Lots of Reasons to Buy an iPhone: The Camera Isn't One of Them

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I really like the iPhone and wouldn't dream of parting with mine, but believe me, my affection stems not from the built-in 2-megapixel camera. Here are a few tidbits about the iPhone capture you should know:

You can send pictures you take with the iPhone via the device's Mail application. Your image is sampled down to 640x480 and added as an attachment. You have no other wireless option for sending your pictures. That being said, email is very easy.

The iPhone does, however, communicate well with iPhoto (Mac users only). Connect your iPhone, and it shows up as a tethered camera in iPhoto's Source pane. When you download the images to iPhoto, they come in at the full 1200x1600 resolution. Unfortunately, you don't get any substantial metadata other than the f-stop. So you have no idea about shutter speed, ISO, or focal length.

Taking pictures with the iPhone couldn't be simplier, too simple in fact. You have no settings or preferences at all, so you can't adjust the white balance, ISO, or even use a self-timer. Just point the camera and click the shutter... that's it.

I certainly can appreciate Apple's efforts to keep things simple. And I'm hoping that we get more functionality up the road via software updates. But if you're a big camera phone shooter, you will probably be disappointed with this device as it ships now. We'll see what the future brings.

Shown here is a sample photo I took in the shade of a patio in the middle of the day. I'm guessing that I was too close to the subject for precise focus, and I had no focus confirmation while attempting the shot. So this is what I got.

I do like the big viewing screen for capturing and viewing photos, and if I had just a few controls, I think I could overlook its other shortcomings. In the meantime, I think I'll watch some YouTube videos.

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6 Comments

For photography, I would prefer the Nokia N95 although it doesn't use the same cool touch screen as the iPhone. The only drawback is that the N95 costs at least $700! I think I'll wait a while and save my money on a new camera body. :P

You forgot to mention the "experience" part of taking photo: instead of a "hard" shutter button, iPhone gives you an on-screen soft button which is awkward to press with one hand. As for feature, I am with you hoping that Apple will add more features down the road, but for now, it should be fine for taking notes, record your parking space (my favorite use of a camera phone), and other quick grabshots.

Yes, you're right on both counts. And I do think we will see more features over the coming months. In the meantime, yes, parking spots and other informal data gathering uses are fine for the iPhone.

So, have you submitted a photo yet for the Park by the Numbers project?

Would you mind taking some shots and posting the Apertures you get. I'm particularly interested in what the widest is. Also I doubt there is but, could you possibly find a model number for the camera (or I'll also try to check iSuppli or something) to find more specs? I'm wondering if this may be a newer webcam camera (some Dell [:P] notebooks have 2MP cameras available for extra $$)?

Thanx in advance

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Happy Shooting and a happy 4th!
http://www.picasaweb.google.com/michaelballphotography

As a new iphone owner, I really didn't purchase it for its camera, or even for its phone... I purchased it (primarily) for email and web capabilities on a small and yet useable device. I have been pleased and rewarded on both those accounts, but most surprising was that I actually "enjoyed" using it as a phone, therefore using the cell phone more in one week than I had in the past year on a traditional cell phone. Smooth interface, fun to use, easy to call and to hear... a one button interface (slap my forehead easy- even my wife can answer it and call with it easy-peasy)
However... the most amazing (right word) aspect of the iphone has been the camera. It has taken GREAT shots for me. My brother had his 5mp sony and my iphone regularly knocked his shots right out of the water.
The broad wide angle lens captures a close to "normal" viewpoint aspect ratio with ample clarity and 'absolutely great' auto-exposure! I am talking about common shots: Street scenes, family portraits, landscapes. It is quick on the draw, and easy enough to hand off to a waitress to "point at us, and when you have a good shot, poke the little camera with your finger"
My son got married last week, and he asked me to take some pictures... I was going to go with my trusty nikon coolpix 995 (but it was too slow...) so I went to my new backup, my iphone.
Besides being fun to use and a conversation starter, it produced some knockout shots!

My brother took some shots, but I found it hard to distinguish which... at least visually. The biggest problem with the iphone is backlighting, but hey... take a gander... (about 50% iphone)

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=bdoidi.1zv7r5j3&x=0&y=rg46wi

I would really like a full rundown of the iphone camera, as I am quite astonished by it... and there is so little documentation on it. Like: what is the aspect ratio... approx 24mm, what is the lens,, the sensor, the downfalls and the surprises or work around.

Just my 2 cents

Much appreciate for this post. I'm going to purchase my brother the Nixon 51-30! I hope he enjoys it.

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