Having a Rethink

I’ve never been an advocate of using a smartphone instead of a dedicated camera for my photo needs, but maybe – maybe – it is time for a rethink.

The reason for this is that at long last I have a smartphone – a Pixel 7 – that has a truly capable camera. I replaced my old Samsung Galaxy A50 because it was getting creaky and there were excellent deals available on a premium camera smartphone I normally wouldn’t have considered.

The above pic was taken with the Pixel 7, no flash in quite low light. I have to admit that such a photo could not be taken by my normal camera without a flash. The Pixel has computational photography capability that allows me to photograph Mr. Oates without getting that “deer in the headlights” look a flash would obtain.

The feature that does this is called “Night Sight.” It takes several simultaneous exposures, stores them and then stitches them together seamlessly.

The Pixel 7 camera also has image stabilization, good autofocus, wide angle and decent digital zoom – things that I never had in my previous Samsung smartphone cameras.

Here’s another example – no flash, discreet, did not disturb his rest.

Another factor in my rethink is that I recently learned a game-changing technique for using a smartphone as a camera. Instead of struggling to hold a thin slippery soapbar vertically while trying to stab a little white circle on the screen, you can hold the phone horizontally, curling your fingers around it like a real camera. Then you press the volume control as a shutter release. Presto! – a stable platform for a change.

Now, my actual cameras still have advantages over the Pixel 7. The petite Lumix ZS-50 can go out to 30X telephoto with an actual optical zoom, and it has a viewfinder for use in bright sunlight. My Nikon DSLR has multiple lenses, a much bigger sensor, and a satisfying look and feel. I have decades of experience with SLR photography as well.

Up until now, I did not think it was worth it to invest time into learning more about smartphone photography. And I am not ready to pack away my digital photo equipment the way I did with my film stuff 20 years ago. However..hmmmm.

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