Today I’ve got an eclectic collection of images made with the NEX-5N, my iPhone 11, and a Google Pixel 4a. I’m leading off with a dumpster photo, as apposed to a dumpster fire. This was taken with my iPhone, which is going on four years. I did a fair bit of post processing to over-saturate the colors, bring out details in the yellow plastic, etc, etc, etc. In other words this ain’t straight out of camera.
This second photo was taken with the iPhone. This time I pre-configured the camera app for the 16:9 aspect ratio and monochrome. And then I waited for one of Ruby’s side-eye looks at the cats. I swear I believe Ruby wonders if the cats are crazy or not. This photo was straight out of camera.
This photo is straight out of the Sony. I like this because I managed to capture Beau and Danï sharing one of the cat beds together. Beau is everybody’s favorite resting buddy. Beau likes to groom everyone, which precipitates the occasional hairball around 3 am, along with the subsequent mess I need to clean up the next morning, assuming I don’t step in it while I’m just waking up and walking towards the kitchen. Yes, stepping bare foot into cat puke. There’s a thought…
And now the finishing photo.
This is my seat of power, my den of geekdom. This photo was taken with a Google Pixel 4a. The aspect ratio is exactly what the camera produces. The photo is in color, but I chose its vivid color pallet. I’m surprised at the level of detail and the control of noise in the photo. Comparing it with what my iPhone would produce, using this same scene would still look okay with the iPhone, but I think I would prefer the Pixel photo. I’m not going to declare Android a winner over iOS, but I will say without hesitation that with the same level of care (not that much, really) that a contemporary Pixel phone (meaning something more recent than the 4a) will more than provide equivalent decent photographic results compared to a contemporary iPhone and iOS. Which I found surprising today. Who would have thought?
Here’s why I’ll keep my Sony (and Olympus and Panasonic cameras). I can set any purpose-built camera to a given set of parameters, and I know that if I turn that camera off and pick it up the next time I need it that assuming the battery is still good that it will come back on exactly as I set it up. If I preset my iPhone, for example, and turn it off, there’s a really good chance that when I bring the app back up again that it will have been reset to its full set of defaults. I’m talking about the Apple default camera app. Maybe there’s another camera app in the App Store that does what I want, which is remember what I set it to between uses. I won’t install it because either it costs or else because I don’t want yet another app on my device. My iPhone has too many apps on it already. And that’s with a lot of paring of apps I really didn’t need.
The only problem with using a purpose built camera is getting the images from the camera onto the phone and then out to the social media sites. I have a Lightening to SDXC adapter I can use to get my Sony images (and Olympus and Panasonic) onto my iPhone and iPads, and from there onto Flickr and other places. The friction that way is minimized. But that means I need to keep track of a dongle, and I’ve misplaced it from time to time. Some may still consider it too much trouble and live with the smartphone camera, since it’s all right there in one convenient package. I have used apps that have allowed me to wireless transfer from my Olympus and Panasonic cameras to my iPhone, but that’s still some extra effort, although I don’t need the dongle.
For me the extra effort is still worth it because my 12-year-old Sony can still produce superior results to my 4-year-old iPhone, at least to my eyes. Perhaps the iPhone 14 is superior (finally!) to the image quality of the Sony. Perhaps. But I’m not in the mood to spend the money to find out. I have a “work flow” that I can live with, and the Sony is just so much more easy to use than a contemporary iPhone or Android phone. I mean, as long as the Sony is nearby at hand I can grab a photo a lot faster with it than a cell phone.
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