Using the iPhone As My Only Camera



Though I love to snap photos I don’t pretend to be a photographer. I own two cameras: an older digital Kodak point and shoot with a dead battery and my iPhone 4.

I don’t know if this is a new trend or if I’m just one of a kind, but my photographs and snapshots seem to have a shorter lifespan than they used to. I don’t print out my photos anymore. Instead I text message them or email them to my friends and family. I upload them to Flickr and I share them on Twitter. It used to be a big deal to print out all your photos and archive them into an album. People do that digitally now using iPhoto I guess, but I don’t even use that.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and I always have my iPhone with me. In fact, I haven’t used the digital Kodak since June of 2007. This is fine by me because, like I mentioned above, I am at most just a snapshot enthusiast.

However, there is a huge shortcoming to using my iPhone as my best camera: some of the most memorable moments are also the ones where you do not want your iPhone anywhere near you.1

Anna and I are currently on vacation in Hawaii. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Hapuna Beach which has been called one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Hapuna Beach is gorgeous. The water is all shades of blues and greens, and to the south side there is a gorgeous volcanic rock wall with several coves.

But our camera (my iPhone) was locked up in the rental car. There was no way I was going to bring my $400 iPhone down to the beach to get sand in it and risk it getting stolen while Anna and I were out bogie boarding.

If the best camera is the one you have with you then the worst camera is the one you refuse to take. Funny how that can simultaneously refer to the same device.

In many ways the iPhone punched massive holes into the inexpensive digital camera market. But there are some instances when the iPhone is the worst option for a camera. Because there is something to be said about the fact that there are some places where you really want a camera yet you are not going to take your iPhone into that situation.

This is why I think the Flip video recorder still had a good market and why digital point and shoots also have a place: they are inexpensive, easy to replace, and they don’t carry all your personal information on them.


  1. Not counting the fact that the iPhone doesn’t come close to using a high-end Nikon or Canon DSLR.