Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Changing Relationship With Photography

I imagine that like many people, my relationship with photography has changed over the years. In my current life, I do like to capture many aspects of my life with pictures. But my approach to photography has changed over the years.

I was not always a big-time photographer. While I certainly have plenty of pictures of my children as well as major events in my life, I did very little to capture much more beyond that in my earlier adulthood.

That all changed with the advent of digital photography. Even with the early digital cameras that took pictures that were (compared to today) of poorer quality and had extremely limited memory (so you could not store many pictures on the camera), I took to electronic photos. No doubt the convenience and instant gratification of seeing the results right away and no longer having to send film for developing played a huge role.

Despite my proclivity for digital photography, I have never invested in any high-end cameras. I have definitely preferred the convenience of point-and-shoot cameras that were quick to turn on, easy to take pictures, and simple to transfer them to a computer.

Along the way I also for the most part stopped printing pictures. While I do occasionally have a reason to print a photo, for the most part I view my pictures on my computer or mobile devices.

In 2014 I made the plunge into a somewhat higher-end camera, a Sony Alpha 6000. These “mirrorless” cameras supposedly approach digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras in quality, with a more compact size (though not able to fit in a pocket). This particular camera also gave me, for the first time ever, a changeable (zoom) lens. It is definitely a nice camera and takes great pictures, especially when a zoom lens is preferable or lighting conditions are suboptimal.

About the same time, however, I had upgraded my smartphone to an iPhone 6. The newer cameras on these modern smartphones also take excellent pictures, especially in decent light and when not requiring any sort of zoom. Of course a major convenience is that they can be carried in a pocket (and also serve as phone, Internet access device, music player, and more). Another critical benefit of smartphone cameras is the convenience of posting photos on Facebook, which is something I do frequently. I can also carry it when I go running if there is a need for having a camera.

I now take the overwhelming majority of my pictures with my smartphone. The quality of most of them is exemplary, and when married with the convenience of being part of a device that easily fits in my pocket, my Sony camera is reserved mostly for special occasions. Those occasions are still important, so I will likely never part with a camera better than that on my smartphone, although who knows what technology for the latter may develop in the future to change even that.


  1. The phone may suit your needs perfectly, and be just what you want. I am not sure if you are suggesting cameras are becoming obsolete. I know that the sensor in your Sony is near 35mm quality, while it is software doing the magic in the phone. The optics of an interchangeable lens from prime to zoom can not be touched by the iPhone etc. Phones are everywhere, but if quality, depth of frame, focused view, and distance are concerns the camera will win every time. 99% of pictures taken can be done on a phone, but there is still a very good reason to learn to use your camera's iso, aperture, and white balance correctly. There are also filters from polaroid, to other UV spectrum.


    1. What you are saying is exactly what I am saying. Cameras are still very useful, in certain situations, but my iPhone is adequate 95+% of the time.