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The Apple iPhone 3GS_First Impressions

Image made with Apple iPhone 3GS camera under sodium vapor lighting

Today’s the first of my industry news posts. I though it would be appropriate to bring your attention to the new Apple iPhone, particularly in relation to its picture taking capabilities.

I began to have pretty significant difficulties with my last phone during December and was forced to replace it. The good news was that, together with a wonderful new phone, the plan I signed up to provided me with lots of benefits, including over $500 per month of extra calls, for not much more than my previous plan cost me.

As to the phone itself I decided to go for the top model, Apple’s iPhone 3GS is their best yet. It renders web pages and email attachments up to 2X faster than the iPhone 3G; includes 32GB of storage; video recording, in either landscape or portrait orientations, at VGA resolution which can be edited and shared directly from the phone to email, YouTube, iTunes and to your MobileMe gallery; and voice control to call up any song within your iTunes library and lets you place a call to anyone from your Contact list.

I would have preferred a camera that captured more data than the phone’s 3-megapixel camera. Image files are saved as JPEGs, a format with which I’m not particularly fond of. Nevertheless, under the right conditions good pics are relatively easy to produce. Like many point and shoot digital cameras the ability to move in incredibly close and produce sharp images, without the use of a tripod, is fantastic. The camera has the added advantage of allowing you to enhance subject sharpness by tapping on the area where you want the camera to focus.

Another great feature is the ability to rotate the phone to allow you to work in landscape mode. This will provide you with a larger keyboard to assist in the preparation of email, messages, notes and browsing the web via safari. You can   access the web, by using your iphone’s 3G connection to allow wireless internet connection of your mac notebook or pc laptop.

And of course there are said to be 100,000+ apps available, many of them for free, for the iphone.

Up until last night the only time I’d used a phone camera was by accident. I literally hit the wrong button. It seemed to me that, as I had great cameras and lenses specifically designed for making pictures, a phone was for making phone calls.

Of course I started to realize that there are a range of advantages offered by a phone camera. It could be taken on a recky and would allow me to make snapshots of an interesting location without having to carry a full camera kit. On return I could determine whether it would be worthwhile coming back and, if so, what time of day and what part of my kit would allow me to produce the best results. The fact that the recky would likely be physically less demanding should be a motivation in itself to get out more often. Around a year ago, when I first started this blog, I began to realize the advantages associated with social networking. To share my images and the joy of photography with a larger and more diverse audience, and to communicate the beauty of our natural world and its people is now a reality for me. And for this I thank you.

So last night I decided to try the camera out and, after working out how to use it, went for a walk around sunset. On my way home I decided to make a few pics with the iphone. The image above is one of them. In case you’re wondering it’s a plastic cup stuck into a thick wire barrier on top of a walkway overlooking the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne, Australia. I positioned the camera so that the bright mercury vapor light, positioned to illuminate a road sign on the top of the walkway, lit the cup from behind.

I enjoyed the process so much that I’ve decided to publish one or more pics, and probably some video, from the iphone every Tuesday. I purchased the phone as a business tool, but I’m now looking forward to having a lot of fun with it’s built in camera. Look forward to some adventurous and abstract images over coming weeks.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


2 Responses

  1. No experience of the 3gs camera, but i’ve had the “old” 3g for a good 10 months now and it’s really produced some smashing images. Sure it’s never going to challenge a true camera quality wise, but that isn’t its job. It’s a handy, always with you camera, and that is it’s charm.
    Having said that i’m thinking of using the iphone for a couple of portrait sessions for my current photo project (along with regular gear) just to see what funky little extras it can provide.
    Keep up the good blogging.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the feedback. I think you’re spot on the mark with your approach to using the iPhone for making pictures. When it comes to using it for portrait sessions, I wouldn’t use it for a tradition paid family portrait. The camera’s ability to handle relatively high contrast conditions or make large prints would be limited. But, if you’re taking about a fun project where the images are used on the web it should do a pretty good job. I’m sure you’re up with all of this but, there it is, just in case.

    I hope you’ve been making some great shots with all that snow you guys have been getting of late. Could be another opportunity for the iPhone to shine.

    All the best,


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