With the launch of the recent iPhone and the steps Apple took in creating an overall better photography tool, smartphones are continuing their march into Compact Camera territory and arguably in some interchangeable camera systems territory. With the release of the new Iphone 7, smart phones have made huge strides in photography, especially in Apple's new plus series. Rather than bore you with what was changed, just know the camera's have significantly improved from the last generation.
This new Iphone release then brought to my mind the idea that "The best camera is the one that's with you" originally thought of by Chase Jarvis. With the way smart phone cameras have evolved and progressed in the last couple years, I'm starting to believe this rings true even more so today than when it was initially thought of back in 2009. Everybody who owns a smartphone has a capable camera in their pocket. With life flying past you, sometimes a moment yearns to be captured. If you don't have any type of camera with you, then your hand practically flies in your pocket to pull out your smartphone with out even thinking.
I have done this myself. I have even printed some of my photos from my cellphone. The two shots below are prime examples that show a smart phone today can be used as a capable photography tool.
I own a Motorola X Pure. I wouldn't say the camera is great but it is definitely capable. What's more important is that I wouldn't have been able to capture the moments above if it weren't for my phone.
What helps out this idea even more so is the fact that a large portion of photography WILL be viewed on a tiny screen (AKA your phone). Most of media today is consumed using your phone as it is at your disposal every day. Because of this, a low megapixel count and noise in an image can almost be nullified as people view photos in an even tinier format: Instagram. Today, Instagram is an almost essential tool to use to market yourself as a photographer and it is also the worst way to show photos. Photographers can take huge sweeping photos of beautiful landscapes only to have them reduced in size to be shown in a tiny box on Instagram but it is a necessary evil.
Cell phones thrive with Instagram as it is an application on the phone and a photo can be uploaded almost instantly. The decrease in file size isn't suddenly too bad when the photo was previously 8 Megapixels or when the photo was taken with Instagram in mind a la 1x1 format.
Now, I'm not saying that your smart phone can be the only photography tool you'll ever need. There are two caveats in the smart phone that won't let the phone trump the interchangeable lens systems. Low light performance and the ability of attaching competent lenses. Where smart phone cameras stand today, low light performance is far below any camera that can attach a lens. And phones don't have the option to attach lenses which leaves telephoto ability completely out of the question.
The most important aspect in photography is capturing moments. If a moment begs to be captured and with nothing left but your smart phone, I'd say confidently take the photo. "The best camera is the one that's with you" has never sounded more right than it has in this day and age.