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The Best Camera is the One That You Have with You

by Sophia Carey 7 months ago in film · updated 3 months ago
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Is the iPhone the best everyday camera?

iPhone Photograph

Expensive equipment, and the seeming "need" for it, is something that is rife throughout the photography community. We don't tend to award the artistic merit of a painting based on the price of the materials used but, in photography, we often believe that we must have the most expensive equipment in order to create worthy artwork.

Canon EOS 500 Photograph

I'm also guilty of buying and using cameras with a big price tag, because some part of me feels as though my work will improve with a "better" camera. There's some truth in this, of course, when it comes to technical aspects of a photograph and how equipment can make a photographer's job easier, but the fundamentals that make up a good photo can be achieved regardless of the camera: composition, colour, lighting.

To put this to the test, I took to the streets of Brighton with two cameras: a £10 35mm film camera that was built in the 90s (Canon EOS 500), and my iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Photograph

Too often, I lug around too much weight in cameras, to the point that my body suffers because of it. Digital cameras and medium format film cameras, both costing thousands and both weighing kilograms, can often be found in my camera bag, but the reality of it is that I shouldn't feel obliged to take all of this equipment on every shoot, especially for everyday shooting. There's nothing wrong with the camera in your phone (in fact, they're particularly advanced) or a £10 film camera that has almost no weight to it but can still capture an atmosphere and a mood as well as your £2000 mirrorless camera.

Canon EOS 500 Photograph

There's a time and place for larger negatives, for bigger sensors, and for tact sharp low-light performance, but I'm coming to realise that that time and place is more seldom than I first thought.

So what are the advantages of using your iPhone, or a cheap SLR or point and shoot, as your everyday camera?

Asides from the weight difference and ease of not carrying around heavy equipment, reducing the equipment that you're shooting on can be a great way of practising being in the moment.

I mostly use my phone for everyday photography becuase of two reasons: the speed in which I can capture an image and the ease of taking out my phone (usually from my pocket, given the handy size) rather than struggling to pull out my Mamiya RZ67.

iPhone 12 Photograph

Photography is the art of capturing a moment but, ironically, we often miss out on the moments we want to capture because we're too busy adjusting settings or thinking about how to best capture it. Moreso, we actually miss out on experiencing the moment because of the time that capturing it can take up. Reverting to using your phone, a modern-day point and shoot, or film point and shoot, can take away the pressure of getting the technicalities right and allow you more time to actually experience a moment. This concept links quite nicely with the idea of minimalism, as I previously discussed on Vocal.

iPhone 12 Photograph

I won't be getting rid of my mirrorless cameras or my beloved Mamiyas because there's a time and place for those cameras, especially as I work as a professional photographer, but I understand the value of utilising the camera in your pocket. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you.

Canon EOS 500 Photograph

What's your favourite everyday camera? Do you love taking candid shots on your phone, or maybe you have a favourite SLR that's been handed down through the generations? Or maybe you'd rather have your DSLR and 24-100mm lens with you everywhere you go. Whichever camera it is you're using, I hope that we can start to see past the gear and look to the greatness of ourselves as photographers. Only we can see the world the way that we capture it, and that's truly the beauty of photography.


About the author

Sophia Carey

Photographer and designer from London, living in Manchester.

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