Over the past two or three weeks, I’ve been thinking about smartphone cameras, as my two-year term on my current cellphone will be expiring soon. The more that I started exploring smartphones online, the more those pervasive machine learning algorithms took hold and started bombarding me with smartphone-related advertisements. The one that got my attention was the new flagship smartphone from Huawei which has a camera that has four lenses, the most notable one of which is a 40-megapixel--you read that correctly--a forty megapixel sensor with an f/1.6 aperture and 26mm focal length. DxOMARK rates it as the best camera it's ever tested by far. A recent Fstoppers article even highlighted this phone being used to take shots of the Milky Way and passing meteors! On top of that, DxOMARK rated the phone as having the best video capabilities it’s ever tested, as well.
Interestingly enough, a few days later, I stumbled across an article about the advances in smartphone cameras and that Olloclips, a well-known manufacturer of attachable lenses and accessories for smartphones, has received the endorsement of the highly regarded adventure photographer, Chris Burkard. After getting over my initial surprise at reading this, this actually started making sense to me. After all, it stands to reason that with all the big name camera manufacturers each having a posse of professional photographers using and endorsing their products, we’d eventually see big name shooters start using advanced smartphones and related gear.
After reading these articles, I started wondering how long it would be until such smartphone technology began to permeate our work as pro shooters. Personally, I recently started to use my smartphone camera during scouting visits/walk-throughs with my architecture and designer clients. Snapping these photos allowed me to vividly remember the elements/features they identified in our discussion. It also gave me a chance to explore “first intuition” camera angles that came to me in that moment. As a matter of fact, at my last shoot, my client actually asked me to send her my smartphone shots so that she could review them and give me her thoughts on which shots she’d be most interested in having me pursue on the actual photoshoot date. This was the first time that I’d used my smartphone pics in this way and it ended up working beautifully, in this particular instance.
I've also been told by friends who do lots of videography that, with the rapid advancements in smartphone video capabilities, we're almost at the point where a videographer could use their smartphone with a Rhino Slider and make videos that would require thousands of dollars of equipment to produce, only a couple of years ago! In fact, I'd bet that there are lots of videographers out there right now either experimenting with using their smartphones for real estate videos or actually using one for paying clients.
So, what do you think? Do you use your smartphone in any way at an actual shoot? Would you be open to it regarding video? What do you see as any potential risks? If you're dead-set against it right now, what features/capabilities would you have to see to consider a smartphone in your work?