Rammell Photography

Surrey Wedding Photographer

Blog Post 10: 'SDSLR's' (Smart DSLR's - You heard that here first!)

Canon, geo, Camera, tagging, editing, SDLSR, posting, twitter, flickr, iPhone, social, facebook, 4s, mobileMichael RammellComment

Hi all and welcome to post number 10!

I'm finally into double figures at last. This is my first milestone in blogging and I'm quite pleased with the content of each of my posts so far. I see in other blogs that posts get shorter and shorter. Some posts are even just a few paragraphs. I've done an okay job so far (I think) to make each of my posts a good, decent read!). So thanks for stopping by! More than anything I hope my blogs have been either an interesting read or have some sort of take-home value to you.

In my last blog post I was talking business, namely the business of photography. It was a fairly long post and upon reading it back it clearly turned into a sort of descriptive brain-dump of what I had done so far to get Rammell Photography off the ground and to start creating my brand. Although I think that post still holds value I want to take a break from writing the business side of things this time to ensure that the conclusion to that, part 2, is far more structured and rounds off that subject nicely. So this week I'm taking I'm talking 'Phonography', the future of camera tech, apps and other fluff.


So, in the last few months on various photography related news sites and even on an episode of TWIP there have been mentions and discussions of camera's with a more full, and thick GUI OS on them. I'm not talking rumour-mill stuff and saying that I've heard such a camera's are on the way, but more that this sort of camera is what people actually want. What they're asking for.

I'm talking iPhone & Android-style Operating Systems, not just the likes of Canon and Nikon's menu style 'OS'. The main reason behind these murmurings seems to be because people want to be able to edit, share and do more with their camera's than just take photo's. At first I really didn't see the appeal of this myself. Even as a relative newbie to the craft I considered myself to be old-school and wanted people to stop talking about it. I almost didn't want change to happen. I like taking my photo's, getting them home, loading them onto my PC and going through my workflow in LightRoom. I thought (and still think) that it's what separates us as photographers from those 'point-and-shooters' and other people who have any sort of half-decent camera.

However, my view on remaining old school has recently changed and I've done a complete 180 degree turn on the argument. It started with a quick trip out for some lunch with my wife and Daughter:


Click to Enlarge: "Madeleine"

Okay, so, this is nothing special. Just a picture of a pot that held our cutlery. But, compared to the original, un-edited file it's far more interesting. The part that started me thinking is because I managed to snap this shot, apply a filter, apply a frame, apply an effect and even add a little tilt-shift to blur the top & bottom. Nothing ground breaking here, but, considering this image hasn't gone anywhere near Photoshop CS, Elements, Lightroom, Aperture or any application I've paid  for, for that matter this is quite impressive. And, to top it all off I managed to post this to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter all within a matter of minutes after taking the image. A process that would have otherwise taken me far longer If I had 'snapped' this with my Canon 7D.

I must admit, I was both Impressed and Intrigued by both the image and the process of getting from A, to B, to Twitter.

I've never debated the fact that the iPhoneis a capable and powerful camera, in fact I have always been one to shout about it. But I've never viewed it as a replacement, or even a competitor to a full DSLR. I still don't think that is the case, but I think the two of them have a future much closer together.

What If were able to pull out my 7D and go through the same process? Wouldn't that be far better? I would 'reserve' the right to put my images through my software, such as Lightroom, but for those one's I want to share quickly and on-the-go, this functionality would be ideal. And what about sports photographers and photographers in those industries where they need to get their images back in before a deadline, such as going to press etc. This is something they would surely be interested in. Right?

I didn't think too much more of this after the above photo. After all it was just one image of a utensil pot, whilst I was out to lunch. And it certainly isn't better than the other image's I've photographed using my DSLR and edited in the so called digital darkroom.

A Trip To London and a Surprising Outcome

The day after taking the above photo I was heading into London to take some photo's with my Uncle - Proper photo's. This was a planned photography day with DSLR's. We had planned the trip for a while and had a particular interest to visit the new Shard building, the UK and Europe's tallest building. It was my intention to take some shots of the shard, the London Eye, some underground stations and some of the street performers at Covent Garden with my DSLR.

As usual with any photography trip I prepare in the same way: I charge my camera batteries and flash batteries. I format my memory cards and I give my lenses a quick clean. I pack my bags the night before (especially if it's an early start, like this one was). I also charge my phone over-night to ensure maximum battery, this is normally for both music, and to use it as an actual phone (who'd have guessed!). Like many other people, I have the popular iPhone 4s 64Gb edition.

It transpires that charging the iPhone would mean most for this trip though.

The Shard

Still in my old-school frame of mind, knowing my above photo wasn't groundbreaking we took one of the first trains of the day from Bracknell to get to London Waterloo for around 08.30. As you can imagine at this time of morning the train was busy, Waterloo was packed and the tubes were even worse (god-knows London is not ready to host an Olympics!). So, I kept my DSLR in the bag until we could get somewhere more open so that I could set my bag down and choose the right lens to start photographing.

We made our way to London Bridge tube station and for a few minutes struggled to find the Shard Building. Despite it being the tallest building in the UK it seemed to elude us both! Then we turned a corner and there it was. (I'm glad I didn't ask anyone where it was in the end - "Yeah mate, it's that massive pointy building right there..."). Strangely, our instant reaction was to get our iPhone's out and take pictures:


Click to Enlarge: 'The Shard' - taken with iPhone 4s, Edited using the Snapseed Application

You can see Neil Graham's iPhone shot here: Gneil45 on Flickr

After taking this image we then made our way to the bottom of the shard, snapping more images on our iPhone's as we walked. At the time I didn't think anything of it. It was all quite subconcious. When at the bottom of the shard I continued to snap away using my iPhone, at this point I still hadn't taken my 7D out of my bag:


Click to Enlarge: The shard from the bottom. iPhone 4s, Edited with Snapseed

I was really happy with what images I was able to take using the iPhone's camera and I really got into instantly editing the image as soon as I'd taken it using the Snapseed. At this point I wasn't uploading them to any of my social feeds. I was just saving them to the iPhone camera roll.

The iPhone photography continued:


Click to Enlarge: The Shard's beautiful lines. iPhone 4s, Edited with Snapseed.

We did eventually get the camera's out and take some 'proper' photo's. I personally still haven't looked at mine. I have copied them to my storage and organised them into folders but I haven't had the time to sit down and begin going through the shots I'd taken.

So, after being told that the Shard was not open to visitors until February 2013 we decided to hang around at the bottom for a bit and edit our iPhone images. At this point I started to upload a few to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I instantly received a wave of tweets, favourites and +1's. Brilliant considering I'd only taken the photo a few minutes ago!

London Eye

So, we jumped back on the tube. Knowing that the trains were still going to be quite busy and with the underground being cramped we put our camera's back in our bags and made our way to the London Eye.

The whole time we had our iPhone's out photographing things as we walked; Underground signs, escalators, people, trains. The ease with which we were taking photo's, and good, high quality photo's to boot, which was achieved with surprising ease:


Click to Enlarge: Ghostly Tube Train. iPhone 4s, Edited with Snapseed

This, for me, was the first time I'd used my iPhone to try and actually photograph something I'd be posting to the internet for people to see as an image I would consider artistic. I've got thousands of photo's of my daughter and other silly things on my phone, but these were photo's I'd be taking and putting into my portfolio folder.

We got back to Waterloo and made our way to the London Eye, again, photographing things and editing them with our phone's as we walked.

We arrived at the London eye and by this point I had only taken around 50 or so shots with the 7D and more than 3 times that on my iPhone. Again, I wasn't aware of this at the time. I was far more pre-occupied with snapping and editing and posting.

I took this shot of the London eye. When I look at this I see an earth-like image in the middle of the wheel:


Click to Englarge: London Earth. The London Eye, iPhone 4s, Edited with Snapseed.

I had started to realise that I hadn't used my 7D that much. I suggested we go to the other side of the river and try some stop motion. This is something I did use my 7D for. I couldn't resist but get another shot of the wheel as we walked underneath:


Click to Enlarge: Grimm Wheel. iPhone 4s, Edited with SnapseedSo, we go to Embankment opposite the London Eye and began to actually start using our DSLR's. Partly because it's what we had came to do, partly because by now my iPhone was showing 50% battery and I needed the iPhone to still perform it's primary function - telephone calls!

So, we did a bit of stop motion (my first ever attempt I may add!):

After this we made our way to Covent Garden, again, taking more photo's on the way:


Click to Enlarge: Funky Phone Box. iPhone 4s, Edited in Snapseed

Is this the future?

So, based on all of those images above and the fact that they were shared before I had the chance to go anywhere near a computer the subject comes full circle and leads me to the question: "Is this the future?"

Clearly, the quality of the images and the ability to compose an image is not as good as on, say, my Canon. I also don't have my interchangeable lenses or any proper control over focal length, ISO, Metering etc. Clearly, there are things that my iPhone can do that I would love my camera to do, and things that I can only do with my camera. 

So, that begs the ultimate question: Will DSLR's become smarter? Will they get touch screens? will they get 3G (or 4G!)? Will I be able to take a picture on my Canon or Nikon, Edit in camera like I do on my iPhone and then share with the world instantly?

Will we start to see Smart Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera's - SDLSR's?

 - I surely hope so.

I'm also hoping to see a Canon App store and other things like that where I can download filters, textures and effects. I want a 4+ inch on the back of my camera. I want my camera to do more than just take photo's.

Inversely, What I don't want to see is a reverse of the above: I don't want to see my smart phone doing more and more of what a DSLR can do. I don't need it to do anything else that will zap my battery even more. For me there is still a part of owning a DSLR and expensive kit that has an exotic feel to it. It's specialist equipment. It's capable of helping the photographer capture the image his eyes are seeing in special ways. It still requires you to 'have an eye for it'. There is an exclusivity about photography; the moment you produce a photograph for a non-photographer and see that expression on their face, the one that says: "Wow, that's clear, that's crisp and I like the blurry background".

The old school part of me creeps in and doesn't want photography to be as accessible as it  perhaps should be to everyone. I don't want my neighbors and all my friends and colleagues to have it as their hobby too. I want to be the photographer guy that people know.

Having all the gear doesn't mean you're goign to be the best photographer, and that's clear. I don't expect future wedding photographers to be using smart phone's to capture the whole day. But as well as being the ultimate imaging device, all I'm asking is that my DSLR be a little....smarter.

Until Next Week

Next week I'm back on topic and will conclude my talk about photography as a business before going back to talk about other things.

Until then please do post your thoughts and comments on the subject!

For now, follow my blog using this link



Rammell Photography:

Neil Graham

This Week In Photo (TWIP)

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