posted Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 6:00 AM EDT


Wake up with IR - Here's today's dose of Caffeine Priority!

I, like millions of other people, purchased an iPhone 6S recently. One of the major features I was looking forward to was the improved camera. Of course, as an editor here at IR, I have a fascination and appreciation for the dedicated digital camera. As a photographer, I love the tactile feel of a "real" camera: manual dials, the satisfying click of the shutter button, or a rapid-fire burst of frames.

But, "real" cameras can be heavy, cumbersome beasts to lug around, especially when extra lenses, tripods and who knows what else gets tossed into the mix. When I'm out hiking, for example, I want to be as light as possible. This is why the iPhone is appealing to me as a camera. The increase in image quality and performance in the iPhone's camera (and software) has made it all the more compelling for me, doubly so when you browse through inspiring images from places like the iPhone Photography Awards or stellar reviews from folks like Austin Mann. The iPhone can capture some great images.

I have yet to shoot extensively with my iPhone 6S yet, but there were a couple times last week where I opted for my phone as my camera of choice. I was rather impressed with the results, and apart from the image quality (which was pretty good), I was more amazed by the lens' close-focusing abilities and nice background blur with good subject isolation. Plus, the fact that you can edit your photos with Lightroom right on the device and share instantly, to me, makes the whole process all the more fun.

So, what do you think? Has an iPhone or other smartphone made its way into your photography repertoire? A tried-and-true DSLR or interchangeable lens camera will still stay close at hand -- a phone camera can't do everything yet -- but I might be putting more mileage on my phone's camera the next time I'm out and about.

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Caffeine Priority is a new series of short morning photo-tidbits, to ease you into your day and give us a chance to share a bit more of what life’s like here at IR. We're more like a group of friends testing and talking about cameras and lenses than the buttoned-down, big-corporation world that some of our photo-friends at other companies work in; hopefully these little snippets will share some of that. So... grab another cup of coffee and join in the conversation with us down below!

(Our cool "Caffeine Priority" logo is derived from a mode dial icon designed by Ariel Lepor. You can see other examples of Ariel's graphic design work and great macro photography at Thanks, Ariel!)