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Annie Liebovitz recommends iPhone as "snapshot camera of today"

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
When asked by friends what kind of camera they should buy, famed photographer Annie Liebovitz says she recommends the iPhone.

In an interview with NBC's "Rock Center" promoting her new book "Pilgrimage," Liebovitz flatly answered that the iPhone is the "snapshot camera of today," perhaps suggesting a link with popular cameras of the past used to capture everyday photos.

"I'm still learning how to use mine," Liebovitz said, pulling her iPhone 4 out to take a picture of her host. "It's great. It's a pencil, it's a pen, it's a notebook. I can't tell you how many times I see people show me their children. It's the wallet with the family pictures in it. It is so accessible and easy."



Liebovitz, named "a living legend" by the the Library of Congress for her work, has captured a wide range of iconic photographs, many for Rolling Stone, where she became its chief photographer in the early 1970s.

Among her most famous covers there depicted a nude John Lennon wrapped around Yoko Ono. For Vanity Fair, Liebovitz captured naked, pregnant Demi Moore. Those two photos have since been named the best two magazine covers over the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
post #2 of 34
That's beautiful! I find the camera is my favorite feature of the phone.
post #3 of 34
The camera is probably the most used feature of the iPhone overall.
post #4 of 34
Nicely composed photo she took of Bri-Wi but for her finger that got in the way.
post #5 of 34
What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general. The quality improvements in the last two years are allowing people who otherwise would never own a camera to finally capture reasonable images. If Apple wants to claim a product endorsement, that's ok, but I believe she was crediting a class of devices.
post #6 of 34
Loving the camera on the new iPhone. Defiantly a big improvement over the iPhone 3G!!
post #7 of 34
The iPhone's camera is fine in daylight, but sucks for indoors shots, even the cameras on the 4S. I constantly get blur, and the camera's AUTO feature never seems to engage the flash, unless it's very very dark.

Oh well.
post #8 of 34
One of my main reasons for upgrading from a 3GS is for the better camera. With the 4S, I can stop carrying my big, old point-and-shoot. One less gadget to carry.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring View Post

What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general. The quality improvements in the last two years are allowing people who otherwise would never own a camera to finally capture reasonable images. If Apple wants to claim a product endorsement, that's ok, but I believe she was crediting a class of devices.

I guess it depends on one's opinion, but I would say the iphone has by far the best camera of any smart phone.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring View Post

What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general. The quality improvements in the last two years are allowing people who otherwise would never own a camera to finally capture reasonable images. If Apple wants to claim a product endorsement, that's ok, but I believe she was crediting a class of devices.

And here I was thinking that having Annie Liebovitz come out and say this was finally going to get the camera-philes to shut up but you seem to be just using it as an excuse to push the same old tired agenda.

You are basically taking her statement and supposing through your own interpretation that she was in fact saying the exact opposite to what she meant to say.

The iPhone camera is not just a camera for people who "never owned a camera before" it's better by a substantial amount than the majority of point and shoots. In other words, as long as you aren't a camera snob or the photographic equivalent of an audiophile, it's actually one of the best cameras you could buy.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring View Post

What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general. The quality improvements in the last two years are allowing people who otherwise would never own a camera to finally capture reasonable images. If Apple wants to claim a product endorsement, that's ok, but I believe she was crediting a class of devices.

I think that's what was meant in "snapshot camera".
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

And here I was thinking that having Annie Liebovitz come out and say this was finally going to get the camera-philes to shut up but you seem to be just using it as an excuse to push the same old tired agenda.

You are basically taking her statement and supposing through your own interpretation that she was in fact saying the exact opposite to what she meant to say.

The iPhone camera is not just a camera for people who "never owned a camera before" it's better by a substantial amount than the majority of point and shoots. In other words, as long as you aren't a camera snob or the photographic equivalent of an audiophile, it's actually one of the best cameras you could buy.

My iPhone 4 can't get decent color worth a damn in fluorescent light. The iPhone 4 Apple replaced due to an overheating battery had the exact same problem. I've not had this problem with any kind of camera before, P&S, cellphone or otherwise.

And the lack of optical zoom can be very limiting.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

The iPhone's camera is fine in daylight, but sucks for indoors shots, even the cameras on the 4S. I constantly get blur, and the camera's AUTO feature never seems to engage the flash, unless it's very very dark.

Oh well.

That's not a bug, it's a smart feature. Anyone with any sensitivity to image creation generally will only use a flash as a last resort. Natural light and a steady hand are two components most lacking in run of the mill photos. Those two key factors would serve as excellent foundation stones as one works to become a good photographer.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

My iPhone 4 can't get decent color worth a damn in fluorescent light. The iPhone 4 Apple replaced due to an overheating battery had the exact same problem. I've not had this problem with any kind of camera before, P&S, cellphone or otherwise.

And the lack of optical zoom can be very limiting.

Well, since an optical zoom is impossible in a thin phone, I think you'll have to forgive Apple.
Florescent light is horrible for any camera. Most cameras just attempt to adjust to the dominant light source, but this can screw colors up badly. I think Apple has decided to take a least radical approach and let you adjust the color temp as you prefer. A RAW format would make me happiest, but them it wouldn't really be a point and shoot. Apple should probably just have a mode that decides for the user, which would make you happy.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The iPhone camera is not just a camera for people who "never owned a camera before" it's better by a substantial amount than the majority of point and shoots. In other words, as long as you aren't a camera snob or the photographic equivalent of an audiophile, it's actually one of the best cameras you could buy.

I'd argue the points about it being "substantially better" or the "best camera", but I'd support your point by saying it's the only camera many people would need. Not because it's so much better than a point-and-shoot, but because most point-and-shoot cameras are more than most people either need or would know how to use to take advantage of the features they offer. (And you don't need be a camera snob to appreciate those features, you just need to read the manual that came with your camera, and most people don't.)
post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Well, since an optical zoom is impossible in a thin phone, I think you'll have to forgive Apple.

I know a zoom can't fit, but when one makes hyperbole like this:

"In other words, as long as you aren't a camera snob or the photographic equivalent of an audiophile, it's actually one of the best cameras you could buy."

The lack of a zoom really hurts such a statement, because it's not a photo snob feature and it can be really useful, and it's found on most P&S cameras, yielding far better results than the iPhone's digital zoom feature.


Quote:
Florescent light is horrible for any camera. Most cameras just attempt to adjust to the dominant light source, but this can screw colors up badly. I think Apple has decided to take a least radical approach and let you adjust the color temp as you prefer. A RAW format would make me happiest, but them it wouldn't really be a point and shoot. Apple should probably just have a mode that decides for the user, which would make you happy.

Where is the color temp adjustment? Not in the phone anywhere that I've seen. The crop function is nice to have now, but that and red eye and full auto is all I've found.

See this photo for what I mean:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34962649@N00/6351178953/
I made no alterations outside of iPhone's built-in camera app, in fact, I uploaded it from within the phone.

I'm well aware that fluorescent is tough, but that "rainbow" is embarrassing. I've not seen anything like that in any other camera.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring View Post

What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general... I believe she was crediting a class of devices.

Oh come on. If she had named, say, the Kodak Instamatic as the snapshot camera of its era, would you interpret this as referring to a whole class of devices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

The iPhone's camera is fine in daylight, but sucks for indoors shots, even the cameras on the 4S. I constantly get blur, and the camera's AUTO feature never seems to engage the flash, unless it's very very dark.

No real argument here, but you might like to check out the newish Jolly Rainbo 2X flash for Hipstamatic, especially with low-light-friendly "lenses" like Jimmy, Melodie, and (also newish) Lucas AB2. Make sure you switch the LED flash ON (by sliding the flash control all the way to the left). I have no idea how it works, but it actually takes pictures (most of the time: ymmv) without the horribly washed-out result you typically get with cell phone cameras

The "Clarity" filter on Camera+ can work wonders with seemingly underexposed images, as can the "FixDark" feature of PerfectlyClear.

With my less-than-steady hands, I get blurring too with low-light exposures. Many camera-replacement apps have anti-shake settings. I especially like the implementation of this feature in CameraSharp.

I suspect, in fact, that all the added possibilities provided by the hundreds of available photo apps might explain why Liebovitz says she's "still learning how to use mine." It probably also explains why the iPhone is by far the most popular camera (not just cell phone camera) on Flickr. With just a couple of apps -- say Camera+ and Photoforge 2 -- you've got a reasonably capable photo lab in your pocket.

I don't know enough to say whether or not the iPhone 4S camera is the best cell phone camera out there. Probably it's not. But it's the one people are really using, including, increasingly, serious photographers.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

When asked by friends what kind of camera they should buy, famed photographer Annie Liebovitz says she recommends the iPhone.


She's a Grandma, isn't she?
post #19 of 34
The iHaters are probably going to throw a tantrum and swear that this woman was paid by Apple to hype the iPhone's photo-taking ability.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

The iPhone's camera is fine in daylight, but sucks for indoors shots, even the cameras on the 4S. I constantly get blur, and the camera's AUTO feature never seems to engage the flash, unless it's very very dark.

Oh well.

But the same thing applies to most snap shooters and I would argue most cameras with a built in flash. My DSLR will perform better than an iPhone in adverse condition but indoor low light. conditions will always produce sketchy results. Like the iPhone my big Canon has lots of limitations - chief amongst those being size and weight. It spends most of the time on the shelf.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

She's a Grandma, isn't she?

One day you'll be one as well.
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post #22 of 34
Can she even afford an iPhone now?
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

My iPhone 4 can't get decent color worth a damn in fluorescent light. The iPhone 4 Apple replaced due to an overheating battery had the exact same problem. I've not had this problem with any kind of camera before, P&S, cellphone or otherwise.

And the lack of optical zoom can be very limiting.

Ummm I often get this result with point & shoot cameras under fluorescent lighting.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

The iHaters are probably going to throw a tantrum and swear that this woman was paid by Apple to hype the iPhone's photo-taking ability.

How do you know she wasn't? Apple has a sneaky way of doing that.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bstring View Post

What she is saying is the old adage, 'the best camera is the one you have with you'. The iPhone is an excellent choice, but this was not a discussion of which phone offers the best camera. It was about photography in general. The quality improvements in the last two years are allowing people who otherwise would never own a camera to finally capture reasonable images. If Apple wants to claim a product endorsement, that's ok, but I believe she was crediting a class of devices.

No she wasn't. She was very specifically crediting one specific phone. And you're missing the point. She wasn't making the case that it's the best camera in its class of product. She was saying for what it is, she's impressed with it enough to recommend that people use it.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

And here I was thinking that having Annie Liebovitz come out and say this was finally going to get the camera-philes to shut up but you seem to be just using it as an excuse to push the same old tired agenda.

You are basically taking her statement and supposing through your own interpretation that she was in fact saying the exact opposite to what she meant to say.

The iPhone camera is not just a camera for people who "never owned a camera before" it's better by a substantial amount than the majority of point and shoots. In other words, as long as you aren't a camera snob or the photographic equivalent of an audiophile, it's actually one of the best cameras you could buy.

I love my iPhone 4S camera and loved the iPhone 4 camera before that. It is likely the best of the smartphone cameras. But, when compared against point-and-shoot, it is the video mode and smarts that would make it preferable for many, but it is not just photography snobs who may prefer a camera with an optical zoom. Of hand, there is no way you can compare any smartphone with an SLR. So, please don't take this the wrong way, the iPhone is no where close to being one of the best cameras you can buy. And it can never be given its form factor.
post #27 of 34
You gotta love some of the delusional interpretations that some people come up with.

When somebody mentions iPhone specifically, that really means mobile phones in general and every crappy ass phone with a piece of shit camera on it.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

That's not a bug, it's a smart feature. Anyone with any sensitivity to image creation generally will only use a flash as a last resort. Natural light and a steady hand are two components most lacking in run of the mill photos. Those two key factors would serve as excellent foundation stones as one works to become a good photographer.

If it results in more indoor pictures that are blurry, it's not a smart feature. Also, if the flash came on when there's more ambient light, it would create some decent fill but not the harsh "deer in headlights" look that comes from a flash in darkness.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

How do you know she wasn't? Apple has a sneaky way of doing that.

Really? Do you have some examples to share because I can't think of any.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

The iHaters are probably going to throw a tantrum and swear that this woman was paid by Apple to hype the iPhone's photo-taking ability.

I doubt very much she was paid. However, her assistants iPhone did contain Steve Jobs' phone number, so perhaps she is not entirely unbiased.

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/an...ticle-1.344284

As for those who think the cameras in the iPhones are the best you can get in a smartphone, you are deluded. Some of the other phone manufacturers also have divisions which make cameras, like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Samsung, and put quite decent cameras in their phones. Samsung even made one with an optical zoom. Panasonic have put their 'Lumix' moniker on the 101P which has a 13.2 MP sensor with a mobile version of their Venus image processing engine. And it's waterproof! Anyone who thinks the iPhone has a better camera than that phone is dreaming or drinking the usual brand of refreshment

Do people really think Liebovitz is recommending the iPhone because she has personally tested a whole range of smartphone cameras and has picked the iPhone because it is the best? No chance. She is recommending what she has first hand experience with and which she knows is simple enough to use for the sort of people who ask her the question.

If someone on here were to ask for my recommendation for a phone with a decent camera, I would recommend what I have personal experience of which is the one in my Samsung. The camera is every bit as good as the one in the iP4 and the camera app is a lot better. It gives you manual exposure control, you can force the flash on for fill and you can manually select the white balance.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

I love my iPhone 4S camera and loved the iPhone 4 camera before that. It is likely the best of the smartphone cameras. But, when compared against point-and-shoot, it is the video mode and smarts that would make it preferable for many, but it is not just photography snobs who may prefer a camera with an optical zoom. Of hand, there is no way you can compare any smartphone with an SLR. So, please don't take this the wrong way, the iPhone is no where close to being one of the best cameras you can buy. And it can never be given its form factor.

That's easy, one just labels an SLR a "snob" camera and that removes it from contention from the hyperbolic statement that the iPhone is the best camera ever, other than the snob cameras, that is.

HOWEVER, in the context of this article, getting somewhat back on track, Liebovitz clearly said "snapshot camera", and I think in that context, meaning point and shoot style camera. She also gave it props in terms of being able to show photos, take notes, etc. And I agree with all that.
post #32 of 34
Am sure the lens is actually made made Sony.


But with Apple not also selling cameras they do not have to artificially limit software.
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splif View Post

Ummm I often get this result with point & shoot cameras under fluorescent lighting.

I hadn't seen anything nearly that severe. I grabbed a Canon PowerShot and reshot the situation as similarly as I reasonably can get, all settings on automatic:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/34962649@N00/6353109461/
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post

Well, since an optical zoom is impossible in a thin phone, I think you'll have to forgive Apple.

Why do you say impossible? I've been using Sony T series cameras for years, they have optical zoom. And they are a similar thickness to the iPhone. It really is a matter of what features and compromises a company (i.e. Apple) makes when designing and releasing their device...
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No, Steve, I think its more like we both have a rich neighbor named Xerox, and you broke in to steal the TV set, and you found out I'd been there first...
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