For the first part of my life, I rarely took photos. If you looked at my old photo albums (started by my folks, back before they knew what Flickr was â€” actually, they still don’t), the first couple of decades of my life are pretty concise sections. I’m a cute little toddler in a few pics, a bratty teen in the next handful and then boom â€” a cap-and-gowned college graduate one page over. Breezing through the images takes about 52 seconds. That’s 20+ years of my life in under one minute. Amazing.
My album doesn’t hold many pictures of pals either. It’s not because I didn’t have any, but rather, because I rarely had my camera on me. And that meant I had no learned behavior for it. The perfect shots would come and go, and the thought of capturing them didn’t even dawn on me.
I laughed to myself that I was a bad Asian. After all, aren’t my people stereotypically camera freaks? But for some reason, I never caught the photo bug.Â Getting the first iPhone a few years didn’t really change things for me either. Yes, I now had a shooter on me at all times, but the photo quality didn’t really inspire me to change my habits. Same thing with the 3G and 3GS.
Then I got the iPhone 4 last year, and it changed everything. I am now happily snapping up a storm, embarrassing my pals, shooting proof of my husband’s cooking skills and documenting “grandma’s life” for my descendants, just like everyone else.
Why the sudden shift in behavior? Simple:Â This is a decent phone camera. There’s little wonder then why it inspires both amateur and even near pro-level iPhone photography. It has become an art unto itself, spawning websites, accessories, and even some research â€” Geekaphone took a month to look into iPhone 4s as a real alternative for pricey standalone cameras.
Now, no one would expectÂ any smartphone cam to offer the same quality as dedicated snappers and SLRs. The thing is, thatÂ trusty device is often the only camera we’ve got when that perfect shot suddenly appears.Â And, says Geekaphone, it actually does offer decent quality. Sure,Â it may not pack the megapixels of competitors on the market â€” 5MP vs. 8MP â€” but even so, its quality still often smokes the competition. (Believe me â€” in the course of my job, I’ve tested several other phone cameras, and pixel density does not mean great quality. More pixels just means you can blow up an image poster size. But if the pic is bad to begin with â€” well, you just have a bigger version of a stinky photo.) Furthermore, when compared to higher-end DSLRs, the iPhone’s camera is still pretty good!
Geekaphone’s five-part report covers different aspects of the iPhone photography experience, including that DSLR comparison, plus popular special effects and photo sharing apps. One noteworthy factoid is how big iOS photos are trending on Flickr, the widely used photo sharing site. (We mention iOS here, since the iPad 2 just debuted with cameras, and the iPod Touch just got them last year.)Â According to the infographic (below), the percentage of Apple devices that are shooting and uploading pics to Flickr is growing, while pics from standalone cameras are declining.
For more info on this report, scroll down for the infographic or hit up this link for the full report on how the iPhone compares to “real” cameras.