A Camera that Also Happens to Be a Phone?

I’ve been shooting a lot with the Xiaomi 9 SE recently (my new favorite phone-camera). The interesting thing is this:

Perhaps the future of disruption in photography is this: cameras that also happen to be phones.

In other words — we shouldn’t think of them as phones with good cameras. We should think of good cameras, that also have “phone” capabilities (ability to surf the web, publish/share photos, send emails, etc).

An all-in-one photography device/tool

Consider the disruptive nature of phone-cameras:

  1. Ability to shoot photos
  2. Ability to select/process photos
  3. Ability to share/publish photos

What else do you need from the photographic process? The phone covers all of this!

Should we still be calling it a ‘phone’?

This is the irony:

We still call them phones, but nobody uses it to actually make phone calls.

I don’t really like calling them ‘devices’ either (the notion of a ‘device’ is too broad/general for me).

Perhaps we should just be calling them cameras (with phone capabilities). This is also another idea we explored in our book, ‘My First Photography Book‘ (where my nice Amelia discovers a new camera– which is in-fact, a ‘phone’):

What does this mean?

Eric Kim selfie
Selfie shot on ‘Calla’ iPhone app

So I think the significance of thinking of it as a camera (with phone capabilities) is this:

I think in many ways, ‘standalone’ digital cameras are overrated. Better to get a really really good camera phone (than to buy a new standalone digital camera).

For example, The Huawei P20 pro (and the new Huawei P30 pro). The best bang for the buck being the Xiaomi 9 SE (I bought it for only $350). Or harnessing the epic powers of the Google Pixel 3 and computational photography (AI-assisted/powered photography).

An iPhone Pro?

iPhone Pro Concept by ERIC
iPhone Pro Concept by ERIC

Personally, I wouldn’t mind dropping $2000 on an ‘iPhone Pro’ — essentially an iPhone with the best f*cking camera possible in a mobile body.

The main purpose of the iPhone Pro would be to shoot/make/create the greatest photos. And it just happens to have all the iOS stuff tacked onto it.

So why not take the ‘camera bump’ and make it 10x more dramatic?

The future of photography is already here — a brave new world for photography.