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Macro Marvels: Unleashing Boulder Phone Cameras for Professional Quality Photography!

We Boulderites wonder: Is a camera phone a “real” camera? First, what’s wrong with the iPhone and the other top level camera/phones? I find two non-fatal flaws which I’d like to get out of the way immediately. No suspense for the bad news is necessary. I’ll let the cat out of the bag and we’ll all take pictures of it, since we all have top quality cameras in our hand or in our pocket. No longer relegated to professional photographers and destined to living in a camera bag, the phones are amazing cameras! Not just adequate. Not just handy. Not just cool for selfies. They are REAL CAMERAS! The more I can set aside my prejudice against the whole idea that a phone can be a “real” camera, the more I am amazed at what these little handfuls of camera can do.

Dollar Coin sitting on my leg, iPhone Hand-Held, CROPPED

From this cropped picture of a dollar coin, cropped way down so it is magnified significantly to show the degree of detail present in what is basically a small piece of a snapshot. No special anything. Just an iPhone. (13 Pro Max).              Sacajawea Dollar Closeup, Cropped to Show The Detail Captured by an iPhone. The Original Was Of The Whole Coin.

Original “Snap Shot” Of The Sacajawea Dollar Coin Used For The Super Close Pic Above. This Is A Decent Close-Up Without Additional Magnification.

The Same Original “Whole Coin” Pic Pushed A Bit Beyond Its Limit. Still Not Pixelating, (Showing “Grain”) It Is Starting to Blur.

The drawbacks? They are hard to hold for taking pictures. The shape does not feel nearly as good as a medium sized camera. I have large hands, and comfortably holding a phone as a camera is clumsy. There are a number of solutions allowing for easy hand-held shooting, but all add to the size and bulk to the otherwise small pocket-sized miracles. I generally don’t use one of the excellent camera holders available. Generally the phone holder accessories can be used as a handle or screwed to a small or large tripod. No pocket carry is possible with these accessories on the camera/phone.. Additional challenge: As with all screen viewers (no eyepiece viewer) the screen cannot be seen in the sun. Sun on the screen washes out the picture on the screen making the picture on the screen about impossible to see. Interesting but this does not interfere with using the camera nearly as often as you’d expect.

I love using “macro” shots as an example of just how powerful the phone can be as a photo tool. . I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 10 years old, which means I’ve been a photographer for over 60 years. During those six decades I have aspired to taking good or excellent “macro” pictures. That simply means being able to take pictures that are super close ups, filling the screen like a low powered examination microscope permits. I’ve worked with extension tubes, diopters, bellows, and dedicated high quality macro lenses. The bellows are beautiful Nikon engineering and manufacturing; works of art in their own right. BIG heavy artwork on the front of a big heavy camera.  Extension tubes are, for me, simply annoying. Diopters, while inexpensive and only somewhat annoying, have severe limitations. Dedicated macro lenses have benefits, including very high quality closeup pictures, but are, as they are named, “dedicated,” and can’t do any other tricks. They provide an even sharper close up than the phone/camera. The camera and lens are large and heavy and easy fit in a pocket. The pocket of a kangaroo!

My phone can cover the range from decent telephoto down to serious closeup macro shots. I used  the sharpening function common in “post-editing” software. The pocket watch is a normal sized  pocket watch .

This Zoomed In Pic Is At About the Closeup Limit For this picture.


                                                       Original Watch Photo

Far greater magnification and zoom magnification would have been possible if I had started with a closeup of the coin to start with. This starting point is far from as close as the original of the watch could have been.

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

Shared Knowledge Is Power!

Leonard Frieling Pen Of Justice Legal Blogger
  • Senior Counsel Emeritus to the Boulder Law firm Dolan + Zimmerman LLP : (720)-610-0951
  • Former Judge
  • Photographer of the Year, AboutBoulder 2023
  • First Chair and Originator of the Colorado Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Committee, a National first.
  • Previous Chair, Boulder Criminal Defense Bar (8 years)
  • Twice chair Executive Counsel, Colorado Bar Association Criminal Law Section
  • NORML Distinguished Counsel Circle
  • Life Member, NORML Legal Committee
  • Life Member, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar
  • Board Member Emeritus, Colorado NORML
  • Chair, Colorado NORML, 7 years including during the successful effort to legalize recreational pot in Colorado
  • Media work, including episodes of Fox’s Power of Attorney, well in excess of many hundreds media interviews, appearances, articles, and podcasts, including co-hosting Time For Hemp for two years.
  • Board member, Author, and Editor for Criminal Law Articles for the Colorado Lawyer, primary publication of the Colorado Bar Assoc. 7 Years, in addition to having 2 Colorado Lawyer cover photos, and numerous articles for the Colorado Lawyer monthly publication.
  • LEAP Speaker, multi-published author, University lectures Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, Denver University Law School, Univ. of New Mexico, Las Vegas NM, and many other schools at all levels.
  • http://www.Lfrieling.com
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