In a list of the cameras that have made history, you cannot miss the one that we all carry in our pockets: the iPhone. We could have included the first iPhone, from 2007, but we chose to close with the latest and most powerful model ever: iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The importance of the iPhone – and of a few other Android phones, such as Google’s Pixel or Huawei’s Mate and P – in the evolution of the photographic industry is easy to underestimate, and it is easy to fall into the temptation of dismissing these products as toys for non-professionals. However, the reality is different: smartphones have literally destroyed the market for compact cameras, where the big players like Canon and Nikon used to make their real profits.
Not only that, but they have helped to introduce and develop the concept of computational photography, i.e., a new form of digital photographic imaging that relies on software to make up for the shortcomings of hardware. The rules of optics will never allow lenses mounted on an iPhone’s tiny sensor to achieve the same effects or colours as a lens mounted on a Canon R5, which has more glass area than the smartphone’s display and weighs at least ten times as much. However, the software running on the iPhone manages to cope so well – and in total autonomy – that it has enabled us to create professional-grade photographic content with objects that, after all, were supposed for telephoning only.