I have been fooling with Instagram for a while, but it's only for the last few days that I uncovered the true potential of mobile photography due to a specific app. You will not believe what camera I have my eyes on now!
I always knew for a fact that the point and shoot market was being eaten up by the cellphone market, but I really didn't see why though. I mean what beats having a shutter release and a couple of dials? Due to Gurbz's comment on using Snapseed, I decided to try it out, but I always viewed it as a toy program comparable to Instagram: Fun filters and nothing else. Boy was I wrong. This is some serious photographic tool that I can't believe is that good. I believed it was a sort of hastily done program designed to take some part of the Instagram share. I would have never imagined it had Nik software's algorithms in it.
Here's video of me editing with it:
I played around with the software and I perceived the beauty of mobile photography: removing steps between taking the picture and outputing it. Say I am out with my Nex7, I take a picture. It looks good on the screen but in order to do anything serious with it you need to be on your computer, transfer your pictures, edit them, save them and then share them. With mobile photography it's all in one portable package. Shoot, edit, upload, right there one one device. You can even blog from it, completely removing the middle man that is the computer.
I was thinking of ways to do this with my Ricoh GRD IV. I need to have an sd card reader, a USB OTG cable, put it on my phone, dump the images then edit them and share them. It's a very cool setup, but I believe it breaks the zen like simplicity of Mobile photography. I thought android in back of cameras was stupid, now with Snapseed I am starting to see the Samsung Galaxy camera as REALY sexy. It's not for partay shots anymore you can do some serious stuff with mobiles now.
The Galaxy Camera, and all devices like it to follow have some serious ramifications for photojournalism. Again, mobile photography and these sort of hybrid devices remove steps from the act of taking a picture to publishing it. Imagine photojournalists on the frontline, just focusing on shooting pictures, and his or her editor is seeing the files one by one as fast as the mobile connection allows. Is this not impressive?
The real drawback I see for mobile photography is twofold: Image quality, user experience and software limitations. Devices like the Galaxy camera will take care of the image quality aspect. Business is driven by demand, as the manufacturers see what the market demands, and what the competition has already done, there will be better and better hybrids on the market. The second issue with mobile photography is the user experience. First thing that is missing from most phones is a dedicated shutter release button. The Galaxy camera has that but not much else, everything is screen driven. I find taking pictures on a phone an awkward experience, they way that you have to hold the phone and all.
The last problem I see with mobile photography is the purposeful software limitations in them. Most photography apps will never let you open a full rez image file to edit, they will always ask you to downsample it first.
This is bogus because my phone outspects the computer I used to have and edit from. 1Ghz was the holy grail and 2gb of ram was luxury back then, yet I used to edit stuff with no issues. I think it's time for the limits to be removed, smartphones are powerful computers, there is no need to limit them with light software. I use to run Photoshop on 600Mghz and 512 mb ram….now there is quad core phones and all. Even if you have to downsample the image to edit on the phone, it remains that it's big enough for screen and even sometimes publication.
These are the real issues of mobile photography, but I believe that the pros outweight the cons. Having the full photographic workflow at your fingertips is so strong that many abandon everything for their mobile. My experience with Snapseed has made me dream and seriously consider the Galaxy Camera….more in another post.