Photoessay: Invisibility, revisited

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Towards the end of 2013, I put forward some thoughts on the idea of photographic invisibility. I now realize that we can actually get pretty darned close to this: the concept of hiding in plain sight comes to mind. If something is commonplace, then it no longer stands out. Big cameras and lenses used to; less so now simply because of the increasing proliferation of DSLRs. Even more than that, the cameraphone is so ubiquitous that we are effectively conditioned to ignore it. So, why not harness this invisibility?

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Thoughts on the Apple iPhone 5 camera

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Don’t worry, I’m not about to start claiming the various image-processing apps are the best thing since sliced bread; they aren’t. What I am going to do is take an objective look at the iPhone 5’s camera as a tool for photographers. Firstly, we’ve got to remember that the device itself has a lot of limitations: it was never designed primarily to be a camera in the first place, which means a lot of niceties are missing: a dedicated shutter button, for instance. It is therefore important to consider things in perspective, and be realistic about the kind of functionality we can reasonably expect. I reviewed the iPhone 4’s camera here; from the 4S, the camera received a spec bump to 8MP with a slightly different sensor, meaning that the effective focal length of the lens is a somewhat longer 30mm – now five elements and with a fixed f2.4 effective aperture. The new unit is made by Sony, and focuses and shoots noticeably faster than the 4.

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