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Photography and Video for London and the South East

The iPhone 5 – New is not always better

What have they done?

The good news is that the iPhone 5 is a fantastic smartphone, but for the first time with a new iPhone, I’m underwhelmed by the changes.

Remember when Steve Jobs said the iPhone 4 was ‘like a Leica’? Well, the iPhone 5 is ‘like a Panasonic’. The lovely feel of glass and metal has been replaced by less substantial feel of alloy.

More importantly, I think the ergonomics have changed for the worse. The real beauty of Apple products isn’t just how good they look, but how they work. There are some small issues that make a big difference to me, and they make the new phone a little bit harder to use:

  • The phone is longer and it’s a little awkward to hold and use with one hand;
  • The new earphones scrape a bit on the way in – and feel too loose for me – so I use them less;
  • The headphone socket is now on the base, it was better on the top.

iPhone Photography

It’s great to have a decent camera in your pocket all of the time – there are even reports of photographers using the iPhone as a ‘serious’ camera. I don’t tend to use the iPhone much for photography – mainly for shots of the kids when we’re out and about. It’s a bit slow for these kinds of photos, but proves to be a handy visual notebook.

How good is the iPhone as a Camera?

The Good
It’s a beautiful, frosty morning in Surrey – a good day for a walk around the studio grounds and see what the iPhone is like as a camera. When I started my walk, the sun was scarcely visible through the mist – I love taking photos in fog and rain, and I suspect the low contrast conditions also suits the iPhone’s sensor.

First off, the quality of the photos is very good. The focal length of the lens feels like a 35mm – which is the perfect choice for general photography – all in all, it’s a very competent device for taking pictures.

I prefer to use a viewfinder, but the nice big iPhone screen is easy to for composition, and there’s no denying that it’s great to see a ‘live view’ image. It’s also fun to work with a point and shoot camera. Changing the ‘focus’ box seems to be the way to tweak the exposure.

The Bad
Issues relating to ergonomics mean the iPhone does’t stand much chance of replacing any of my cameras. It’s a bit fiddly and it’s a bit slow.

Walking around with a touch-screen device in your hands (there’s no strap of course) leads to all kinds of problems: Accidental photos, switching to video mode, closing the app all together. I wanted the camera to be ready, so I left it in the photo app – seems like an hour of this drains 50% of the battery.

It doesn’t work with gloves. I was chilly.

The Photos
All of these photos were shot with the iPhone 5 with the native camera app, they are straight out of the camera, no tweaking – I just shrunk the file size a little for the blog.

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Out and about Studio7c.co.uk

Studio7c is based in a beautiful area and I’m lucky to work here…

With the right handling, the iPhone 5 produces very nice photos … but given the choice, I’d rather use a proper camera.

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