Shark attack -- Apple's f/2.4 iPhone 4S

Started Oct 14, 2011 | Discussions thread
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jon404
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Shark attack -- Apple's f/2.4 iPhone 4S
Oct 14, 2011

If you think of cell phone cameras as a subversive technology sneaking up on our regular camera world, well, they're here. Cell-phone manufacturers, you see, welcome Moore's Law... they EXPECT to engineer dramatic improvements into every new product. And then to overwhelm the old technology as they drive right past it.

About Apple's new iPhone 4S -- "There is now an 8-megapixel rear camera, with a greatly improved sensor, a new five-element lens and a wider aperture. Other phones boast 8-megapixel cameras, but the 4S takes the best pictures and high-definition videos I have seen on a phone. The colors were gorgeous, everything was sharp and the camera can detect up to 10 faces. Plus, it's fast, both in taking the first shot and subsequent pictures." -- Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal.

I'm so out of touch. Like debating with friends whether anybody really needs DSLR quality anymore, since we never make prints larger than 12" x 18", or print at more than 300 dpi. The REAL debate, soon enough, will be whether we even need a CAMERA. Read the ad copy carefully on the iPhone 4S webpage -- http://www.apple.com/iphone/built-in-apps/camera.html -- claims like:

'It just might be the only camera you’ll ever need.'

'So your photos look stunning everywhere you show them off — on your iPhone, your computer, or your HDTV. And they’re rendered pixel for pixel in prints as large as 8x10.'

'The custom lens uses five precision elements to shape incoming light, which makes the entire image sharper. The larger f/2.4 aperture lets in more light, so photos look brighter and better. And the advanced hybrid infrared filter keeps out harmful IR light, so you’ll see more accurate and uniform colors.'

'The A5 chip is designed with an image signal processor that’s just as good as the ones found in DSLR cameras.'

'HDR. The best everything. All in one shot.'

Now, as a camera owner, you're probably rolling with laughter, the way some folks cracked up after I compared my small XZ-1 with a Leica M9. But it's not about you. Or me. It's about my granddaughters, and their friends. Who are all about cell phones, and, now that the image quality is getting there, will use their phones to take photos for their startup businesses -- and, believe me, more and more of them will sell photos for money, and become professional photographers. Same way that 35mm users muscled in on the large-format world, years ago. But it will happen very fast: the Moore's Law tiger is out of its cage, and running straight at Nikon and Canon for a quick lunch.

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