Self-Assigned Challenge: Shoot With An iPhone

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS
Today the iPhone X arrives in stores, and we’ve seen a week of leaks, hype and yet another “Shot with an iPhone” campaign. At this point, in the decade-long history of iPhones, if Apple really thinks their iPhone camera is as good as a traditional camera, it’s time to stop showing people the surprisingly good images from their phone.

Shot with an iPhone is like saying “drove with a car” or “rode with a bike.” In other words, yes, obviously, I’m sure it has an amazing camera. I’ve owned every iteration of the iPhone up to the 7 and kept my 3GS and booted it up to make the point.

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

I can imagine a time when shooting with an older iPhone is like a retro thing to do, to get the look only a 3-megapixel still camera can offer. Maybe hipsters will do so wearing ironic hats and mustache stylings.

When it was released in 2009, the 3GS offered much faster speeds, as the “S” indicated. You can get one for under $100 off eBay or Amazon. And, it will run OS 6.1.6.

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

If you remember, the 3 series has the piano-back finish and was the best, in hand size, before the screens got bigger and bigger. I’d been using it as a mobile jukebox in a car before retiring it to the bookshelf, so it was wiped a few years back, and before that, I shot thousands of photos with it.

Unsure of Flickr’s current viability, it’s still a resource for camera data, and 68 million photos have been uploaded from a 3GS. Four thousand photos were uploaded just yesterday.

It’s an 8-year-old phone.

As I’m sure you know, the iPhone disrupted the camera market, pretty much killing the point-and-shoot market, and led to the “step-up camera” market of today. That’s a premium upgraded compact like those from Sony, Fuji and Olympus, with or without interchangeable lenses.

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

Despite the 10th version, and this one with face scanning, Apple hasn’t declared itself a camera company, and there are much better cameras from an array of manufacturers. Those include DSLRs and mirrorless, and mostly because of the much bigger sensor.

To that point, if you haven’t upgraded in a while, now is a good time. For a camera, I mean.

Rant over, let’s get to the photos. The iPhone 3GS camera featured “tap to focus,” but was pre-selfie era, as it didn’t have a camera on the front. I took photos with it around the block, from a bridge, and also downloaded a couple from my old Flickr account. Note those were taken during the square-format fad at a whopping 612 x 612.

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

Apple iPhone X, Apple iPhone 3GS

Writing this piece, I admittedly got a bit nostalgic and checked what I was doing on this day in 2009. Turns out, I was in a camera shop, looking at a vintage bike, wishing I had a better camera!

Right? Just like everyone who’s purchasing a new camera. They’re doing so to take better photos than an iPhone.

You can follow DL Byron on Twitter @bikehugger

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