snowmobile ride I'd prefer my point and shoot with image stabilization, auto-focus 1080p video recording etc. I'don't want to risk dropping my dslr, plus it doesn't fit in your pocket and you just have to 'point' and 'shoot' which allows me more time with the snowmobile and gives me some nice pictures and film clips. Dslr's and point & shoot's have different markets but there's no reason for anybody to not have both if you want them.

    For my previous vacation I borrowed a wide-angle zoom from a friend of mine to take with me. It's the cheapest bit of plastic with glass in it that you can call a lens, I had to correct every photo for chromatic aberration, furthermore it wasn't at all sharp and it focused very slowly. So it took me allot of post processing but I got pictures I couldn't have gotten without it. She's right, the best camera is always the one you have with you, whatever it is.


    You've missed the point...
  12. macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    I guess I'm a professional. I exhibit and lecture around the country on my work, and am also a photo professor. I don't own a point and shoot camera... I have my iPhone. When I go to conferences, I don't take my camera with me. Instead, I just take my phone and use it to document my experiences. These aren't photos I would necessarily show in a gallery (although Dan Burkholder might) but it's definitely my camera for candid moments.

    Serious as in how? If I'm doing a big production photograph, I have my DSLR. But even when making photos of my experiences using my iPhone, I still compose correctly. I don't think anyone is saying that the phone replaces the professional camera.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 27, 2007
    Portland, Oregon
    Maybe you've had your head in the sand lately and didn't realize how much iPhoneography has taken off, but in my own case, I've had more of my photos published in magazines and exhibited in galleries this year that were taken with my iPhone than with any of my "professional" cameras. And since I do get paid for my photography work, that makes me a professional. I'm also a musician and this same old argument applies; it doesn't matter what tools you use, it's the end results that matter!
  14. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    A lot of what’s frightening/uncomfortable to people about the iPhone 4S camera being SO good—and in significant ways much better* than an SLR—is an ego/identity thing, I think.

    Being a “pro” and using tools/methods other people don’t feels good. I feel good that I hand-code web sites, while someone else uses a template! So I can understand this emotion. Same if you’re not a paid pro, but like the sense of owning “stuff” that sets you above/apart from other people.

    And then there’s the simple fact that change is always difficult for people, and passionate, creative people are bound to resist shifts in the landscape in a realm they have so much time and energy invested in.

    We’re only human!

    Fear not, SLRs still have their place (telephoto, in my case), it’s simply shrinking greatly.

    And she uses an iPhone as well.

    If you’re serious about photography, use what Annie uses... an iPhone :p

    * Not just because it’s "with you” at times when that big SLR is stuck at home and useless. But because the iPhone can add all kinds of functionality by downloading photography apps. I have a number of simply awesome apps for taking panoramas, for making time-lapse and long-exposures much more practical, for different ways of triggering the shot, etc.—all with no accessories to lug. I’d have to give those features up if I were to “settle” for an SLR. To say nothing of the value of editing and sharing directly from the camera! And even the built-in camera app has VERY important abilities that normal SLRs lack: being able to touch the scene itself to choose focus/exposure! And HDR: that has let me get shots I just couldn’t get with a conventional dynamic range, and it gives you the non-HDR version too, like a kind of instant bracketing.

    And all I have is a lowly iPhone 4 :) Which was already an excellent camera for most uses.
  15. dasmb, Nov 16, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    20 years ago -- heck, even 10 years ago -- it was widely agreed that the best camera for street photography was a Leica rangefinder.

    This is the camera that made the careers of photojournalists, street photographers, fine art photographers et al, because while it came with limitations -- BOATLOADS of them -- it was also a tool optimized for capturing moments, which is what a camera is supposed to do. It stood in stark contrast to the weapons-of-choice of the fashion/portrait photographers (medium format SLRs/TLRs), sports photographers (fast 35mm SLRs) and landscape photographers (huge large format view and field cameras): It didn't have a lot of fancy features to get in your way, it was just one focal length of great optics coupled to a slim profile that you could set to f/8 and just look for shots.

    The iPhone 4S is slimmer, faster and slightly better than that old Leica for the same purpose. The interface is better than that of your Leica M8s and Sigma DP-Xs and, yes, even better than the el-cheapo cameras that plague the market. Point. (Click to focus if you need to.) Press the button. Email the thing. No dials, no modes, no craziness, it's exactly what a non-photographer needs and, like the Leica, quite capable of taking great photos.

    I went out on a shoot the other day with my wife and baby. I brought the 5D mark II, determined to get a great shot at a nearby trail I have been to a thousand times and never got a great shot at. I took 500 shots. But the shot of the day was taken with her iPhone 4s: me in the foreground, perched precariously on a slope, framing a waterfall in my viewfinder, with the kid hanging from her backpack carrier, looking under my raised arm at the falling water.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I recently took a 200 mile drive up the blue ridge parkway to see the fall leaves with my Nikon D80 only to find out it needed service. While I didn't take as many photos as I would have with the Nikon, I was not disappointed with the results of 200 pictures on my iPhone. They were good enough to make a lot of people jealous of my trip.
  17. macrumors 68000


    Oct 2, 2007
    It has been stated many times before the same way. It isn't about the camera but the photographer!
    I have a multitude of cameras, from P&Ss, to underwater, to DSLRs and camera phones.
    The best is the one you have access to at the moment.

    An iPhone is just that thing on many occasions.
    I love the crispness and speed of the DSLR but t can be hefty to take along.
    I love the portability of a P&S or iPhone, grab from pocket shoot bam, I can then easily edit and post on the internet or email. An iPhone is a camera, post-processing and mailer device to get the image you just shot out to others.

    DSLRs are great but sometimes at a family reunion I would rather be running around with my kid or eating/talking to others and not worry about someone bumping my DSLR or having someone shoot with it and mess something up. A P&S or camera phone is easy to use and people can use it if I have it sitting on the table and something neat happens.
  18. macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    I have a dslr, a point and shoot, and an android smart phone.

    I don't see why, other than to "get in the news" and to sound more hip, she would specifically recommend an iphone, which costs as much as buying 3 point and shoots that will take better photos even faster than an iphone.

    Yes, any smart phone with a decent camera is useful for taking those quick, unexpected photos or videos that tend to happen when you aren't carrying your camera.

    It's not specific to the iphone by any means. I find it ironic that people arguing that the iphone camera takes "good enough" photos to justify not having a P&S don't consider the fact that there are dozens of other phones out there that don't cost as much, and also have "acceptable" cameras. I have a no-contract android phone which cost me less than 200 dollars, unsubsidized. It's got a decent camera. All the same weaknesses that an iphone camera has. I would still rather take photos with my dslr.
  19. macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2005
    You must have large pockets or a large purse! ;)

    You really don't see why?

    Wait, yes you do. You answered your own question! +1
  20. macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    So what you are saying is that your wife is a better photographer than you are? ;)

    I don't think its accurate at all to compare a Leica to an iPhone. the iPhone is NOT faster or more simple to use. The quality of the photos doesn't compare, either. I won't even get start on the ruggedness and build quality. I know what you're trying to say about the iPhone having a use, but it's not the Leica of the modern age. Even an old "lowly" M5, much maligned at the time of its release, still costs well over 3,000 dollars used today. The M8-P is the street camera of choice. Leica still fills the hole you describe at the beginning of your post. They still cost an arm and a leg. They are still tanks. They still have the best lenses and the best camera interface in the world for photographing everyday life. No .2 inch wide "lens" is ever going to match that, much less surpass it.
  21. macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    let's see.. it would probably cost $2.5k for the iphone contract service + the phone itself. Even an unlocked iPhone would cost more than an entry level DSLR. That's not very practical..
  22. macrumors 65816


    Jul 2, 2011
    I agree that an iphone can be excellent to have when you have nothing else. It does an excellent job for close ups in daylight. Under poor light, I usually leave it in my pocket. If I want a landscape shot, I';m not expecting excellent results, but I'll use it anyway, wishing I had my DSLR with me.

    I think everyone should have a phone camera on them at all times. They are good for data collection, such as the parking spot number in a huge car park, random pub snapshots and general point and shoot stuff that doesnt require a zoom.

    But, I'd also recommend carrying a point and shoot if possible as it will come out of your pocket for pictures far sooner than your phone camera, simply because you have it with you. These things are quite thin and light these days.


    You're likely to have a phone anyway
  23. macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2007
    Because, news flash: the iPhone 4S has a number of photography specific features that no other cell phone camera has:

    Fast lens (f/2.8)
    Macro mode
    Larger "photosites" rather than higher megapixel count to diminish noise.
    Touch to focus
    Fast on/off of photo app.
  24. macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2007
    Washington DC

    If person has no artistic eye, it doesn't matter what camera is being used. I've seen some amazing photographs taken with plastic, one-time-use cameras and iPhones, then saw some "fugliness" being done with DSLR.

    As for iPhone's popularity is no wonder it's the most popular camera on Flickr.
  25. macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2010
    this is silly. just as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have on you. be it a dslr (my choice) or an iphone (Annie Leibovitz's choice), you can't take the photo you want unless you have a camera with. more importantly though, if you want good images, you've got to be a good photographer :)

    and if it's worth anything, she shoots with very high end cameras (mamiya, hasselblad, leica, canon, or nikon anyone?), not iphones.

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