Over the past few weeks, increasing throngs of people have approached me to smugly state that DSLRs are obsolete, citing recent projections in the cellphone industry. Even before that, I long lost track of all the times I’ve heard “Oh you’re a photographer? Yeah I just bought the latest iPhone/iPad/whatever and it takes great shots!” or “If you knew how to take pictures, you wouldn’t need all that. See?” as the speaker pulls out their phone and activates camera-mode…
Seriously guys, just stop. Even if the technology does get to where you think it will, it is far from being there now. And a cellphone will never be as good as a dedicated camera. You are insulting those who invest our valuable time (and however much money we can afford) into the art, and costing us by either ruining our shots, or refusing to buy our work because of the “my cellphone has a camera so if you can take that shot so can I” mentality.
I worked in an art gallery, and actually had an iPhoneographer compare a panorama composed of over 100 high-resolution photos to what his cellphone can do, saying “if that guy can sell his pics for that much, I am going to start selling mine!” Even if you could theoretically take the same shot: did you?
Do us (and the wildlife) a favour and accept that you will never get the same close-up of an animal or bird as someone with either a telephoto lens or “superzoom” camera, so stop running up to whatever we’re photographing and inevitably scaring it off. The photographer has probably spent much longer than you can even conceive trying to get the perfect shot, only to have you ruin it for nothing.
And stop piggybacking onto our work by crowding against us when you see our tripods set up, or purposely standing immediately in front of us to snap the same scene on your phone. I once had a woman repeatedly block me while photographing the sunrise on an otherwise empty beach, until I picked up my gear, marched straight into the ocean, and plopped it down. The look on her face was worth soaked shoes and pants.
“The best camera is the one you always carry around!” iPhoneographers smugly declare. This is true to a point – indeed, DSLRs are bulky and many photographers (myself included) have a more compact unit we carry around for emergencies — but if you can make phone calls with your camera, it isn’t a camera and you are not a photographer.
Photography gear used in Flippers & Feathers’ original photos: