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What Camera to Buy? Annie Leibovitz Recommends the iPhone

When friends ask famed photographer Annie Leibovitz what camera they should buy, she suggests the iPhone. Appearing on NBC's new Rock Center news program, Leibovitz suggested the iPhone because it is "the snapshot camera of today", saying it is "accessible and easy".


It appears Leibovitz is a firm believer in the theory that the best camera in the world is the one you have with you.

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Posted: 37 months ago

What a joke, I couldn't disagree more.

For practicality sake ...sure.

But come on folks, it's a phone.

If you're serious about photography use a proper camera.
(Annie Leibovitz does....really)


Maybe you've had your head in the sand lately and didn't realize how much iPhoneography has taken off, but in my own case, I've had more of my photos published in magazines and exhibited in galleries this year that were taken with my iPhone than with any of my "professional" cameras. And since I do get paid for my photography work, that makes me a professional. I'm also a musician and this same old argument applies; it doesn't matter what tools you use, it's the end results that matter!
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago

Yes, the iPhone 4S has a good camera and yes, it's easy to use.

But: The 4S is $599 off contract and $199 on contract. While a also very good camera from say Canon or Nikon is $150-200. Which in return will give you more settings to play with and it's cheaper.

If you're in for a new phone and also want to take loads of pictures: Get a 4S or iPhone 4.

Edit: And if you're proffesional you shoulden't buy a point and shoot camera anyways :P


Right, but the point behind her suggestion is that you probably already are going to have your phone with you. You may as well get a phone that can double as a decent point and shoot (with crazy editing features available as apps, to boot).

Also, entirely not true about professional photographers not buying a point and shoot. Photography for professionals is often a job and they don't necessarily want to lug around the DSLR for family vacation photos or out to lunch when you might see something interesting or just while you're out wandering around, but you still might want to capture a moment or an image that you see. For those times, professionals may still rely upon a good camera phone like the iPhone's or a point and shoot. But why carry both if your phone's camera is pretty good?
Rating: 12 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago

What a joke, I couldn't disagree more.

For practicality sake ...sure.

But come on folks, it's a phone.

If you're serious about photography use a proper camera.
(Annie Leibovitz does....really)


If your SERIOUS about Photography, why are you asking which camera you should get?

I think the point is that the iPhone 4S camera is a good replacement for a point a shoot for most people...
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago
A lot of what’s frightening/uncomfortable to people about the iPhone 4S camera being SO good—and in significant ways much better* than an SLR—is an ego/identity thing, I think.

Being a “pro” and using tools/methods other people don’t feels good. I feel good that I hand-code web sites, while someone else uses a template! So I can understand this emotion. Same if you’re not a paid pro, but like the sense of owning “stuff” that sets you above/apart from other people.

And then there’s the simple fact that change is always difficult for people, and passionate, creative people are bound to resist shifts in the landscape in a realm they have so much time and energy invested in.

We’re only human!

Fear not, SLRs still have their place (telephoto, in my case), it’s simply shrinking greatly.

If you're serious about photography use a proper camera.
(Annie Leibovitz does....really)


And she uses an iPhone as well.

If you’re serious about photography, use what Annie uses... an iPhone :p

* Not just because it’s "with you” at times when that big SLR is stuck at home and useless. But because the iPhone can add all kinds of functionality by downloading photography apps. I have a number of simply awesome apps for taking panoramas, for making time-lapse and long-exposures much more practical, for different ways of triggering the shot, etc.—all with no accessories to lug. I’d have to give those features up if I were to “settle” for an SLR. To say nothing of the value of editing and sharing directly from the camera! And even the built-in camera app has VERY important abilities that normal SLRs lack: being able to touch the scene itself to choose focus/exposure! And HDR: that has let me get shots I just couldn’t get with a conventional dynamic range, and it gives you the non-HDR version too, like a kind of instant bracketing.

And all I have is a lowly iPhone 4 :) Which was already an excellent camera for most uses.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago
20 years ago -- heck, even 10 years ago -- it was widely agreed that the best camera for street photography was a Leica rangefinder.

This is the camera that made the careers of photojournalists, street photographers, fine art photographers et al, because while it came with limitations -- BOATLOADS of them -- it was also a tool optimized for capturing moments, which is what a camera is supposed to do. It stood in stark contrast to the weapons-of-choice of the fashion/portrait photographers (medium format SLRs/TLRs), sports photographers (fast 35mm SLRs) and landscape photographers (huge large format view and field cameras): It didn't have a lot of fancy features to get in your way, it was just one focal length of great optics coupled to a slim profile that you could set to f/8 and just look for shots.

The iPhone 4S is slimmer, faster and slightly better than that old Leica for the same purpose. The interface is better than that of your Leica M8s and Sigma DP-Xs and, yes, even better than the el-cheapo cameras that plague the market. Point. (Click to focus if you need to.) Press the button. Email the thing. No dials, no modes, no craziness, it's exactly what a non-photographer needs and, like the Leica, quite capable of taking great photos.

I went out on a shoot the other day with my wife and baby. I brought the 5D mark II, determined to get a great shot at a nearby trail I have been to a thousand times and never got a great shot at. I took 500 shots. But the shot of the day was taken with her iPhone 4s: me in the foreground, perched precariously on a slope, framing a waterfall in my viewfinder, with the kid hanging from her backpack carrier, looking under my raised arm at the falling water.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago
The camera is not important, a good photograph has everything to do with the person behind the camera. It amazes me that photos by Ansel 70 years ago are still unmatched by today's photographers, even with all the advances in technology.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago


Edit: And if you're proffesional you shoulden't buy a point and shoot camera anyways :P


I guess I'm a professional. I exhibit and lecture around the country on my work, and am also a photo professor. I don't own a point and shoot camera... I have my iPhone. When I go to conferences, I don't take my camera with me. Instead, I just take my phone and use it to document my experiences. These aren't photos I would necessarily show in a gallery (although Dan Burkholder might) but it's definitely my camera for candid moments.

What a joke, I couldn't disagree more.

For practicality sake ...sure.

But come on folks, it's a phone.

If you're serious about photography use a proper camera.
(Annie Leibovitz does....really)


Serious as in how? If I'm doing a big production photograph, I have my DSLR. But even when making photos of my experiences using my iPhone, I still compose correctly. I don't think anyone is saying that the phone replaces the professional camera.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago
It has been stated many times before the same way. It isn't about the camera but the photographer!
I have a multitude of cameras, from P&Ss, to underwater, to DSLRs and camera phones.
The best is the one you have access to at the moment.

An iPhone is just that thing on many occasions.
I love the crispness and speed of the DSLR but t can be hefty to take along.
I love the portability of a P&S or iPhone, grab from pocket shoot bam, I can then easily edit and post on the internet or email. An iPhone is a camera, post-processing and mailer device to get the image you just shot out to others.

DSLRs are great but sometimes at a family reunion I would rather be running around with my kid or eating/talking to others and not worry about someone bumping my DSLR or having someone shoot with it and mess something up. A P&S or camera phone is easy to use and people can use it if I have it sitting on the table and something neat happens.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago

I think people know that. But Tiger Woods doesnt play with cheap clubs just because he is the most naturally gifted golfer in the world. I'm not suggesting that photography should be competitive. But, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to use a better camera that offers more flexibility.

Ansel Adams work is awesome. But, I think its incorrect to say that its still unmatched.


You're probably right about the unmatched comment, that was a little hyperbole, but not entirely untrue.

But tiger woods would play better than me if he was using crap clubs and I was using his.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 37 months ago
If person has no artistic eye, it doesn't matter what camera is being used. I've seen some amazing photographs taken with plastic, one-time-use cameras and iPhones, then saw some "fugliness" being done with DSLR.

As for iPhone's popularity is no wonder it's the most popular camera on Flickr.
Rating: 6 Votes

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