Former Google Sr. VP: ‘If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.’

“The end “of the DSLR for most people has already arrived,” Former Google Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra writes via Facebook. “I left my professional camera at home and took these shots at dinner with my iPhone 7 using computational photography (portrait mode as Apple calls it). Hard not to call these results (in a restaurant, taken on a mobile phone with no flash) stunning. Great job Apple.”

To someone who said, Bu, bu, but “Samsung S8,” Gundotra replied:

Here is the problem: It’s Android. Android is an open source (mostly) operating system that has to be neutral to all parties. This sounds good until you get into the details. Ever wonder why a Samsung phone has a confused and bewildering array of photo options? Should I use the Samsung Camera? Or the Android Camera? Samsung gallery or Google Photos?

It’s because when Samsung innovates with the underlying hardware (like a better camera) they have to convince Google to allow that innovation to be surfaced to other applications via the appropriate API. That can take YEARS.

Also the greatest innovation isn’t even happening at the hardware level – it’s happening at the computational photography level. (Google was crushing this 5 years ago – they had had “auto awesome” that used AI techniques to automatically remove wrinkles, whiten teeth, add vignetting, etc… but recently Google has fallen back).

Apple doesn’t have all these constraints. They innovate in the underlying hardware, and just simply update the software with their latest innovations (like portrait mode) and ship it.

Bottom line: If you truly care about great photography, you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an Android.

MacDailyNews Take: If you truly care about many things (processor speed, security, privacy, contactless payments, app quality, photography, etcetera), you own an iPhone. If you don’t mind being a few years behind, buy an older iPhone – it’s still far better than some derivative POS from a bunch of IP thieves.

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  1. The iPhone has a nice cell phone camera but it is in no way a replacement for a serious camera.

    In a different time I worked professionally as a photographer (film- not digital) and not to take anything away from the accomplishments of the Apple team, if an iPhone meets your photo needs you do not need a serious camera.

    1. I agree with your statement, but the best camera is the one you have with you.

      Most people—even those who own “serious cameras” don’t carry their serious cameras with them everywhere like they carry their iPhones.

      1. To me, it doesn’t matter. I can’t tell the difference. For my wife, a professional photographer, it’s a different story. She can see the difference. She brings her 7plus everywhere. She tries. Really tries. But she always complains the 7plus doesn’t quite get it. She misses her 5D when she’s not carrying it. And that’s all that matters. A pro photographer gets it and sees it. No matter how we laymen don’t.

        1. Here is a test, go outside and take a photo of the moon with your iphone. Then go outside and take a photo of the moon with a sigma 150-600. The difference will be readily apparent.

          Shoot low light and look at all the noise on an iphone.

        2. There is no question that you can find instances where a particular camera and lens will take a better photo than any iPhone will. The point is that the universe of conditions where an iPhone will take an acceptable picture is ever widening. The iPhone will never replace a prosumer camera with great glass, but it will continue to eat away at that territory.

      2. I have an iPhone 7 and it is a very nice and useful thing but it is fanboi hype to claim it is a replacement for a high quality camera. The iPhone camera has crushed the point and shoot. While it is amazing that such power now rests in the hands of every iPhone user it is in no way a replacement for what can be accomplished with a high quality camera and great glass.

        For example, take a look at this lens.

        $10,995.00 for a Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH. Lens

        How many iPhone 7 Plus models will that buy?

  2. Gundotra: When this guy left Microsoft for Google Balmer had that famous “chair throwing” episode. This is also the guy, who at Google’s I/O conference told his developers that Google did not want the vision of mobile computing to be dictated by Steve Jobs. And all this while he loved the iPhone?
    Who knew?!?

    1. I agree with you but would put differently –

      If you’re taking photographs that only require a standard lens, normal aperture settings, in reasonable lighting conditions and not using external flash then an iPhone is likely to produce pretty good images which can be comparable to those from a DSLR.

      On the other hand, once your photography dictates that you would use a telephoto lens, very wide aperture, working in very low light or external flash, then a DSLR is going to offer tremendous advantages.

      But as we all know, that iPhone is always going to be in your pocket, while the DSLR might be in it’s bag nearby when that great unexpected photo opportunity arises. I’ve always understood the advantages of always having a camera with me and in the days of film I always carried an Olympus XA camera in my pocket. It was a small full-frame 35mm rangefinder ( manual focus ) camera and didn’t support the DX barcodes on film canisters, so you could tell it that it was using different film to what was actually there in order to adjust the auto-exposure setting for unusual lighting conditions. It was capable of taking excellent photos and is now battered and worn from having travelled around the world multiple times, but is still in perfect working order, but now retired. In my house, the framed photos on the wall were mostly taken with that camera or my iPhone. My film and digital SLRs were used for far fewer of those favourite images simply because they were not to hand at that instant and the moment would have passed by the time I had got my ‘proper’ camera.

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