My Newfound Respect for the iPhone as a Camera

This past weekend I recently took my very first trip to Yosemite. I'd love to talk about how life-changing it is seeing such beautiful scenery with your own eyes, but besides all that, I'd like to quickly share some thoughts on why I was completely blown away by my iPhone 5 while I was there.

Before the trip, I absolutely made sure I had all the bases covered:

  • Pack my Canon 7D (because who wouldn't bring a DSLR to a place like this?)
  • Pack my Lumix LX5 (Carrying a heavy DSLR+Lens on a steep 3+ mile hike just isn't fun)
  • Make sure I have all my memory cards and card readers
So here I was with a camera bag full of great cameras ready to go. Sure enough, I was a bit giddy anticipating the great shots I'll be getting as soon as we got to Yosemite. 3 days worth of epic scenery and all the gear to capture it. WOO!
On day one, we made a few stops and I used the Canon 7D to grab as many pics as I could before the sun went down. They were cool and all, but in my head I knew I had to spend some time to edit and process them before I had the results I really wanted. Upload the RAW files into Lightroom, clean up in Photoshop, resize, organize, upload, etc etc. By 2am, I had finished editing a final handful of photos that I was happy with.
Day 2, however, we planned on going on some steep hikes, so the 7D was out of the question. I could have taken the LX5, but I just didn't want anything hanging around my neck the entire time. I wanted to be comfortable and enjoy every moment of my time there... so iPhone 5 it was.
As we made our way back to Yosemite Valley, I had to stop at Tunnel View again. It's just crazy not to stop and stare when you're there. After spending a few minutes to take it in, I whipped out the iPhone 5. As soon as I took the photo with the default Camera app, I was quite surprised at the result even moreso than I was with what I was seeing on my DSLR's screen the day before. I then edited the one photo I took in one of my apps and in less than 2 minutes, I was looking at a photo with the EXACT results I was trying to get from 10+ minutes of working on a single photo in Lightroom/Photoshop with my 7D photos. "HOLY CRAP", I thought to myself.
From that moment, I thought about how much time I could save if I just used the iPhone to get EVERY shot I wanted from then on. I never picked up my 7D or LX5 for the rest of the trip.
The combination of the size convenience, the powerful combination of great apps, and ease of shareability with the iPhone was something I simply underestimated before now. Granted, my other cameras are obviously better for night photography and image quality for large professional prints, but for me, it wasn't about that.
We've all heard the quote "The best camera is the one that's with you" and now I can really say I believe it. I learned about the "80/20 rule" from Tim Ferriss which says that "80% of your benefits come from 20% of your efforts", and I think it's the perfect fit for iPhone photography. 80% of the results I wanted vs. shooting DSLR are achieved with the 20% of the effort I put in shooting with an iPhone 5. That seems like a fair trade to me.
Unless I'm on a special assignment, I honestly can't see myself using my 7D and LX5 as much as I used to anymore. Some may prefer the super sharp and unique look of Canon L glass, or the rich skin tones of Fuji cameras, but for now, I think the iPhone 5 will be THE camera for me. (I do, however still drool over the Sony RX100, Sony RX1, and Fuji X100s, but that's probably GAS talking)
In less than 10 minutes of editing/processing, I now have over 20 photos to add to my online portfolio. 20+ photos that I'm VERY satisfied with and have no problems showing off to potential clients. That's insane and something I've never done before, especially with a PHONE.
What I just wrote might now make sense to a few people as I was just excited to share my experience hoping others felt the same way, too. If you do, share your story!