Camera vs. camera

Confessions of a caveman: I’ve only been using my iPhone as a full-fledged camera for the past five years. Moreover: I’ve only had a mobile phone since 2010. Before that: strictly land lines. Living in the Pleistocene epoch is terrifically underrated.

I never thought I’d need a cell phone (raucous laughter), especially one with a camera. Since 2006, I’ve owned a perfectly snazzy, distressingly pricey digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2, acquired for my world travels. 

With its professional Leica lens — as thick and round as a small stack of poker chips, not one of those budget pinholes — the camera separates itself from most Best Buy point-and-shoots. It also boasts manual capabilities, a 4x optical zoom, 10.2 megapixels and a 16:9 widescreen, among other visual gymnastics. It fits in my palm. It’s a good camera.

On a whim, I recently took the Lumix out of storage — that’s how resoundingly my iPhone camera had dethroned the fancier shooter: it was in storage. I had an itch to take more pro-grade photos and reacquaint myself with my trusty travel companion and its battery of bells and whistles.

Before I knew it, I was the greedy shutterbug I once was, seeking beauty and the bizarre, fascinating faces, stunning architecture, and getting in the crouch-and-shoot stance demanded of dogs and children.

First, I made portraiture of Cubby, a study in nappy nobility:

The cat, sleek and skittish, was next:

Outside I snapped this, whose boldface signage is probably telling me something:

Now some iPhone shots, taken in Tokyo, Paris and Istanbul:

OK, so the little Queen of Hearts-sized iPhone appears to beat the pants off the Lumix in this demonstration. And my phone is ancient — a good five years old, perhaps a model 7. But the comparison isn’t quite fair. I’ve walked about six blocks over a few days with the Lumix taking pictures, while I traveled many years and thousands of miles with the iPhone, capturing exotic, iconic locations. Of course I have a similar stash of fine Lumix photos snapped in Japan, India, Texas and beyond, like these shots taken in Nepal, Beirut and Turkey, respectively:

There’s really no contest. Both contraptions take quality pictures. I prefer the Lumix as my main device — it feels like a real camera, for one. iPhones do not. They feel like Kit Kats. I find them unwieldy, tricky to aim, and the shoot button elusive and unreliable. Still, they produce knockout shots that get increasingly superior with each new model. And they handily fit in your pants pockets. 

The Lumix, comparatively, is a Land Rover to the iPhone’s Prius. But it’s not all that bulky. Like I said, I can grasp it in one palm and jam it in a coat pocket like a pack of cigarettes. It’s eminently portable. 

I’ll keep using both shooters for different occasions, the iPhone when I’m traveling ultra-light, the Lumix when I have more room and want more pictorial effects. Not sure which one wins, but it appears the race between cameras is the very picture of a photo finish.

5 thoughts on “Camera vs. camera

  1. Loved your photos. I did not get a cell phone until around the same time and at first had a hard time remembering I actually had it/my purse is ringing/so weird. Still have a flip phone b/c I did not want to attempt iphone transition during the pandemic. There are photo/user groups for iphone, one of our bookclub members/bookcrossers in was in one re: how to take better pics/quality, etc. That being said I love my digital camera, just a canon but I’m not sure how to use the camera on my phone, and even if I did — not sure how I would be able to transfer them to email, etc. My shots are not always great but they do the job for blogging pics. But keep doing what feels right for you/best for your photography.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Chris, That photo of the chef is outstanding.
    I use my Android camera when I want to take photos that I want to quickly share in an email, text, or social media. Being on a 4 1/2 week road trip, the phone has been very handy for that. I take photos with my DSLR and then take the same one with my phone for immediate sharing.
    Here’s my gripe with phone cameras. The photos stay there. They’re very exciting for a few days and then they’re forgotten, left in photo purgatory. They rarely get printed and framed or put in a photo album.
    I imagine that’s okay for some people. My daughter probably has thousands of photos of her kids in her phone. That’s where they’re buried. Unless she takes on a massive printing project or orders a book from one of the printing outfits her kids will never have memories of their childhood to look back on and share.

    Liked by 1 person

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