Originally Posted by sflocal
That's true. However, when most news is online and pictures are usually no more than 800x600, and printed magazines are slowly going out of style and read on tablets, SLR quality is not a necessity methink. It's sad.
I could make the opposite case. Now that most newspapers are online and the majority of photos are printed in color, you need higher quality than the age when photos were printed on cheap newsprint with low resolution screen printing.
But this isn't just about the technical quality of photographs. The best photo-journalism combines visual "facts" with art. It's not just about capturing the moment. Why don't they just fire all the reporters as well and rely upon Twitter and Facebook postings to gather the news?
The other problem with using an iPhone is that the photos can be too easily manipulated without any record of the original image, since the iPhone is not a file-based device. With a pro or semi-pro DSLR, you always have the original raw file (if proper procedures are followed). When you manipulate the photo in Photoshop or other such apps, the original raw file is untouched, the adjustments are all in a "sidecar" file.
While I understand that printed newspapers are largely dying and that the main source of income for these newspapers, classified advertising, is long gone and that there's also a tremendous reduction in display advertising as marketing dollars have moved to the web, when they take steps like this, they're simply signing a suicide pact. I expect my newspaper to at least have the pretense of being professional. It's one thing to give iPhones to reporters to catch things that happen when photographers aren't around or simply to record a record of their reporting and investigations, but it's quite another to fire all pro photographers. Do they really think that any of the reporters are ever going to again capture a photo that can win a Pulitzer Prize?
I love my iPhone and the best camera to have is the one that you carry with you, but when I want to accomplish something serious, I drag out my Nikon and big, heavy lenses. It's a pain, but it's the best way to achieve anything resembling quality. Giving journalists iPhones to take photos is the equivalent of giving photographers "Brownie" cameras in the 1950s-60s. No one did that. Pro journalists originally used either large format cameras like the Graflex Speed Graphic or medium format cameras like the Rolleiflex until Leica and Nikon rangefinders came along, with the Nikon beginning in 1948. Nikon lenses were used on a Leica body by photo journalist David Duncan, who was covering the Korean War. When the prints were sent to New York publishers, they wondered why this guy was using an 8x10 camera in a war zone - that's how good they looked. After that, many photo journalists switched to 35mm, especially after the Nikon F SLR was released in 1959 and Canon after that. Even the paparazzi still use DSLRs and they don't give a damn about quality - they're just trying to catch (famous) people at their worst.