What are phones really replacing? (and what are they complimenting...)

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Max Iso
Max Iso Senior Member • Posts: 6,052
What are phones really replacing? (and what are they complimenting...)

I recently recommended a phone as the camera of choice. I couldn't believe it, me, recommending a phone for serious results? It was somebody asking about shooting static subjects in a museum (thread is still going). Of course a lot of people suggested ILC with IBIS, that's what i naturally would have suggested too, in fact it was a big checkmark on my own list of upgrades not long ago.

I was in MFT and looking at the EM1, in large part bc 4+ stops of IBIS sounded really cool. Could it do more than my current DSLR in most other ways that i care about? No, but when things were not in motion at all, slow SS with IBIS seemed like a great way to cheat more IQ out of a smaller sensor/aperture.

Fast forward to a few months later and i decided to go with my gut and, for the last time, jump formats. Yes i would kinda miss a few things, namely silent E shutters and the IBIS, but i get my personally preferred OVF, complete auto iso settings and gnarly battery life (not to mention super cheap lens options like the Promaster 100 3.5 i just bought for $60).

But perhaps the photon gods were with me because it seems i haven't given up anything at all. I have always admired the Olympus rez stacking feature, so i recently did a lot of testing to see what i could accomplish manually with PS. Along the way, i dove into apps on my phone to see how they stacked up (pun intended). I went as far to take photos with my D7000 and load them on my phone to use a stacking app. Results were best with PS by hand, not amazing but better than a single shot.

Then when i got my new iphone, things just figured themselves out. The idea was to see if i could get my phone's WA lens to suffice for the occasional wide shot. I don't shoot WA stuff much, i don't even have a WA lens for my Nikon and don't plan on buying one, hence my interest in making my phone suffice. I think it will work out. Not as good as the best IBIS ILC out there (think K1 or perhaps A7rIII) but good enough for anything WA im needing (vacation shots, sight seeing christmas lights, ect).

Again, this is a very niche need for me, but it's exactly what that EM1 would have offered that my D7000 doesn't. ML tend to have more IBIS options. Sony, Oly and Panasonic, all 3 with high end IBIS systems, nearing or past 5 stops. But for me, IBIS/OIS is only super useful for static scenes where im likely to shoot WA. Anything else i shoot with other lenses is likely to move around too much.

I guess the gist of the story is, my phone has one thing it does really well, it has a super fast processor and a WA lens with IBIS. I have an app that can stack 99 photos in a few seconds, and do so at very slow SS with amazing alignment and no blur. It's quite amazing what it spits out.

This got me thinking, because my phone still isn't a match for anything my DSLR is used for (telephoto, DOF control, portraits, flash work, macro), but it is fully good enough for what i ML would have offered over my DSLR. Basically, my phone replaced ML for my needs. There, i said it, my phone replaced any need i have for a MILC. 😨

Im fully aware that many ML users have their own needs and fair enough. This is just my own take on the good and bad of each platform. Feel free to share thoughts ect. Here is a bad shot i took tonight driving home. I had it on auto as i was in a hurry so the HL are blown but next opportunity i will take a few secs and adjust settings better. It's quite impressive how little motion blur there was, as well as how well noise was reduced from stacking.

A random house i saw. Rolled down the window, held up my phone. Good enough for me for a $3 app, and probably better than what a WA on my D7000 would produce.

 Max Iso's gear list:Max Iso's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus 40-150mm F3.5-4.5 +3 more
Nikon D7000 Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-1
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