Will the next iPhone replace the need for a digital camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by unregbaron, May 10, 2011.

  1. unregbaron macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2002
    I need a digital compact and currently looking at Canon S95 - I like that it's compact (more compact than the Olympus XZ-1 which I think is probably a better device).

    I have an iPhone 3G so will upgrade to the new iPhone as soon as it's ready.
    I lost my last camera 6 months ago (6 year old slim Sony Cybershot).

    1. I value compactness (eg fits in trouser pocket ideally)
    2. Image quality
    3. HD Video essential

    Should I just wait till the next iPhone if I can? It seems a bit crazy to be getting a separate camera - or do people find it still useful to have a dedicated device?

    I am a creative person so images are important to me - I take about 25/week just from walking around and I do need to document projects/objects etc.

    Grateful for any advice thanks.
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    How familiar are you with camera technology?

    Are you aware of how small the sensor is in a phone, as compared to the average DSLR? Even an APS/crop sensor dwarfs a cellphone camera sensor. My D700's sensor is over a third again bigger than that. These are not small differences.

    I just shot at 12,800 ISO this past Friday, and not just for the hell of it. No phone camera will be able to do that for a very long time. However, small point and shoots are on the way out, and will be replaced by phone cameras within a few years.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Cell phones have already hit the compact camera market hard. Since "need" is subjective, if you think you "need" a separate device then you should by all means get one.
  4. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    I think for some people that may have already happened.

    It all depends on how willing people are to trade image quality for size and to collapse two devices into one. I see a lot of people in NYC taking snaps with their iphone or other similar devices and then it jumps up to a super zoom or DSLR. Don't see many of the very small and crappy P&S digicams.

    Of course when you compare the technical specs of most actual cameras to the iphone's camera the iphone is going to fall short. Some people don't care about that, though.

    I personally only use the camera to take movies of my dog running around the yard, which fascinates me. The still camera function is too slow for me.
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If you have low/no standards for photos and quality, then yes, an iPhone may fill your needs.

    It won't meet my expectations.
  6. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    For me, the iPhone is a better camera than a point and shoot because of the idea that "the best camera is the camera you have with you." It's fine for pictures of my kid doing something cute 3-6 feet away from me in daylight, pictures to remind myself to do something (look up this book, research this refrigerator), etc. You can print pics from an iPhone 4 at 5x7 and they look acceptable. When I want to take pictures that mean more to me, which is usually but not always the case, I take out the DSLR. The point and shoot camera is now my 4-year old's camera, since at this point neither my wife nor I would ever use it.
  7. gnomeisland macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York, NY
    *I* see your point. I have a DSLR and I am slowly saving for a full-frame because I appreciate the differences and artistic flexibility. That said you didn't really address the OP's question. I also think you're a little short sighted about picture taking and gear. For the OP a D700 may be *worse* thank iPhone because hauling that camera around with the heavy/fast glass, etc. would not work with his life style.

    There are some fantastic images out there taken on an iPhone. Just google iPhone fashion shoot. Remember photography is about capturing the light bouncing off a subject. Those are three points of triangle so the subject and lighting matter as much as the device capturing them.

    To the OP: I'm guessing you take mostly snapshots of your friends, family, etc. A lot of those are in decent (hopefully natural) light and it sounds like having a camera you can take everywhere is a top priority. I think the iPhone may preclude the need for a point-and-shoot. It will still have limitations. The sensor will be slightly worse than what you can get on an S95 (and certainly worse than a APS sized sensor like an NEX or DSLR camera). Those are limiting factors quality wise, but if you don't care about depth of field, printing large images, or shooting in RAW modes I think you're fine. The iPhone does not have an optical zoom and is not likely to get one anytime soon.

    I'm with you, I'm holding off upgrading my point-and-shoot because the camera quality of the iphone is close enough to a point-and-shoot that convenience trumps quality here. Of course we can't say exactly what the images of the camera will look like yet.

    I would suggest making it a point to take a lot of pictures with your 3Gs and see how your feel about the process. I can't imaging the new iPhone will be drastically different--just *slightly* higher quality in the end. If you don't like the process of taking images with the 3GS then perhaps you do want a high-end point-and-shoot (or even lower DSLR or M4/3 or NEX for when flexibility and quality do matter more)
  8. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    When comparing the iPhone 4 camera to a dedicated point and shoot, there are a couple of trade offs - both options have some advantages.

    The iPhone is certainly more portable and as someone else said "it's the camera you have with you". Image quality is good, video is good. Over all a good choice. It really can't be beat when you are on the go - or when you forget the point and shoot. I find the video works especially well.

    The point and shoot however, would give you an optical zoom, more controls and a better flash. As a dedicated camera, the controls are usually easier to use and it is easier to hold the camera still when taking pictures. If you want to set things like shutter speeds, aperture, exposure, etc, then you are going to want a point and shoot.

    For me, I take casual pictures with my iPhone, and I would take "event" pictures (Birthdays, Christmas, Graduation, etc) with my point and shoot. The point and shoot features outweigh the portability issues here for me.

    If you have a higher end point and shoot (like the S95), then I would think you would still want to use that for the most important pictures.

    Since you don't have a point and shoot now, I would try out the iPhone 4 camera and see how it works for you, and if you feel like you want more for certain pictures, then look at getting a dedicated camera for those shots. If most of your shots are things you take spontaneously when you are out for a walk, I think you will find you use the iPhone more often, because you always have it with you.
  9. MrSnipes macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    The S95 is at the top of the compacts. It takes fantastic photos. To be honest, if you are keen on photography... you might just want all 3 (iPhone, S95, DSLR). iPhone because of the 'best camera' idea, which I like. Indoor, low light, high dynamic range and a fantastic lens but still fits in your pocket - S95. Serious event and you don't mind lugging your DSLR with you - best. But you'll likely have the iPhone on you all the time, the S95 a lot of the time and the DSLR .... only when you know the event/situation warrants it.
  10. Ryan1524 macrumors 68000


    Apr 9, 2003
    Canada GTA
    It already prevented me from buying a dedicated Point & Shoot.

    I either have my SLR or iP4.
  11. unregbaron thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2002
    Thanks for all replies. Am leaning towards the Olympus XZ-1 as a compromise between image quality and portability.
  12. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    The iPhone 4's HDR feature produces pretty vibrant images. It might fulfill your needs: can you borrow a friend's phone and shoot some images?
  13. johnnj macrumors 6502a

    Dec 11, 2008
    Not here
    While reading this thread it occurred to me that similar conversation may have taken place in 1925 when the first Leica came out. The image quality was by far inferior to what the 4x5 and 8x10 "real" cameras could produce. I read that many serious photographers at the time turned their noses up at it and labeled it a toy.

    However, you could put a Leica into a pocket and always have it with you, like we all do with our iPhones.
  14. rebby macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    for many people the mobile phone has already replaced a "real" camera. for example; there was a major storm in my area last night. a ton of people posted pictures online of the storm as it was taking place. nearly all of these photos were off of people's mobile phone, even people who were at home at the time. often times i see people at youth ball games and other events snapping away with their phone. i must look pretty strange at these same events with my 7d and big white lenses.
  15. Razeus macrumors 603

    Jul 11, 2008
    That's my setup.
  16. pagansoul macrumors 65816


    Aug 10, 2006
    My phone is always with me. My digital camera is not. My iPhone4 takes good pictures in good light but is not going to win any awards. The difference is if I'm out taking pictures or if I just happen to need to take a picture. If you plan to go out and take pictures, you need a camera, even a cheap $100 simple point and shoot is better than the phone camera.

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