Having recently written a piece in which I explained how my iPhone 14 Pro replaced my professional camera in some cases, I was wondering, in what ways is my phone actually, technically better than my DSLR? It turns out there are a bunch of features that I wish cameras had.
Having spent a lot of time taking pictures with my phone, I saw myself ditching taking my camera altogether for casual photography. This is exactly what I did, and I am happier than ever. I take more pictures than ever, and I have more fun doing it too. There are a lot of reasons why I do this, if you are interested in the full breakdown, read the article associated with it. It mostly comes down to hardware, however, there are software features that I only wish large cameras had. It would make photography so much more enjoyable and better.
I hate to admit it, but I absolutely love the Apple ecosystem. The connectivity between all the devices is second to none. The fact that I can use AirDrop to send a ton of images from one device to another is perhaps one of my favorite features. It is also quite funny that it takes more time to do it over the lightning cable. If I want to quickly edit a shot I took on my phone and I happen to be at my laptop, I just AirDrop the picture, and it is ready to go. This also works when sharing on the spot.
Let me tell you, there were so many times when I was asked to share the picture I just took at an event. Since per event, there can easily be at least 100 people who need such a service, it is easy to lose track. However, how much easier would it be if it was possible to share images straight from the camera to people’s phones? Implementing a feature similar to AirDrop would be a game-changer for millions of photographers worldwide.
While the hardware in iPhones has remained largely unchanged, the software developed greatly. I mean, there is only so much you can improve every year in terms of hardware. But smartphone software has enabled people to squeeze out every possible possibility from the hardware. From enhancements to post-production to artificial depth of field, to countless many features that go unappreciated, computational photography is the future of image-making.
I can only begin to imagine what possibilities will open up as soon as camera companies start introducing computational photography to their devices. If something as basic as a smartphone can do remarkable things, a camera will be truly next level. That said, it takes a lot of work and investment to build such technology. It is unlikely that camera companies have such R&D potential. One of the ways to do this would be by announcing a partnership with larger electronics corporations such as Google, Samsung, or Apple. The users would go nuts if Canon would announce that they’re partnering with Apple and bringing a large number of their features to cameras. While I’m sure that there are negative business consequences in this, the end-user experience will be much better.
AirTag (Wideband) technology
One of the reasons I got the Apple Watch is that I kept losing my phone on set. The same can be said about the new AirPods. Having put them on my keychain, I never forget keys at home or elsewhere. I can only wish the same technology could be somehow implemented into camera bodies, computers, and even light stands. This would make finding and locating items on set much easier. If you ever looked for that 24-70mm on set, you understand what I am saying. Cameras already have GPS built in, which makes tracking the location of images easy. If only the technology behind devices such as AirTag was standard and could be installed in any device. The great thing about the AirTag and the whole wideband technology behind it is that there is an ecosystem. Being able to add your expensive camera to that ecosystem will only do good for keeping track of it.
Remote Capture With Smartphone/Smartwatch
When I bought my Apple Watch, I got it because I kept losing my phone and track of time on set. But then, as soon as I started to get the hang of using it, I absolutely fell in love with the device. Everything from sleep tracking, to workout monitoring, to remote shutter. Remote shutter with a smartphone is now possible through a dedicated app, but let me be clear here, the connection is at best barely usable. For example, the notorious Canon Camera Connect works half the time, and the other half does not. Meanwhile, Profoto has developed a remote Apple Watch shutter for their camera app, and that’s hats off to them!
It would be incredible to see companies such as Capture One, Adobe, or camera companies indeed develop apps that allow them to control their devices via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. In my opinion, it is nothing impossible. If Apple can do it so well with the watch and phone, why can't Canon do the same?
It seems like connectivity is the biggest problem for me, as sharing images is more important than ever. Looking back on my photojournalism days, I wish I had features such as AirDrop and remote capture, as well as easy-to-use internet connectivity to share my work. This would eliminate the problem of having to take the memory card out, bring in extra equipment such as a laptop, edit the images on it, and then upload them for the client. When all that matters is whether I have a shot or not, no one really minds if it is not color graded or edited all together. This is why you can easily see bad-quality images on headlines, covers, and other places. It is simply so much more about the content of the images than it is about how many megapixels the photograph has. Connectivity seems to be the big thing not only in camera tech but also in lights. There is only so much you can improve in hardware now; software is the next big thing. The better the software, the better the user experience.