I’m (kind of) a purist when it comes to photography, a snob some would say. I have traditional values, expose and focus manually, I shoot film (some of the time), I am certainly not a point and shoot kind of person and I have never bought a phone on the quality of the photos it could take. But recently that has all changed, I have found myself looking for a pocket size camera that can come somewhere close to a dslr on image quality and while I was looking I have found myself pushed towards buying a phone rather than a point and shoot camera (not very purist at all).
The benefits of phone over point and shoot are firstly, the size: even a point-and-shoot camera can be bulky in comparison. A phone is designed to slip into your pocket and although it does require some adjustment in shooting style compared to a traditional camera, this alone means that it should be easier to have with you all the time “The best camera, is the one you have with you.”
Phones have a whole bunch of other uses besides photography that cameras don’t usually have; the ability to immediately edit and upload to just about anywhere, apps such as The Photographers Ephemeris that can give you sunset and sunrise times, tell you which way the moon or sun is rising or setting and show you maps of the shoot location and that is without mentioning the phone and text messaging ability. A huge selection of apps for editing / sharing / aroura forecasting / weather that can help with your photography.
So with that in mind I began the hunt for a phone to replace my five year old Motorola. After looking at various options, I opted for the Hawaei 9p Lite, 12mp main camera that supports Raw shooting, has a large screen, much larger than I’m used to. It took a day or so to get used to it, to change my style of photography to fit the phone, but with Lightroom mobile app installed, the results have been superb and taking the images as uncompressed DNG files produces images that are as good as most digital cameras.
There are some down sides of course, high quality zoom is limited, noise is a little more apparent at the highest ISO settings, but weighed against that is; the ability to get superb close-up shots, within millimetres, without any specialist equipment; how discreet the camera is (so many people are walking around staring at mobile phones these days, that no one notices if you are taking photographs or not); size, convenience and that allow you to have it with at all times, oh and of course you can make calls on it as well.
For me my phone isn’t going to replace using more traditional style cameras, but it has opened up for me the opportunity to get images that I would otherwise would have missed.