A few weeks ago I took a trip to the local zoo. I haven’t been in a few years, so it was a good chance to test out my newer camera equipment. I have a saying that a x26 zoom can give you some incredible shots, mainly due to the way focus works on such long lens lengths. Add in that, on average, most of your interesting zoo animals, such as the big cats, the Elephants, etc, will be 50 feet away, and you reach an actual need for such zoom lengths. The focus effects are just a bonus, making the subject stand out more than they normally would.
While I was getting in position for various shots, some of which came out well, others, not so much, I noticed a very odd thing: I was the only person with an actual camera. Everyone else was using their cell phone to take the photos!
This was insane to me, not because I think cameras on cell phones are bad, but because they simply aren’t good enough to me for one to be able to take quality photos at such distances. Cell phone cameras have come a incredible way, with wonderful wide angle lens designs and quality sensors, but they lack one very critical component: full range optical zoom. At best, you will generally get a decent (but still not good enough) digital zoom. You simply can’t capture the details of the scene at such distances, which simply is not good enough to me.
Cell phone cameras are great for taking pictures of friends, family, rooms, or things in and around the 10 foot range, but beyond that, unless you are trying to take shots of the sky or something, they simply will not capture the scene in worthwhile detail.
In taking a photo, I feel one should always capture the emotion of the scene. I feel an inferior camera, relative to the scene in question, ruins the very purpose of capturing the moment. In this case, I feel much of the beauty of the animals at the local zoo is lost in peoples photos, simply because of limitations in cell phone cameras.
Of course, the people taking the pictures probably don’t care, but still, they could show their friends amazing detail of the eyes of a resting cheetah, rather than just a cat laying down.
What do you think?