Cell phone influence on taste?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by charles_stobbs|3, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Has the cell phone driven up appreciation of wide angle lenses or am I an exception?
  2. A good question. I suspect that the answer is yes. Back when I was growing up, anything wider than 35mm wasn't very common. Most compacts had a 35mm or 38mm lens - I say that they are wide standard lenses, and not really wide angle lenses. I recall an ad for a camera with a 28mm, pointing out that with the 28mm lens you could get more people in the frame at the dinner table.

    I do not like wide angle lenses much, although sometimes you have to use them. I suppose that the more discerning minority of photographers will continue to use longer lenses where most others would just use the wide angle. IIRC the iPhone XR was hugely popular. And the 11, with its dual wide angle lenses, is probably more so.
  3. IIRC, my iPhone X camera focal length is 28mm. For me, that's just sorta wide. That said, I do like that fl for a general purpose camera. Here's a photo from my phone:

    Ocean Beach, San Francisco • ©Brad Evans 2020

    orsetto, LMar, luis triguez and 11 others like this.
  4. Not for me but I may have been doing this too long. My freshman year of college I tried a 28mm for the first time and it was an awakening. I’ve been stuck on them ever since. Really pissed off a few editors along the way. Which was a good thing.

    Rick H.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  5. I've been enjoying a 24-105 lens for years and, though I still use it a lot, I use my iPhone as well. I've always appreciated having that wide an angle lens at my disposal so the cell phone hasn't really increased that. It's a whole lot lighter to walk around with, though! :)
  6. Cell phone influence on taste?
    I have never chewed on my cell phone, so I have no idea.:rolleyes:
  8. I don't use a cell but even back in high school in 1972, the 28 mm was the widest common lens the average person would have. I've always liked wide angles and eventually bought a 20 mm. Street photogs liked the 35 mm a lot. I'd have to say in almost 50 years of photography the number of decent photos I've taken with long lenses could be counted on one hand. I don't do sports or wildlife, so that has a lot to do with it, but something between 20 and 105 has always been my sweet spot.
    tholte and robert_bowring like this.
  9. Many digital compacts have had zoom lenses from 28-100+ for some time before the camera phone became as popular as it is today.
  10. I bought my 1st 20mm in the late 80s. - It has some purpose!
    Journalists used theirs back then regularly. Salgado took impressive shots with his 21mm.
    IDK what the more recent WA only phones could or should have changed in my mind. I've seen good wide pictures before and bad ones too.
    I'm not keen to make a Leica Q my one and only single camera; I'd rather keep something else, with a longer than standard lens, somewhere between 60 & 105mm (equivalent).
    When single focal length users presented their vacations' harvests I must say: I liked 50mm monocultures more than 35mm ones; a wide needs a counterweight, in my opinion.
    I'm curious who'll come up with examples of cell phone altered photography as in "look same 24-105/120 but now I am doing *subject type* much wider".
  11. The question is not so much whether someone will make almost any claim that can be made, it’s whether anyone will care enough to listen.
  12. Cell phones have influenced my photography in as far as "people using cellphones" has become one of my regular subject categories.
  13. And I'll bet it's put a dent in your phone booth photography!
    Sanford likes this.
  14. I would disagree that cell phones have particularly increased the appreciation (or craze so to say) of wide angles significantly. First of all, cell phone cameras are not significantly wide perspective. The iPhone lens is 35 mm equivalent, which is a balance between capturing wide span of a scene vs distorting the scene elements due to ultra-wide lens effect. The important distinction I think is in the use of a fixed focal length lens than a zoom that people were more used to before cell phone cameras became popular. Over reliance on zoom impaired the understanding of perspective in some shooters, that simply zooming in is not equivalent to moving closer to the subject. In that sense, cell phone cameras, with their constraints may have a benefit for some users, and perhaps increase the appreciation for fixed lens over zooms, I would think.

    Here is a more personal thought. If one looks at paintings starting from the Renaissance age or slightly before that, there has been a general trend to show wide angle backgrounds like landscapes against main subjects, such as portraits. One can see this in most European styles of painting, almost like a cliche. So, it may not be wrong to think that a wide background has generally worked for painters and viewers to improve aesthetics, establish relationship between subject and environment, enhance realism and depth, all working towards maximizing the narrative power of their work. The reason I am saying this is, cell phones serve a similar purpose as narrative imagery, narrate the lives of their users, who take pictures regularly. Hence, cell phone’s slightly wide perspective naturally aids in that narration. In other words, cell phone camera’s perspective is a natural choice for creating narrative imagery, not something out of ordinary.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
  15. I expect the purpose of most selfies is context.
    Probably the source of all the selfie related “accidents”.
    luis triguez likes this.
  16. It's actually closer to a 28mm equivalent, or about 75 degrees on the diagonal. Aspect ratios makes this kind of comparison a little tricky, though.
  17. Didn't that change over time? - 30mm on the IV, 26mm on the XI?
  18. Yes, you are right. I have been using the iPad Pro camera recently, which has a slightly longer focal length than the iPhone, 31-32 mm. The iPhone camera is slightly wider than iPad, about 28 mm according to various sources.
  19. Yes it has. iPhone 5 that I had originally was 31-33 mm, now my current phone which is iPhone 8+, has gone down to about 28 mm. iPad Pro, on the other hand is 31-32 mm. I didn’t notice carefully while shooting, until I looked it up.
  20. I don’t think the fact that phones are fixed focal length matters because almost everyone I see using the phone makes use of digital zoom.

    As others have said, 28mm has been around for ages.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
    sjmurray likes this.

Share This Page