Friday, April 30, 2021

iphone Limitations

As you probably realize, I've been using my iphone for virtually all of my photos since I returned home from the hospital, over two and a half years ago.  For more than half that time, my large Nikon was just too heavy to hold.  But I've now been using the Nikon (having built back up the strength in my arms) for most of my bird pictures out the window, and a few flowers over the past few months.  I've come to recognize two clear specific shortcomings of the iphone camera.

First let me point out the advantages of the iphone camera.  Besides being lightweight, it's the camera I always have with me.  It fits in a neat pouch hanging on the side of my wheelchair; it's even under my pillow at night.  I always have it with me as a safety precaution.  And it seems to take perfectly good pictures as long as I'm not zooming; at least you haven't complained!  This is the view out the window yesterday morning in the fog.

There are two very specific limitations I've found.  First it blows out the whites if I am zooming in on something like this Primrose.  Compare this picture above taken with the Nikon, to....

..... this one taken with the iphone.  Clearly the whites are too white here.  I think you can also see that the iphone picture, at full zoom, is a little blurry compared to the Nikon picture.  That's the second problem, because I've cropped this a fair bit.

Here's another example, our Magnolia, which is much further away.  This is the Nikon picture, and you can see although I've cropped it a lot, it's still quite clear, if not perfect.

But this iphone picture, taken at full zoom and then cropped quite a lot, loses all resolution.  You basically just can't crop an iphone picture that's taken at full zoom.  this was also taken a few days later when more blooms were out.

You may recall this picture of a Pileated woodpecker out back.  An absolutely terrible picture, cropped from my iphone, but I was so excited I posted it anyway!

On the other hand I had time to grab my Nikon when the Rough-legged hawk stopped by, and got this fabulous picture when I cropped it in.


  1. I prefer using my phone to a camera, but yes, that is a big drawback. Zoom really isn't much to speak of.

  2. The Nikon takes great photos. That last photo is exceptional, FG.

  3. Your hawk, that is magnificent. The iPhone is so handy to have at all times, when that one elusive shot happens unannounced. But your Nikon and my Canon do give the better ones that can be cropped and still stay beautifully in focus.

  4. My phone takes great pictures but can't zoom good at all. It does take great closeups though. My phone is the only camera I have now and at times I miss a regular camera.

  5. Unfortunately smart phones have apparently destroyed the market for small point-and-shoot cameras and have helped put a lot of local camera stores out of business in the process. I've used Canon camera for years but have recently begun using a Panasonic (Lumix) micro four thirds camera and lenses -- much smaller, lighter and less expensive than the Canons and Nikons and they take excellent photographs.

  6. I use my smart phone for some photos, but like you I prefer my bigger camera - a Canon. I find the cell phone does pretty well with landscape shots where I'm not focusing on anything. I do like it for videos as well.

    The hawk photo is amazing!

  7. Quite a comparison. I've never used my Phone. It's either a Point and Shoot or the big DSLR.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  8. I'm a Nikon user as well. I had a Samsung smart phone for a couple years with an excellent camera but rarely ever used it for the exact same reasons you mentioned. I also found the phone clumsy for me to use. Hard to compose a photo, to finicky, and I always had trouble seeing the screen especially outside in sunlight. Dangling a phone camera at arm's length or half an arms length trying to see the hard to see screen never worked for me. Give me a heavier steady DSLR with an eyepiece viewfinder any day.

  9. I must say that I was very pleased to see you were using your Nikon a bit. I remember you telling us it was too heavy to use. Well done for building up your strength. You must be very happy about that. I recently upgraded my iPhone and the camera is a lot better but as nothing compared to a real camera with a proper lens.
    Do you struggle to get the reds right? I rarely feel happy with my photos of red flowers.

  10. Phones don't really zoom. They crop in camera. And the sensor is comparatively tiny too. They do work very well in decent lighting where one doesn't need to crop/zoom too much. And they are darn handy.

    1. I agree. They are handy. Our kids have the latest iPhones, and they are super duper.

  11. Those pictures of the white flowers sure does show the difference! I don't zoom with my iPhone because the resolution is terrible. But these days it's plenty good for most things. I'm so glad you can now use your Nikon for some shots; they are much better.

  12. i'm glad you have 2 options now, i never realized that about whites with the iPhone. awesome picture of the hawk, i hope your little song birds have taken cover!!

  13. I don't lean on my iphone either but it is a quick picture if the camera is elsewhere. You take great photos with both but I see there is a quality difference. My Nikon has trouble with whites and reds with out the perfect lighting. It is fun to do the trial and error.