The iPhone Camera Challenge

By Lloyd C | Updated June 29th, 2011

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
iphone camera challenge

Ever since I started traveling, I’ve been torn by a common dilemma. I’ve wanted to capture moments as vividly as possible, but I’ve also wanted to travel as light as I can. So, I will do the iPhone camera challenge to see if it is worth replacing a real camera.

Of course, high-quality cameras take up a lot of room and weigh a ton. I’ve tested smaller point-and-shoots with fast lenses, but they don’t come close to a full-frame DSLR with high-quality glass. Hence, the dilemma. Do I forego my quest for feather-weight travel or ditch my obsession with gorgeous photos?

The Traveler Has No Camera

As the title suggests, I’ve decided to take the rather drastic step of ditching my camera altogether. The Samsung TL350 is a great camera for its size, but I’ve realized I take it out less than 10% of the time. The reason I bought such as small camera was so I’d have it more often to capture memorable moments. But in practice, it just didn’t work out that way. I had to remind myself to ‘take the camera!’

I Never Forget My Underwear

Clearly, if I wasn’t remembering to take the camera, I didn’t care enough about it. I never forget to take my shoes, or my money or my underwear, and if you think that’s just habit, well, I NEVER forget to take my Moleskine, and I’ve only recently started using a notebook. The only deduction is that I don’t care enough about great photos. I can appreciate a nice photo, but in the scheme of everything else, ‘meh’.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I don’t like taking photos; I love to capture our moments around the world. I just don’t care if they’re good enough to print on a massive billboard (or print at all, really).

A Camera With No Camera

Since I always carry my iPhone, I can essentially not have a camera or any camera equipment, but still, have a camera. Spooky huh? The iPhone camera pretty much sucks compared to any new-ish Japanese compact, but I’ve found it’s fine for capturing those all-important mischievous moments. As they say, the best camera is the one you have (with you).

Don’t Try This at Home!

For the record, I don’t suggest that everyone ditches their cameras. For starters, you probably don’t have a completely irrational obsession with traveling light. Secondly, if you’re just traveling (not blogging or running a business), you probably have plenty of time to juggle photography and post-processing. And lastly, I’m oddly attracted to the ‘challenge’ of this and becoming a better iPhone photographer.

If you’re in fact up for the challenge too, there are lots of benefits to consider:

  • Less bulk in your bag and pockets – no AC chargers or cables either
  • Less photo-specific software on your laptop – and no RAW processing
  • More time to focus on other interests – writing, meetups, adventures, etc.

Even Better Than Meat on a Stick

On a more subjective level, I’ve made a few other interesting observations over the last week just using my iPhone Camera:

  • When photography becomes less serious, you don’t fiddle aimlessly with pixels
  • When you get used to using your iPhone, you react quicker to capture unique moments
  • When the photos aren’t high quality, they become less artistic and more personal
  • Photography is now completely absent from my mind; if something’s worth capturing, I just pull out my iPhone, but I otherwise don’t sweat photography
  • I send pictures to friends and family much more often (one click after taking the photo)
  • I’m more likely to take pictures of meat on a stick in Thailand (soon to come)

To Be Continued…

So we’ll see how it goes. I’m a little more motivated to include my own photos in future blog posts since I’m making a point of this challenge. And already over the last week, I’ve become more satisfied with my photos while spending such little effort on them. I really think it all has to do with my photos becoming more personal. I guess I’m looking at the moment rather than the photo, which is good because the photos are truly abhorrent, let’s be honest.