Apple iPhone 5s camera shines for National Geographic photographer

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Longtime National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson left his DSLR behind on a hiking trip through Scotland in favor of an iPhone 5s, and concluded that Apple's latest flagship handset includes "a very capable camera."

Photos shot by Jim Richardson with the iPhone 5s
Photos shot for National Geographic by Jim Richardson with the iPhone 5s | Source: National Geographic


Richardson took more than 4,000 photos with an iPhone 5s during his trip through Scotland's highlands and islands and showcased some of the images on National Geographic's Proof photography blog. The account was discovered and shared on Twitter by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who termed it "iPhoneography."

Richardson says that while he initially struggled to make the most of the iPhone's 8-megapixel shooter, he has become more comfortable working with the phone and identifying the types of shots the device is best at capturing.

"Cameras all have personalities. Or perhaps they have visual signatures. To some extent they always lead us around by the nose. Little by little we come around to taking the pictures the camera can do well," he wrote.

"What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn?t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good."

Richardson called the iPhone 5s's color and exposure "amazingly good" and said the HDR exposure feature did "a stunningly good job," while singling out iOS 7's new square photo ability as a time-saver when shooting for Instagram.

The photographer saved his most effusive praise for iOS's ability to quickly capture panoramic images ??Richardson wrote that the feature is "nothing short of amazing ? seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating."

Richardson's work has been connected with Cupertino before ??he can currently be seen discussing Aperture's geo-tagging functionality in an episode of Apple's "Aperture in action" video series.

This is not the first time the iPhone 5s camera, with its new f/2.2 aperture and larger image sensor, has received praise from photography professionals. Burberry used the device to shoot its London Fashion Week spring/summer 2014 show in September. Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer for the British fashion house, praised the iPhone 5s after the show, telling Pocket Lint that the handset's ability and quality as a camera was "remarkable."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    Just one of the reasons I couldn't wait to get my 5s. Thanks for another great iPhone Apple!
  • Reply 2 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    I really don't like the square format, it's just me probably, but I don't. Other than that, beautiful pictures for sure ... and yes, it is one hell of a wee camera.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    But but the iPhone only has 8mp camera! /s
  • Reply 4 of 56

    I have put off getting a DSLR for years. And this article may just have sealed it. 

     

    One I didn't think I would carry it on hikes, traveling, etc. And two, I didn't want to have to learn a clunky interface.

     

    I'm quite happy with my 4s (soon upgrading to 5s) and I'm happy with the photo quality.

     

    I take a lot of shots (keep the few good ones) and I try to only take outdoor shots as opposed to indoor shots.

     

    I always take landscape b/c they look so much better on AppleTV. Portrait leaves black bars on either side of the photo.

     

    AppleTV is pretty much the only place we view our photos anymore.

     

    ATV is worth the price of admission just for the photo streaming! I strongly recommend getting ATV for this reason. :)

  • Reply 5 of 56
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    Let's not forget Kevin Russ. He's been doing some amazing things with nothing more than an iPhone and a few apps.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    I really don't like the square format, it's just me probably, but I don't. Other than that, beautiful pictures for sure ... and yes, it is one hell of a wee camera.

     

    I like both. A long time ago I bought my first "professional" camera, a Hasselblad 500CM with an 80mm 2.8 lens. The negatives were 6cmx6cm. I remember Hasselblad literature back then describing how to compose pictures using a square format.

  • Reply 7 of 56
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    quadra 610 wrote: »
    Let's not forget Kevin Russ. He's been doing some amazing things with nothing more than an iPhone and a few apps.

    Do you have link to his iPhone photos? I know his works but am not sure which ones are shot by iPhone.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    I really don't like the square format, it's just me probably, but I don't. Other than that, beautiful pictures for sure ... and yes, it is one hell of a wee camera.

     

    Likely because you don't use Instagram.  If you used Instagram previously, you would either have to capture a square pic through the App itself, or take a normal picture and crop it to square in Instagram- hoping you don't cut out certain elements.  The square picture option is very useful if you use that app- which is the app for the 15-25 crowd.  (Once the parents got on Facebook- the kids got off) :)

  • Reply 9 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    I like both. A long time ago I bought my first "professional" camera, a Hasselblad 500CM with an 80mm 2.8 lens. The negatives were 6cmx6cm. I remember Hasselblad literature back then describing how to compose pictures using a square format.

    I could be wrong, correct me if I am, but on square setting in the iPhone, the software isn't adding image data to make square rather internally cropping, isn't it? If so, I'd rather retain the full image data. and crop later. If I am wrong, I see I could crop the square to create 2 x 3 or 3 x 4 etc. which you could do with your Hasselblad, but I am dubious this is the case.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,251member
    andysol wrote: »
    Likely because you don't use Instagram.  If you used Instagram previously, you would either have to capture a square pic through the App itself, or take a normal picture and crop it to square in Instagram- hoping you don't cut out certain elements.  The square picture option is very useful if you use that app- which is the app for the 15-25 crowd.  (Once the parents got on Facebook- the kids got off) :)

    Yep, see my comment to Eric. If the pictures are pre cropped I'd rather make that decision later Instagram or not. Especially if I trekked all over the highlands. Which I have done many times I should add :)

    To me, it's like folks taking black and white. Why, when you can have both color and black and white if you shoot color? These days you can have so many black and white variations too with digital filters. Why ever limit data capture. With a DSLR I shoot auto bracketed RAW always.
  • Reply 11 of 56
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post





    Do you have link to his iPhone photos? I know his works but am not sure which ones are shot by iPhone.

     

    National Geographic did a similar link up with Nokia on the Lumia 1020, they have a dedicated area on their site with some pictures showing what can be done with 'just a phone'.

     

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/nokia/

  • Reply 12 of 56
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,247member
    The main reason I bought the 5s is for the new camera. So far, I've been extremely happy with the results of my photos. As much as I like the new camera, there is no way it can replace the quality of a DSLR. I shoot exclusively in RAW format. I also bracket photos for HDR photography. You can't do that with an iPhone or any cell phone camera. I'm also shooting a lot of wildlife so I need a camera with a good zoom lens. My iPhone 5s has been my go to camera for panorama shots though. I've tested a lot of different phones and the iPhone hands down is the best in this department. 
  • Reply 13 of 56
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    As much as I love my new iPhone 5s and camera it still lacks in long distance shooting compared to others. I was at a baseball game and my friend's Samsung camera took pictures with more detailed objects than my new 5s i.e. faces. I was extremely disappointed to say the least that I could not show him how much better my camera was.
    However as far as indoor shots and at those a reasonable distance I am very pleased.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    The deficiency the iPhone camera has in the lens & sensor size, are quickly made up with its processing power. DSLR's have a few automatic features which allow amateur photographers to look like pro's when they shoot ... However, results are a different story. DSLR's best capabilities are achieved only when the photographer knows how to take over. This is exactly what distinguishes an iPhone 5/5c/5s from DSLR's.

    An iPhone is a computer, DSLR's are not. Unless you know how to operate an DSLR (most people that own them don't), many of your photos are likely to be inferior to the iPhone 5/5c/5s.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    boltsfan17 wrote: »
    The main reason I bought the 5s is for the new camera. So far, I've been extremely happy with the results of my photos. As much as I like the new camera, there is no way it can replace the quality of a DSLR. I shoot exclusively in RAW format. I also bracket photos for HDR photography. You can't do that with an iPhone or any cell phone camera. I'm also shooting a lot of wildlife so I need a camera with a good zoom lens. My iPhone 5s has been my go to camera for panorama shots though. I've tested a lot of different phones and the iPhone hands down is the best in this department. 

    Where did you get that misconception? I believe there's some 20+ camera apps on the App store to do just that ^^^^, and (OMG!) Android has a nice one with Camera+ for those "other people".

    BTW: if I recall, Engadget (OMG not another pariah!?) among other reviews lauded the 5s camera to be better than the highly acclaimed Nokia 1020... you know, that device with the iPhone Killer 41 megapixel camera? Once again proof that it's not the megapixel count that matters at all; it's the sensor and the lens... and of course, who's behind the shutter release.*

    * It's been said (hersay) that monkeys and cats have a pretty good knack and eye towards taking good pictures when they're not the subject matter.

    700
  • Reply 16 of 56

    You cannot achieve a true HDR photo without shooting 2 or more photos at different exposures.  The iPhone does not do this.  The 20+ apps use artificial/simulated HDR with a phony contrast range.

  • Reply 17 of 56
    nairbnairb Posts: 253member

    As an avid android fan, the one thing apple has had that other phones do not is a great camera. The HTC and top line Samsung have good cameras with so fun features that apple do not have, and varying strenthts, when it comes to overal photo quality Apple wins out. The iPhone 4, 4s, 5 all out performed the samsumg or htc phone that was released 6 months later IMO

     

    Have not had a chance to play with the 5S or 5C

  • Reply 18 of 56
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member
    You cannot achieve a true HDR photo without shooting 2 or more photos at different exposures.  The iPhone does not do this.  The 20+ apps use artificial/simulated HDR with a phony contrast range.

    No - that is incorrect. The iPhone combines three separate exposures to construct the HDR image.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post





    No - that is incorrect. The iPhone combines three separate exposures to construct the HDR image.

    Yes ... you're probably right.  I have no control over those images though.  I need those separate images to layer as I see fit, NOT IOS.

     

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Reply 20 of 56
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,328member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Donnyishere View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post





    No - that is incorrect. The iPhone combines three separate exposures to construct the HDR image.

    Yes ... you're probably right.  I have no control over those images though.  I need those separate images to layer as I see fit, NOT IOS.

     

    Thanks for the correction.


     

    It's true that you don't have access to the individual images, or to the intermediate 32-bit image but, automated or not, it's still HDR, and the result is likely to be better than most users could achieve by manual manipulation of the compression algorithms.

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