Shot on iPhone 6 : Long Exposures

We have recently started noticing a new Apple ad campaign “Shot on iPhone 6” on a whole slew of billboards all around the San Francisco Bay Area, especially while driving up and down 101. Apple launched the campaign around a month ago, involving 77 photographers, 70 cities and 24 countries, to showcase the virtues of the new camera subsystem on the new iPhone 6. The timing couldn’t have been better, with DSLR sales plummeting to almost 2003 levels.

There is no question that the convenience, and always-with-you availability of a smartphone is crucial to capturing a photographic moment – what good is an expensive DSLR when its sitting packed in your expensive backpack taking a nap with your expensive lenses at home? And for those not-to-be-missed moments, a smartphone is indispensable. But quality of the resulting photograph is a different proposition.

In this series of articles, we will look at where an iPhone 6 (or an Android) breaks down in image quality, and when and why a DSLR really matters. If there are apps or gizmos that can be used with the iPhone to compensate this breakdown in image quality or capability, we will mention those as well.

Let’s start with Long Exposure Photography. Whether is the smoothening of flowing water along a river, or the mist effect created by crashing waves or a waterfall, a dramatic moving sky, light trails from car lights, or star trails in the night sky – the soothing effects of long exposure photography are innumerable. Unfortunately, the iPhone does not allow for long exposure photography.


Here are two images of a Flamenco dancer in Madrid, Spain. One of them is from an iPhone 5S, and the other is from a Canon 6D. The same post editing was applied to both images. It wasn’t even possible to keep the shutter open on the iPhone to blur out the spinning dancer.

Apparently, there are some apps available that simulate this effect by taking multiple images and stitching them together. I haven’t tried them – but that could be one option. The other option, hopefully, could be a future software fix from Apple.

Posted in featured, how-to, photography, spain.

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