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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

The iPhone 4 or DSLR?

August 8, 2010

The utility of the iPhone only increased with the iPhone 4. Taking photos on the go was always possible with the iPhone. Remember, I used the first gen iPhone with its 2.1MP digital camera for over 3 years.However, the iPhone 4’s camera quality and speed nearly makes it a digital camera replacement for my use.

If you’re a pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera owner than the iPhone 4 may indeed be a digital camera replacement. If you’re like me though – and you tote around a DSLR – then the iPhone 4 can make the choice of which camera to use frustrating. The iPhone 4 is good enough quality-wise and certainly good enough speed-wise to use it in nearly every situation I’ve come across over the last few months. Does it shoot as well or give you as many options as the DSLR? Not even close. Does it need to? Well, that is up to my now frustrated photographic geek sensibilities.

Good photography has never really been about the tools but about the photographer. Photographs from the early days of photography using silver nitrate and a pinhole camera with 30-minute exposures are oftentimes much better photographs than I’ve ever taken with the most sophisticated gear. So making the choice between the iPhone 4 and the DSLR typically isn’t about art. It usually comes down to how I will use the images. If I’m sharing them on the Web then the iPhone 4 is more than adequate. If I’m going to create a DVD or print the images then the DSLR is a much better choice.

But then there is video. My DSLR doesn’t shoot any video, let alone HD-quality video, while my iPhone 4 does. Capturing quick moments of video for use later is a neat option to have in a pinch. In fact, I still haven’t gotten used to this feature. I often forget it is even there – just waiting for me to press the red button.

Using my DSLR has now become a forced exercise. Something I plan, prepare for and do rather than just allowing it to happen naturally. Before each outing, each trip or any photo op I will have to ask myself – will I use the iPhone 4 or the Canon Digital Rebel XTi?It is a good problem to have but one that I’m regretting having to make.

But I’m a photographic geek of the second order (in an attempt not to peeve the photographic geeks of the first order) and I’d wager no on else would really care nearly as much as I do. So if you’ll excuse me I’ll go back to adding copious amounts of metadata to my 50,000 photo archive for no other reason then to be able to sort them based on the color spectrum. *pushes black-rim glasses up his nose*