Focusing On iPhoneography

What’s the best camera? The one you have with you, of course. With that in mind, Apple is on the cusp of announcing its newest iCameras 14, presumably with ever-better camera systems. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying a reawakening of my dormant hobby: photography. And for a pocket phone cam that’s always with me, my iPhone 8 Plus isn’t half bad. Yet newer Apple cameras (phones) are even better. Why not make the camera that’s always with me the best it can be?

Before I talk about cellular telephone cameras, let me first say it’s refreshingly nice to feel my former enthusiasm for picture-making revive. The craft of photography is fulfilling regardless of the gear involved. Years ago, it was my main hobby. For various reasons — life — I’ve enjoyed other pursuits. But none seem quite so satisfying as getting outside and focusing on nature through the lens of a camera.

So the photo bug bit me again. Why? Because my oldest two sons’ iPhones will no longer be supported by Apple once iOS 16 is released in the next few weeks. This means I get to upgrade my iPhone 8 Plus, which will be 5 years old next month. With one or two years left of support, it can be passed down to one of my sons, replacing their soon out-of-date device. That’s a fair recycling program. And it’s a convenient way for me to upgrade the camera that’s always with me. Naturally, I want to make it the best it can be.

Thinking about what newer iPhone I might move up to, I’ve been impressed by their more advanced camera systems. Yeah, camera nerd here. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m still talking about a phone camera and not a “real” camera. Yet dumb-cameras died a few years back since phone cam quality — not to mention convenience — matched or surpassed that of compact cameras (a.k.a. point-and-shoots). My iPhone 8 Plus is all I shoot with these days, only busting out my old Canon S5IS (and my wife’s Nikon D60 before it died) once a year during Bluebonnet season.

With iPhone camera hardware improved, my eyes are fixed on the three-lens setup found on iPhone 11 Pro for example. Also more advanced is iPhone camera software thanks to — queue buzzword — computational photography. Automatic features like Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, and Portrait Mode work with iPhone hardware to create impressive results. Search on YouTube for iPhone camera comparisons with “real” pro cameras — the picture quality gap is closing.

The draw of more capable camera tech — think fancy new iPhone — pulled my gaze back towards photography. Also, recent news that Instagram is no longer about photography (no surprise) caught my attention. This led me to give Flickr another look, which seems to be doing fine. I’ve still got photos there from when I started a new account a few years back.

I’ve missed the relaxing and fulfilling hobby of photography. There’s no telling how much I’ll dive back into it or how long the latest photo-bug-bite effects will last. With a new camera (iPhone) and better weather likely coming this Fall, I imagine I’ll get out and take more photos. However far things go, I plan to enjoy the renewed focus while it lasts.

Do you dabble in photography or get excited for new gear? Is there a hobby that you’d like to rekindle?