Particularly if you use your phone as a video camera.
I’ve replaced every camera I’ve owned over the years with an iPhone because they’re getting good enough now for most situations.
When I got my first film camera, it was a 110 film-based point and click system. They were long and quite thin and used 110-type film cartridges which were far easier to insert and remove than traditional 35mm film cameras. It Just Worked(tm). I never really moved up to 35mm cameras as I found them too fiddly. And when I got my first DSLR camera many years ago, I found it a pain carrying everything and having to change lenses. When I did upgrade from the 110 systems, I moved to APS film which was just as easy to use.
The very first digital camera I owned (around 1998/1999) was a Sony Cybershot DSC-S70 and it was chunky thing. It only took 3 megapixel photos, but the results were surprisingly good. A few examples from around 2000 to 2001:
When I was married, we bought a second-hand Canon Powershot G5 which was a truly great all-rounder. It was practically impossible to take bad photos with it. Some sample shots from Cambodia:
This was eventually replaced with a Sony DSC-S930, which despite being a budget camera, took some really rather wonderful shots when we were in Kenya…
The last two proper cameras were the Sony RX100m3 and the RX100m5. I like the Sony brand, and have tried to stick with it for as much as I can – I have a PS5, a Sony Bravia TV, earphones, headphones, etc. Sony and Apple – you can’t go too far wrong 🙂
RX100m3 (Vancouver, Canada and Oregon, USA):
With the iPhones, the sensors keep getting larger every year, and improvements with Smart HDR and other computational photography features mean that taking photos (and video) with the iPhone – something that I always cary with me – is a no-brainer. But I’ll admit that I still miss the Sonys and the Powershot G5.
This year, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max feature updated Smart HDR and better low-light photography. The Po Max now has 5x optical zoom. And with the release of iOS 17, the 48-megapixel main camera combines images from the other lenses to form a new 24-megapixel default. But images from the telephoto and ultrawide – both remain 12Mp sensors for now – will still come out as 12Mp.
iPhone 15 Pro Max:
With the replacement of the Lightning port with USB-C, it is now possible to record video in Apple ProRes 4K 60fps to an external device. Watching sample footage from the phone, even with the limitations of the lenses and sensor, the iPhone Pro range is now a legitimately a genuinely powerful video recording tool. USB-C and the USB 3.1 protocol makes it 20 times faster to transfer any local files on the iPhone to a desktop computer. So we NOW have a phone that’s worth of the Pro moniker. But it be more “Pro-er” if it offered Thunderbolt 4 or USB-4 speeds. Maybe next year or the year after?
But speaking of speeds – the Qualcomm Snapdragon X70 modem in the iPhone 15 range provides a significant 5G and Wi-Fi boost. On my home WI-Fi 6 network, I am now able to go beyond 1Gbs on my iPhone 15 Pro Max whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max would only go up as a high of 935Mbs. During my tests at a Premier Inn, I got significantly higher 4G/5G performance from subsequent visits, and they’re not got the best reception either.
Next year I hope that Apple manages to upgrade the telephoto and ultrawide sensors to 48Mp too – providing 24Mp images across all three lenses. Some more work on reducing lens flare too would be nice – I’ve seen fewer flares with the 15 Pro Max, but it hasn’t gone entirely based on what I’ve seen of others photos/footage.
It’s ironic that a camera manufacturer (Red) who tried to join the mobile revolution by producing a smartphone that tied into the Red camera system failed in their attempt, but Apple (which doesn’t make any professional camera equipment) is able to outdo them in every way.
Smartphones continue to amaze me in what they can do. Even incremental, evolutionary updates can bring small amounts of joy and improve the overall experience. But the real progress here, I think, is with iOS which in it’s 17th release, has made massive improvements to not just the iPhone 15 range, but previous generation iPhones too.