I have sworn off (at least for the moment) the hard stuff, which in this context is SLR cameras, bags of lenses, and boatloads of accessories. My main camera would be classed, I suppose, as a hobbyist camera: a Sony DSC-HX1. It takes fine, sharp photographs, or at least good enough to satisfy my current needs. It’s handy to use, saves files large enough to make 8×10 prints and fell within my budget. All that said, I don’t always have it with me because it is too big to put in my pocket.
Which brings up the meaning behind the phrase, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” You never know when something photogenic may appear before you, and among the few things that I always have with me is my iPhone 4. It only has half the megapixels of the Sony, very little of the zoom, and almost none of the high-tech features. The lens is nothing like the Zeiss in the Sony, the electronics are not as good as the Sony, there is certainly no manual mode, and the speed is nothing to write home about either.
But I don’t always have the Sony with me, and I do always have my iPhone.
So I have a lot of impromptu photos that I have taken with the iPhone, the random sunset, the particularly nicely plated entrée at a restaurant, the cute kitty that wanders by, and a shot taken at an impromptu stop along the Delaware River, which is used to illustrate this article. It is nothing really special. It is not as sharp as it could be, not as true to the colors I saw that day, and not large enough to make a very big print, should I want to.
But it is the best photo I could take with the best camera I had with me, and is far better than no photo at all.