Apple’s iPhone revolutionized photography

“When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, no one imagined that in 10 short years it would become the world’s most popular camera and herald a new era of visual communication,” David Pierini writes for Cult of Mac. “Yet we are witnessing the death of point-and-shoots, the explosion of massive social networks devoted to pics and videos, and the rise of perhaps the most popular photo style of all time — the selfie.”

“The iPhone [has] transformed photography forever,” Pierini writes. “The iPhone means a camera is with you at all times. No need to worry about settings. The software does the heavy lifting while you need only delight in what you are looking at and capture it with the press of the virtual shutter button.”

“The result is instant and if a person wants to give a photo a professional patina, there are dozens of apps with pre-set filters and effects to enhance mood and color,” Pierini writes. “Then almost in the same instant, you can share it with family and friends.”

The top rear of Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black
The top rear of Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black shows the dual-camera and Quad LED flash

“It is might be hard to imagine a smartphone replacing all the gear used by today’s professional photographers, but veteran photographer Marc Serota believes that day is today. Serota is a long-time Canon user who for years routinely patrolled football sidelines and sporting arenas with multiple camera bodies and long lenses. Serota still uses special riggings to shoot with longer lenses from his Canon inventory, but his main rig is his iPhone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If we’ve personally sold one iPhone 7 Plus simply by showing off Portrait Mode, we’ve sold a hundred. The unmatched quality of iPhone’s camera, thanks to Apple’s unique custom hardware+software approach is a tremendous selling point.

Photography shootout: Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus vs. $3,000 DSLR camera – December 28, 2016
iPhone 7 photo samples: Seriously, how does a phone have a camera this good? – September 21, 2016
Apple’s iPhone cameras not only destroyed the compact digital camera market, they completely changed society – September 21, 2016
Professional photographer Benjamin Lowy puts Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus cutting-edge camera to the test – September 20, 2016
Apple iPhone now most-used camera on Flickr – August 18, 2009
Apple’s iPhone 3G dominates camera phones in use on Flickr – December 23, 2008


  1. Believe what you want, my camera equipment can be used to do things that the iPhone will never be able to do. You can’t replace glass.

    That being said, I do use my iPhone to take a lot of pictures. On my last vacation most of the pictures were with an iPhone. However, my last wedding shoot was all Canon.

    1. I have a couple of great old 35mm cameras with great glass that I wish had a brighter future.

      I would love to see Apple and Leica do a real camera together. Back a few years Leica did the Digilux 2 which was a great Digicam with an awesome lens and controls like a traditional 35mm camera. The only problem is that the CCD is way out of date, but that Lens design was magic.

      If they put out a join project camera with a modern CCD and that lens set in a high quality camera with Apple’s technology it could sell very well, indeed and make a lot of people happy.

  2. I like the idea of (limited) selfies, but don’t like that the iPhone’s front camera quality is that much worse than the back.

    Both front and back cameras would also greatly benefit from a wider field of view. Was recently forced to defer to a friend’s new Android camera because its selfie cam could see the entire dinner table, while my 6s could only capture 2/3 of it. He was pretty damn smug about it too.

    1. So his Android had a lens assembly that was in the range between wide angle and fisheye, while the iPhone has a lens assembly in the range between normal and wide angle. This means that the Androd has more (if not significantly more) pincushion and barrel distortion — which is not too bad when shooting buildings and such, but I’d wager that the people you’re shooting don’t like having their faces and/or bodies distorted (which almost always results in a “fatter” person in this case).

      Just sayin’…

      1. Um, people near the edges of my 6s camera shots *already* get distorted. But not always, and I’ve not looked closely enough to see whether it’s a certain area of the lens where it’s happening.

        Sometimes I see it in time and adjust the framing and take another shot, often it’s too late cuz I only see it when reviewing photos later.

        In any case, the photo taken on the Android looked fine.

    2. Not sure if it runs on a 6s but the ProCamera App enables you to take photos in a 16:9 format both front and selfie.

      I wish Apple would enable the 16:9 format as almost every photo I capture ends up in a 4K video and I’ve always despised the 4:3 proportion. I only use the apple camera app for macro work which works well.

  3. I have been a keen photographer and had my own darkroom since the 60’s and use a number of SLRs ( plus film cameras ) together with a selection of lenses, but when I look at my walls, the majority of the photographs that I have chosen to frame were taken on my iPhone.

    The reason for that is largely because the iPhone is always with me and I’m able to capture unexpected moments with it, even though there is often an SLR in my car. The iPhone camera is certainly good enough for most of the images that I would take with a wide to standard lens.

    However there are two aspects where the iPhone is unlikely to ever match an SLR. Interchangeable lenses are very important for many types of photography and it seems unlikely that we will see the equivalent of a long focal lens ( 300mm or more ) built into a smartphone in the near future. I would also be surprised if anybody ever comes up with an ergonomic way to steadily hold a smartphone with such a lens that compares to the way that we currently operate the camera, holding the camera body with one hand and the lens with the other, keeping our elbows pressed against our body for additional stability. Camera shake is a major problem with long lenses and holding a smartphone sufficiently steady would be challenging, although I realise that there might be a technological solution using image stabilisation.

    The other important aspect is a proper viewfinder with an eye cup. Looking at a large screen is great for some types of photography, but holding a viewfinder close to your eye eliminates all distractions and reflections, allowing you to better concentrate on capturing the image. I don’t like the trend in consumer digital cameras of doing away with an eye level optical viewfinder and having a large LCD screen instead.

    There are other things too which make a difference, such as a proper shutter button, control wheels or buttons where you can operate them by feel without looking, or a flash powerful enough to act as an effective fill for daylight portraits, but those are useful advantagess rather than deal-killing omissions.

    It’s important to bear in mind that there are many types of photography and an iPhone can’t be expected to compete with specialised photographic equipment, but it’s doing a great job of occupying the middle ground.

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