My New Camera is an iPhone

It’s time for a new camera.

By Kevin RR Williams

TECHNOLOGY I was inspired by a photo of a lasagna rollup recipe on Pinterest. So I seared some zucchini, sautéed carrots and onions, seasoned some ricotta cheese with parmesan, oregano and smoked paprika, sprinkled shredded mozzarella, and drizzled with marinara. Then I began rolling, adding with a bit more mozzarella and sauce. The lasagna rollups came out great but you can't see them. That pesky garage door opener stuck again, leaving precious possessions exposed for the evening. My Canon PowerShot Pro S3 IS was in the back of my car. When I went to retrieve the camera, it was nowhere to be found.

My alternate one-megapixel iPhone camera was nearly as old as the analog 35 mm Canon in the cupboard. That archaic phone lacks LTE, 4G, or 3G connectivity. Though it could still make phone calls, my iPhone officially became "vintage" on June 11, 2013. So it was already on my need-to-replace list for 2013. The loss of my camera accelerated the urgency of obtaining both a camera and a new mobile phone. As timing would have it, the following week Apple announced new iPhones.

Impressive iPhone 5s Camera Feature List

  1. Larger sensor. Larger pixels. Larger aperture (than prior iPhone).
  2. Continuous burst mode.
  3. True Tone flash.
  4. Auto image stabilization.
  5. Slow-motion video.
  6. Live video zoom.
  7. Square photos.
  8. Panorama photos.
  9. Photo filters.

First Impressions

With the exception of slow-mo video, the features are not much different from my seven-year-old Canon Powershot S3 digital camera. It's difficult to get excited over "new" features I have been using that long. In this respect, the iPhone 5s is a bit of a downgrade. (Glass half empty.) I miss the 12x optical zoom, macro focus, and tripod mount. However, compared with my old iPhone, this is a huge upgrade — nearly matching the features of my prior camera. As it weighs out, I have roughly similar functionality within one diminutive device. (Glass half full.)

The iPhone 5s is faster than what I had before — as is nearly anything on the market. I still prefer the iPad over the iPhone for reading and using large iPad-optimized apps.

New Camera Happens to Be an iPhone

As a test of further contravention, I shopped for an iPhone case on eBay. Realizing that the new iPhone draws more power when utilizing its high-speed data connection, I was lured by the Mophie Juice Air rechargeable case. The beautiful, silky smooth silicone hard case arrived. Only design criticisms are use of USB rather than Thunderbolt connector and the deeply embedded earphone jack that requires the included cable extension adaptor; this is less than ideal for some third-party devices like the PayPal or Square card reader. Mophie should engineer a proper jack right into the case.

New Camera Happens to Be an iPhone

Crime seemed to show it's ugly head again. I was shipped either a counterfeit or defective Mophie Juice Air. Further research indicates that counterfeiting is a widespread eBay problem. My "Mophie" didn't work with my iPhone 5s nor a coworker's iPhone 5. After receipt of the malfunctioning goods, the seller's account was unregistered. Fortunately, eBay provides buyer protection. After filing a claim, the seller reappeared and offered a prompt refund upon return. (iPhone 5s used to photograph the case as packed for return to eBay seller.) Whew!

More to Come

From the age of my missing camera and decommissioned iPhone, it's apparent that I am not one who feels the need for the latest gadgets just to stay current. I expect at least three years of good use from my purchases. I alternate upgrades between my iPad and iPhone. Between the two devices, I should be able to handle most mobile tasks. So in 2014, I'll peek at what the new iPads have to offer. But if those features can be filled by my current iPhone, I likely won't be tempted.

If you see a food shot on this blog in the future, know that Apple will be providing the technology behind the scenes — unless I neglect to lock my car and the garage door is left open again. In the meantime, you can find many food photos and recipes shot with far better cameras on my Mouth-Watering Veggies Pinterest board.

Tags: cellphones, photographers, photography, stolen, technology, telephones, theft