Goodbye, Cameras

Craig Mod, writing for The New Yorker’s Elements blog:

After two and a half years, the GF1 was replaced by the slightly improved Panasonic GX1, which I brought on the six-day Kumano Kodo hike in October. During the trip, I alternated between shooting with it and an iPhone 5. After importing the results into Lightroom, Adobe’s photo-development software, it was difficult to distinguish the GX1’s photos from the iPhone 5’s. (That’s not even the latest iPhone; Austin Mann’s superlative results make it clear that the iPhone 5S operates on an even higher level.) Of course, zooming in and poking around the photos revealed differences: the iPhone 5 doesn’t capture as much highlight detail as the GX1, or handle low light as well, or withstand intense editing, such as drastic changes in exposure. But it seems clear that in a couple of years, with an iPhone 6S in our pockets, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking a dedicated camera on trips like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.

I often wonder if I’m wasting my time shooting some pictures with my iPhone and saving the more “important” moments for my Panasonic GX1, which are saved as RAW files and then post-producecd in Aperture. Almost every single person I know who sees these “important” pictures looks at them on an iPhone/iPad or even worse, Facebook. The image quality is immaterial—these are people who claim to not be able to see the difference between the retina and non-retina iPad screens.

The line I’ve always told myself is that at some point in the future, when everyone is looking at their shitty JPEGs and wondering why their memories look so junky, I’ll have my high resolution images to keep me warm at night.

But what if that future never comes?

/via MG Siegler