Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD on Youtube) is one of my favorite techies. His insightful and honest reviews of diverse technologies keep me subscribed and buying items that he’s reviewed. As a photography fan myself, I was naturally attracted to his latest video on smartphone cameras. Though the title was ever so slightly click-baity, the content never lowered the bar.
The key message in the video is that the software in smartphone cameras is increasingly making decisions that produce images that are inconsistent with reality. From smoothing tones to filling-in shadows, the software produces images that defy visual reality. As the primary upgrades in newer smart phones tout batter or camera improvements, naturally it leads one to think about what, really, is improving with each version.
Though there is much technical analysis within the video with side-by-side comparisons with other cameras to prove the points, I am left with questions:
WHO, ULTIMATELY, IS THE PHOTOGRAPHER IN SMARTPHONE PHOTOS?
WHAT STORY IS THE SOFTWARE PHOTOGRAPHER CONCOTING THROUGH THE IMAGE?
WHAT ROLE DOES THE SOFTWARE PHOTOGRAPHER PLAY IN CREATING THE ‘ACCEPTABLE’ SKIN TONE?
I admit the last question is a heavy one and Marques only brushes past the race/equity impact. But I’d encourage you to watch for yourself and make your own judgement on who really took that last photo on your smartphone.