Smartphones on ice: Phones and photojournalism

Smartphone or Digital SLR?

The debate between device and professional camera has been going on for a while.  Last Friday, while on a shoot about a local school that took international students ice fishing, I set down my large, bulky Canon 5d MK3 and powered up my iPhone.

I’ve always been a strong proponent of using a smart phone for mobile journalism, but I’ve also always defended the use of DSLRs and the photographers who use them’s inherent value. But on Friday I made a clear decision of what I want for the future of my cameras. I want them to be the size of smartphone.

In the 1920s the first Leica cameras went into production. They were designed to be small and easy to travel with, mostly for landscape photography and used 35 mm cinema film.

They were an instant hit.

Because of their speed and convenience, photographers could find solace from obtrusion, and modern day photojournalism was born.

With the smartphone there isn’t much difference. Although the photographic quality made from the glass of a Leica’s lens may not be there yet, I have no doubt that with time it will be.

As a photographer there is nothing better than reaching into my pocket, rather than a 15 lb bag, and pulling out a device intellectually designed for simplicity.

It’s light, unobtrusive, and completely silent – perfectly designed for my photojournalistic needs. But the most important advantage of all, it puts my focus on capturing an interesting composition, the quality of light and the beauty of a moment.



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