One Week with the iPhone

Thanks to fellow blogger Dan James of 35hunter fame, I committed to spending a whole week with my iPhone as my only camera.

This resulted from a nice discussion we had about this post of mine.

iPhone photo – Didn’t touch that one, I swear!

So it’s one week without taking up any real camera, just with that slippery slab of aluminium and glass in hand. He thinks I will come to like using it. I swear that guy will make me switch to digital 😉

Restricting myself even more, I chose to only shoot in black and white, using my preferred format for the iPhone… square. Obviously I have selected the ‘Noir’ setting for my photos. Can’t teach an old dog too many new tricks.

I didn’t apply any adjustments to the iPhone’s output. Straight out of camera… ahem, Phone!

Now, one week later, I can report back about my experience…

Besides photography, my other passion!

So what can I say after a week without a proper camera? Well that iPhone does have a decent camera and the results are totally OK. The photos, with the right settings, set directly on the phone, are usable without any editing. We’re getting VERY close to the famed ‘Irreversible Photography‘ Dan talks about. Really!IMG_0719

The sharpness and detail I get out of this machine are great. And the temptation to continue editing is simply not there. So a lot of time-saving here.

Of course it’s not film, my media of choice, but for the occasional times when the XA2 is not with me or I don’t have any roll of film ready it works nicely.IMG_0708

One thing I noticed is that with the iPhone I was much more compelled to do close up shots. A to of more abstract stuff. Honestly, I took it for some walks in the city but I somehow seemed to be afraid (more than with a film camera) to take genuine street shots.IMG_0716

Can’t really explain that effect.

Though I came to like the results, there’s still that problem I got about handling the iPhone. It’s simply not a real camera and it does not feel like one at all to me.

It serves nicely in a pinch, it’s got it’s uses but I think I won’t be using it as regularly as any other camera. As I said in a former post, When walking about I often don^t even think of the iPhone as a camera. I simply don’t take it out of my pocket.IMG_0710

Any other camera I carry always in my hand, mostly on a wrist strap. Always ready! But not the iPhone. I feel awkward pointing it at arm’s length. I feel guilty of of stealing other people’s souls perhaps, Don’t really know. There’s something that just does not work between me and that thing.IMG_0715

Mind you, it’s not about the resulting photos which seem very much OK to me. It’s the whole process that does not appeal to me.

So I can thank Dan James very much for this challenge! It’ was an interesting week and I learned some stuff. I saw that the results are very easy to get and much less time consuming, directly out of the box. But then again…. not, it’s not an always-with-me- camera!

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to comment!

26 thoughts on “One Week with the iPhone

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  1. As I mentioned before you can get a case with a strap, hang the iPhone sideways around your neck, then use the volume buttons to take the pictures. So then it is more like a “proper digital camera”. You can even get a case that looks like a camera. There are also other ways to release the shutter. But what I would suggest is to first figure out what “genre” let’s say of photography (still life, portraiture, bird watching, landscape, street, trains, sports etc.), or decide on a theme or project you want to explore then choose your equipment on that basis, deciding on film and format small or large or digital and/or phone. As for the iPhone there are plenty of apps that kind of “simulate” an analog “look”, there’s even an app that replicates the developing process on your phone. But to make it real you could wet print your iPhone pics. There’s no app for that, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comments. Sure you can kit out a phone to look like a (digital) camera. There’s stuff to do that. And the film look can be simulated – thinking nice presets from RNI (Really Nice Images) it even the old but great SilverEfex!

      As for wet printing iPhone pix that’s the counterpart of scanning negatives, no? 😁


    2. To add to Kevin’s comment, I’ve even seen in some of the bargain/big box stores these days “lenses” you can attach to your iPhone or Samsung to give you macro/wide angle/tele photo capabilities! Curious if those are worth checking out or more of a gimmick. I can’t imagine the lens quality is very good, but you never know.

      Good shots Frank!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. For me they are just gimmicks. If I use a camera phone it’s to carry the least possible gear. Silly to load up with those lenses though they are mostly tiny

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Frank, Those are some very good pictures! I recently switched to iphone se based on your recommendation, and am still getting used to it. You are right, it is different. I don’t shoot street shots (where we live we have no streets) It seems to do well for landscapes and “notebook” pictures. As Kevin notes above, it works better for me to use volume or headphone buttons to release the shutter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jon. In fact I chose the square format so I can hold the thing upright in my hand and use the volume button as a shutter with my index finger…


  3. I do use my Samsung phone for taking some images mainly at work, but some images I like to record a scene and return to the location with film camera. Useful tool in someways as the phone can be somewhat inconspicuous compared to camera but for me I need my old fashioned controls and a viewfinder!
    Great images Frank.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Often its a case of great image, but need to come back in the morning or a different season. Also helps the GPS can tell me where I took the picture (I forget where I shot these images) although my wife seems to remember where we’ve been. Always though the final result is shot on film.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Frank, congrats on taking on and completing the iPhone challenge!

    I actually feel very similarly to you about camera phones in general. Their capabilities aren’t really in question, they’re super portable, easy to use, and always with you. And as you’ve found, the processing can be set up to be either very minimal ( a couple of taps in Hipstamatic, Snapseed or similar) or none at all.

    But yeh they’re never going to feel like a dedicated camera, even a digital compact.

    I think I’m starting to shift my attitude and approach a little with camera phones. To stop comparing them with “proper” cameras, appreciate them for what they offer that really no other camera can, and have fun. More to follow on 35hunter!

    Thanks again for the mentions.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeh I was just thinking, it’s like forming the ultimate superhero team, like The Fantastic Four or something. Each can do their own thing better than any other, but can’t do everything.

        So there’s no single perfect camera, but maybe an arsenal of two or three well chosen models can be an irresistible and unstoppable team.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I have the same issue with using an android, it’s not a camera and I don’t instictively take photos with it. I get it out, open the screen, select camera, rotate it and finally press the button. It’s not instinctive but then it’s not a dedicated camera. I also find that there’s something about the holding the phone by the edges with fingers splayed pose which says ‘I’m taking a picture’ more than acually using a camera does.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I received one as a “joke” present a couple of years ago. You can imagine my face, as it was likely just the same as yours would be in the same situation…

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the camera on my Pixel 2, but I mostly use it to take photos of my cats and my nephew. Like you, I don’t really like doing street photography with it; I once had my iPhone snatched at a bus stop, so I’m super conscious about not holding my phone with a deathly grip close to my body lol. However, I love the ease of editing and uploading images on the fly; perfect for our Instagram society.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Frank, I’m aware that you did pass by my blog (thanks for your support) and I should have mentioned I finally decided to give it up as I realised that writing was once again taking me away from photography projects. The Gravatar (below) should now link to my website. I may have something more regular and fresh work coming soon on Tumblr but pictures and zines only. I’ll still be visiting your rabbit hole, though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve been carrying an I phone since err when did the I phone three come out, anyway it’s in my pocket always is never leave home without it, it takes pictures are you sure anyway I have no idea how to use it I haven’t even been curious enough to try, think I will stick to carrying a camera after forty something years it’s become habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. its interesting what you do feel when you’re using smartphone as a camera. i use my Android camera a lot. dont get it as a real camera but as a documenting gear for the IG moments and IG images. i dont like the quality of both iphone and android – just try to closeup the image and you will see the pixels of the compressed JPG. its great for me for the images with close shadows and with a shadows in whole. for the environment photography with a good light.

    Liked by 1 person

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