Career photographers in DSLR-phone cam dilemma

Smartphone cameras with refocussing capability narrow the gap

Are the City’s career photographers in a serious device dilemma? Beckoned by smartphone cameras with cutting edge DSLR-type features, the shutterbugs are surely on the edge. But will the emergence of phone cameras that now lets you change even the depth of field be the clincher?

No, the gimmicky, market-driven megapixels games will not be the decider. The 41MP cameras are not going to make photographers give up their Canon 1Ds and Nikon 5Ds. But smarter App-based instant editing, the smartphone’s ability to auto save every picture to the limitless cloud, and the fast evolving sensors could seriously dent the DSLR’s appeal.

Light-field technology
Incorporation of the light-field technology had equipped smartphone cameras with refocussing capability. Taiwanese phone-maker HTC had introduced it in its flagship M8. But Chinese manufacturer, Huawei chose to hyperboost this feature in its Honor 6 Plus.
So, how does it work in Honor 6 Plus, fitted with two 8MP rear cameras? Once a picture is clicked, the aperture could be opened up to as wide as f/0.95. This means, the depth of field (bokah) goes manifold, bringing the person / object of your choice in sharp focus and blurring the rest. The aperture could be manually controlled using the depth of field slider in the phone’s camera app. 

Freelance photographer Nishanth Ratnakar had been quick to latch on to the phone camera’s ease of use to take candid shots.

“I dislike carrying big DSLRs and accessories. It is like carrying another human being. I now do a lot of projects with smartphone cameras. It has helped me in self-publishing. Instagram is the new gallery open to the world,” explained Ratnakar.

Rapid evolution
Rapid improvements in optical quality and better sensors, Ratnakar noted, could one day put phone cameras in the realm of commercial photography. “There are apps now to even fire off camera studio lights! It can only get better.”

But not everyone is impressed by these techno strides. For fashion, advertising and celebrity photographer, Mahendra Simmha, the DSLR with its ‘endless possibilities’ will firmly remain the right tool for creative projects. “Any photographer worth his salt will know the limitations of the apps. They cannot recreate a picture, unlike a DSLR.
Smartphone camera will always be only a functional tool,” he reasoned.

To create a picture, a serious photographer would still go with the best equipment available, use the best flashes compatible with a good DSLR. “It is about expressing yourself. Compare two pictures taken with a DSLR and a camera phone. The two will never match.”
 

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