Notes On The Current State Of Smartphone Photography

Posted by David Ozanich — 24 Mar 2011


Firing a shot across the bow of traditional photography, the New York Times Technology section is considering which gadgets you should be tossing in the Goodwill bin. Among their suggestions is the point-and-shoot camera:

POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA Lose it. Yes, a dedicated camera will probably take a better picture than the small lens and image sensor of a smartphone, but it will not be that much better. And a point-and-shoot has limitations of its own. It is hard to share photos until you have transferred them to your computer, and there are no apps for cameras, as there are for smartphones, that allow you to quickly apply cool filters and treatments to the shots you took. Perhaps most important, a camera may or may not be close by when a photo-worthy moment arises, but it's very likely that your phone will.

Whether or not you actually decide to toss your P&S camera, the vanguard of photography is definitely happening on smartphones. Conveniently, The Awl put together a list just yesterday of "Four Mobile Photo Apps That Are Actually, Like, Useful":

Hipstamatic is the #3 paid app right now. Hipstamatic also "processes" your digital pictures to make them look old-timey film-ey. So this is a look that won't be going away anytime soon. But sometimes you need to do things to pictures that are actually useful. For instance, maybe you want to just crop an edge out of a photo; maybe you have a great photo but the focus is slightly off and you want to cheat it a little by sharpening. Or say you're on top of a mountain and you want to shoot 360. Your Instamatic won't help you then!

And since they are fine and generous citizens of the internet at The Awl, they are also alerting us to the new social photography sharing iPhone app "Color" which lets anyone near you see what you're taking pictures of:

One thing that seems unexplored: is this the end of copyright? Here's what Color says about using the app: "I can see photos and videos being taken by all people using Color on their smartphone nearby me. The photos and videos I see here will be mine to keep." So it's an app that gives away your personal photos to everyone who happens to be within a hundred yards.

Read more about Color here. See and hear more about it below:

Color Demo from Color Labs, Inc. on Vimeo.

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