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Author Topic: Istock now accepting cellphone pics.  (Read 19291 times)

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« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2012, 13:48 »
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Open up Guys. we all have invested heavily in equipment and thats what hurts the most But, as history tells us... It's not about the equipment, it's about us and mark my words. Things and stuff will get smaller and smaller, Give it a year or so, as we wouldn't even be having this discussion just a year ago. I've always been  a camera junkie and can afford to buy anything I want,  My last Camera was $5,000 Body only, I test a lot and get to Play with all the new stuff from all the manufactures because of where I live and how long I've been doing this and some good friends and camera reps. There are cameras in the  $1,000/$1,200 Range now that all being equal   [Talent/Lighting]   can rival the Image quality of my $5,000 camera of 2 years ago. Of course they don't have 12 FPS,10 pages of menus and all the other bells a whistles that 90% of us don't use anyway except the specialists like sports and wildlife. but in pure resolving Power There pretty darn good. I understand the "sore" spot it gives some but Change is coming and coming Much faster than we think it is and, Im talking about making Stock Images to sell, Not medium or Large format super Prints But  Penny stock because thats the forum were on. Im not buying a Nokia or a Iphone, Im just saying guys...For what "WE" do, The Uber 10 LB camera days are numbered, All the camera companies know it as do all the reps for these companies.  Photography in all it's forms is not a science, it is an artform and as such comes from the makers eye, Not the instrument, Nor the brush used nor the file format.

That's all nonsense and nothing about phones "hurts".  Giving the artist options allows them the ability to create what they envision.  Giving someone a phone (at this point) allows them to capture what is in front of them, only.  If they want to mess with it afterwards with hipster, or all those filters, that doesn't make them a good "photographer".  "Penny stock"?  That is the "cost", not the content.  Are cameras going to get smaller?  Possibly, sure.  But there's a limit - it needs to be held in the average human hand, in a way that controls are easy to access and that the thing is balanced.

Until we have retina cameras.


grp_photo

« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2012, 14:43 »
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I will buy the Nokia pureview 808 but I don't care what iStock accepts I don't submit to them anyway.

lisafx

« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2012, 16:14 »
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I fully agree with you. I've never accepted the concept:"Only the concept matters, not the technique". You can have the best concept in the world, but if the image is completely black (wrong technique), you are not going to see it. So the technical side does matter. Why can't a very good image have an excellent concept with excellent technical execution? Why some people claim that one is more important than the other, when the two concept clearly can not be separated?

Bingo!  That's the point, IMO.  There are people trying to set up a false dichotomy between creativity and technical quality, when in fact the two should go hand in hand, particularly if you are attempting to sell images commercially. 

lisafx

« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2012, 16:29 »
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Sometimes, it's true, art is served by working under constraints, i.e. with lousy equipment. Here are some of the constraints on phone photography, which are so extreme that true art must be guaranteed:

1. Low-light shooting is impossible because the tiny sensor erupts in a fireworks display of chroma noise.

2. You can't sync a flash to your phone, so you're stuck with whatever light you have. See above.

3. Action shots (loosely defined) are difficult because of abysmal shutter lag.

4. Depth of field is practically infinite because of the very short focal length of the lens. Goodbye to subject isolation with background blur.

5. No manual control of aperture and shutter speed on any phone I've heard of. Okay, never mind aperture because of (4) above, but it is useful to know what shutter speed you're dealing with.

6. Handholding a cellphone is challenging because, like a P&S, it has no viewfinder and must be held out at arms length. This exacerbates the problems raised in (3) and (5) above.

7. The lens is not very good. Flare and particularly veiling flare are ever-present dangers in cellphone photography because the plastic lenses aren't properly coated (that would be expensive. But any minute now, some enterprising Gary Fong type will be offering stick-on lens hoods for cellphones. Imagine.) Sharpness is actually not too bad, but that's because the tiny sensor (see (1) above) can be in the sweet spot of a not-quite-so-tiny lens.

8. The sensor in a cellphone is pretty poor quite apart from its pigmy dimensions. Dynamic range is seriously lacking and, moreover, you can't shoot RAW.

As far as I'm concerned, the above list perfectly illustrates the point of this argument.  Cellphone cameras, like the point-and-shoots most of us started with and quickly abandoned, are just too limited.  They don't enhance your creativity, they limit it.  Severely.  

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but until I had the proper equipment and learned how to use it, the pictures I took with inferior equipment never managed to match the creative vision I had in my mind.  

Some of my favorite pictures I took of my daughter growing up were taken with a 3mp Sony.   But when I look at them close up, or try and print above 5x7, the noise, artifacts, and loss of clarity are so severe.  It breaks my heart and I would give anything to have shot them on a DSLR instead. 

Sean's right, cellphones and point-and-shoot cameras are for taking snapshots of what's right in front of you.  And for the reasons above, not always so great even for that.

And no, that's not jealousy speaking, nor bitterness over the cost of my gear, nor anxiety that an army of cellphone snappers are going to eat my lunch.  My concerns about this are all based on what this will do to buyer perceptions of quality in microstock, and the long term effects that will have on the industry.  
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 16:33 by lisafx »

tab62

« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2012, 16:34 »
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I just canceled my D800E order- going to hold out for the iPhone 5s now where can I find this Jarvis guy?

« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2012, 17:30 »
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When eg the big fashion magazines were publishing SX70 spreads back in the 80s it didn't mean that everyone should throw away their Hasselblads. Sometimes a stylistically deliberately lofi look is going to be fashionable. Years ago iStock published an article about how much they liked the whole Lomography look. This is no different. It's a stylistic thing.

There are two slightly different things happening with cellphone images at the moment. On the one hand they are about the good enough camera which is always with you. That means that it goes places other camera probably don't. So it gets used to record things in a manner which either is or mimics a sort of objective snappy style.

On the other hand the retro stylistic apps like Instagram and Hipstamtic have reminded lots of people how much they like that sort of pretend retro look. That's partly about using filters and textures to make a fun image - and partly about using those stylistic devices to make up for the technical limitations of the original image. Whilst that look remains vogue there is going to be a demand for images which mimic it. Same as there has always been a demand for images which mimic the sort of images which ordinary people take.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 17:33 by bhr »

« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2012, 02:35 »
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Well it seems someone thinks that applying retro filters to cell phone photos and sharing them is worth a billion dollars.

Like it or not that sort of look is in the Zeitgeist for a while (again) so there is money to be made replicating it.

« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2012, 04:04 »
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As far as I'm concerned, the above list perfectly illustrates the point of this argument.  Cellphone cameras, like the point-and-shoots most of us started with and quickly abandoned, are just too limited.  They don't enhance your creativity, they limit it.  Severely.  

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but until I had the proper equipment and learned how to use it, the pictures I took with inferior equipment never managed to match the creative vision I had in my mind.  

Some of my favorite pictures I took of my daughter growing up were taken with a 3mp Sony.   But when I look at them close up, or try and print above 5x7, the noise, artifacts, and loss of clarity are so severe.  It breaks my heart and I would give anything to have shot them on a DSLR instead. 

Sean's right, cellphones and point-and-shoot cameras are for taking snapshots of what's right in front of you.  And for the reasons above, not always so great even for that.

And no, that's not jealousy speaking, nor bitterness over the cost of my gear, nor anxiety that an army of cellphone snappers are going to eat my lunch.  My concerns about this are all based on what this will do to buyer perceptions of quality in microstock, and the long term effects that will have on the industry.  

Exactly. Very well put. By definition aren't 'technical standards' supposed to be just that anyway? 'Standards' that are applied universally, irrespective of the equipment used.

« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2012, 04:19 »
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..Some of my favorite pictures I took of my daughter growing up were taken with a 3mp Sony.   But when I look at them close up, or try and print above 5x7, the noise, artifacts, and loss of clarity are so severe.  It breaks my heart and I would give anything to have shot them on a DSLR instead...
When I point my DSLR at my friends kids, they tend to either run away or pull a silly face.  I get my best photos of them with a cheap P&S.  We're used to closely examining prints and pixel peeping.  I try and think like an average person that doesn't make their living from photography when looking at prints.  An A4 print from my first 2mp compact looks dreadful when I have my technical head on but if I think like a non-photographer, it looks OK.

I still like using cheap compacts.  I don't think it's a fad because I've been doing it for years.  The Lomography site has been around for longer than most microstock sites and people were having fun with cheap plastic cameras many decades ago.  It's a bit like HDR, some of the photos look horrible but others are hard to replicate with a DSLR and will probably sell well on microstock sites.

« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2012, 04:27 »
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please can anyone give me a link to a istock photo shot with cellphone camera? 

« Reply #60 on: April 10, 2012, 04:44 »
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please can anyone give me a link to a istock photo shot with cellphone camera? 

You could always try a search for 'teriyaki'.

« Reply #61 on: April 10, 2012, 04:54 »
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please can anyone give me a link to a istock photo shot with cellphone camera? 

You could always try a search for 'teriyaki'.

thanks.

can't believe my eyes though, the first one is accepted by IS, seriously?

« Reply #62 on: April 10, 2012, 06:22 »
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When I point my DSLR at my friends kids, they tend to either run away or pull a silly face.  I get my best photos of them with a cheap P&S.  We're used to closely examining prints and pixel peeping.  I try and think like an average person that doesn't make their living from photography when looking at prints.  An A4 print from my first 2mp compact looks dreadful when I have my technical head on but if I think like a non-photographer, it looks OK.

I still like using cheap compacts.  I don't think it's a fad because I've been doing it for years.  The Lomography site has been around for longer than most microstock sites and people were having fun with cheap plastic cameras many decades ago.  It's a bit like HDR, some of the photos look horrible but others are hard to replicate with a DSLR and will probably sell well on microstock sites.

Very true and considering the end product is for Joe Public the pixel peeping seems over the top.  But, for a site where technical quality seems to be the be all and end all it is strange to have that image included - the real problem I have is the double standard.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #63 on: April 10, 2012, 06:43 »
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Another point: aren't/weren't they always telling us not to supply a finished design, that was up to the buyer/designer to do, e.g. in most cases it's encouraged to supply a colour photo rather than a mono, because the designer can easily convert to mono.
In the specific cases under discussion in the other thread, couldn't someone with a rudimentary knowledge of PS just reduce contrast and add a cyan cast themselves, to any photo?

(That said, although GIS does seem to find images within 'compositions', by far most of my in-use finds have used the image 'as bought' - seldom with even a different crop.)

« Reply #64 on: April 10, 2012, 06:57 »
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Well it seems someone thinks that applying retro filters to cell phone photos and sharing them is worth a billion dollars.

Like it or not that sort of look is in the Zeitgeist for a while (again) so there is money to be made replicating it.

I think it's in the Zeitgeist too. As long as it's in the zeitgeist for anyone who wants to submit that style and as long as istock approves them for everyone, not just for the "chosen" few.

By the way, I think that shot that the OP posted could have used the instagram filter...might have done it a world of good.

« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2012, 01:47 »
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I agree about the technical quality aspect for the micros because that is central to their marketing strategy. No doubt, in the right conditions a cellphone can meet those requirements, too, despite being limited.

However, in the wider arena, theoretical technical perfection is not always the best solution. The important thing is to have mastered technique and to be able to control it to achieve what you want, even if that involves breaking rules to create deliberately imperfect results.

I like the results S Gayle Stevens gets from deliberately using worked-out developer to develop wet plates. What started as an accident she has taken control of and made a special effect. In terms of "technical standards" these images are all failures but in terms of the desired result and saleability within their target market, they are a success:

http://sgaylestevens.com/Portfolio.cfm?nK=15082

However, they are most definitely not stock.

lisafx

« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2012, 15:04 »
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Oh, those are amazing!  Very cool effect.  Thanks for posting that link :)

From reading this and the other thread, it seems that the problem is not cellphone pics per se, but Istock's failure to enforce consistent (high) standards.  If the first cellphone pics I had seen on the micro were amazing, I probably wouldn't have had such a negative reaction to it. 

I do remember my uncle telling me in 2001, when I started shooting digital, that digital would never equal film quality, and that the publishing industry (of which we was a member) would never take digital seriously.  I definitely had the last laugh there.  I guess it's reasonable to imagine cellphone pics will one day be good enough to challenge DSLR pics.  But we aren't there yet, IMO

« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2012, 15:16 »
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...  I guess it's reasonable to imagine cellphone pics will one day be good enough to challenge DSLR pics.  But we aren't there yet, IMO

I'm wondering how the cell phone manufacturers want to "emulate" high end glass and focal lengths of 6mm or let's say 500mm ?

Even the cell phone cameras will have their limits...

« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2012, 16:59 »
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I think that the sites should make their decisions based on the image itself, not on if it was made by an inspector or member of the in crowd, not if it was made with a phone camera or dslr or medium format or anything camera. If the image works and meets the technical requirements (which in general are probably too high for microstock, but whatever they choose is what they choose as long as it is evenly applied) then it should be accepted.

Some of my best sellers are still P&S pics and low end dslr kit lens images - they just happen to be taken with appropriate settings and/or cleaned up properly in post.

I think that you could make saleable pics with really low end cameras, but it would be a lot more work than with high end gear - so that is why we use the "better" gear - so we can more easily make the image match our vision and also have it meet the low noise, proper color balance, focus, etc. the sites demand. If all the bells and whistles and shiny buttons and knobs just get in your way then you would be better off with a phone cam or a p&s.

« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2012, 17:05 »
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Why are people apparently thrilled to watch "Lord Of The Rings" on a portable device with a screen the size of a commemorative stamp?  Why do they buy music as 128K MP3s and listen on cheap earbuds? Who is buying big high-end loudspeakers these days? I don't even see them in the stores.

   Ideas of "quality" change. Even the importance of "quality" changes.

antistock

« Reply #70 on: April 12, 2012, 10:58 »
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Many criteria right now speak for going back to film, at least to a certain extent. Thats the area where millions of weekend snappers cant get in. The RM, RF, agencies would not have any choice, if many prolific stock-photographers went back to film, Fuji and Kodak, would surface yet again and be only too happy to fund just about anything.
In England, Germany and here in Sweden, many pro-photographers are beginning to re-load their MF/LF, magazines and casettes, at the moment, maybe its just for certain areas of photography but it can get serious.

Photographers are by nature very involved with their cameras, gear-freaks and I think the biggest threat to us is exactly whats being described, smallish crappy gear, mobile-phone shots and all in all, pure rubbish.
Should that ever happen, its time to get off. There is no need to steep any lower and totally belittle ourselves.

pure rubbish .. yeah .. but people seem to like it, that's THE problem, especially photo editors.

antistock

« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2012, 11:03 »
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As far as I'm concerned, the above list perfectly illustrates the point of this argument.  Cellphone cameras, like the point-and-shoots most of us started with and quickly abandoned, are just too limited.  They don't enhance your creativity, they limit it.  Severely.    

exactly.
quality apart, they're just too slow and no fun and the lens are a bad joke.
Fuji X100 is the only "pocket" camera i would consider for fun.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #72 on: April 12, 2012, 19:34 »
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Many criteria right now speak for going back to film, at least to a certain extent. Thats the area where millions of weekend snappers cant get in. The RM, RF, agencies would not have any choice, if many prolific stock-photographers went back to film, Fuji and Kodak, would surface yet again and be only too happy to fund just about anything.
In England, Germany and here in Sweden, many pro-photographers are beginning to re-load their MF/LF, magazines and casettes, at the moment, maybe its just for certain areas of photography but it can get serious.

Photographers are by nature very involved with their cameras, gear-freaks and I think the biggest threat to us is exactly whats being described, smallish crappy gear, mobile-phone shots and all in all, pure rubbish.
Should that ever happen, its time to get off. There is no need to steep any lower and totally belittle ourselves.
pure rubbish .. yeah .. but people seem to like it, that's THE problem, especially photo editors.
Why's that a problem?
It's a 'need'/want. Agencies choose whether or not to meet that need. Contributors choose whether or not to supply the agencies that choose that route.
It's a choice, not a problem. Unless you were an exclusive at a site which chose not to supply them, but you had the interest to supply these apparently in-demand images ...
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 19:38 by ShadySue »

« Reply #73 on: April 13, 2012, 18:21 »
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This whole discussion reminds me of an old joke:

"A photographer and a writer have dinner together. The writer sees the photographers newest work and says "Lovely, I really like those pictures, what camera did you take them with?". Answers the photographer: "I really liked your last book. What typewriter did you write it on?".

As long as the result is right, it should not matter what equipment was used. Does an Iphone camera limit your possibilities? Yes, certainly. But if the picture you took with it is ok, why shouldn't it be accepted?

« Reply #74 on: April 14, 2012, 00:58 »
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As long as the result is right, it should not matter what equipment was used.



I think pretty much everyone is on board with that.

I've actually got photos taken with folding cameras made in the 1930s and 40s on both iStock and SS and they sell reasonably well. In fact, of the last 20 images accepted on iStock, the only one to have any sales at all is from a folder.

I guess someone could start a thread "iStock now accepts photos for antique cameras".

I do quite a lot of retro stuff http://fotoblogzone.com/2012/04/13/six-weeks-with-film/


 

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