From Instagram to exhibit walls

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From Instagram to exhibit walls

SMARTPHONE CAMERAS nowadays are better than ever. In fact, Samsung Electronics says, they’re so good, they’ve practically rendered standard point-and-shoot cameras obsolete. But, can a phone replace a professional single-lens reflex (SLR) camera?

From Instagram to exhibit walls
Samsung/BJ Pascual

Samsung decided to put its Galaxy S7 Edge to that test, with the hope users will learn to see beyond megapixel count to judge image quality.

“Basically, people think the higher the megapixel count, the better the quality,” Samsung said in a recent press release. “It does not take into consideration the other factors that make for great cameras such as aperture, shutter speed, and fast auto-focus, just to name a few.”

Samsung commissioned two professional fashion photographers, BJ Pascual and Mark Nicdao, to photograph models Georgina Wilson-Burnand and Solenn Heussaff with just the Galaxy S7 Edge. Mr. Pascual shot Ms. Wilson-Burnand in low light while Mr. Nicdao photographed Ms. Heussaff underwater.

“I was both hesitant and thrilled when I was first offered the project,” Mr. Nicdao was quoted saying in the press release. “First, I haven’t done an underwater shoot, and second, I’ve never done a fashion shoot with just a smartphone. Combining both was a real challenge.”

Ms. Heussaff, for her part, is no stranger to underwater shoots or to Samsung, but she also had her doubts. “With just a smartphone? I honestly thought people would just take behind-the-scenes [shots] with it; I did not expect the [phone] to be used as the main camera… because you’d always need the specs to be really high for these things,” she was quoted saying.

Mr. Pascual shared his own misgivings: “I was really skeptical at first because I’ve never done a professional shoot before with just a smartphone. [Also,] the setup had to be dark, and photos can get really grainy.”

But when both photographers and models saw the shots they took with the Galaxy S7 Edge, “all the initial hesitation they felt quickly dissipated,” Samsung said in its press release.

“I think it’s about time that we take smartphone cameras seriously,” Mr. Pascual was quoted saying.

Last Friday, May 13, Samsung put the resulting photos in a photo exhibit called “Dark Blue”, at the Green Sun in Makati. The collection “Own the Night” featured Mr. Pascual’s photos of Ms. Wilson-Burnand, while “Into the Blue” was composed of Mr. Nicdao’s shots of Ms. Heussaff.

“It’s a different process since it was faster and simpler. But… I think it gives skeptics… a chance to see that Samsung knows what they’re talking about,” Ms. Wilson-Burnand was quoted saying.

Mr. Nicdao, said to be impressed by the phone, was quoted saying: “There’s this unprecedented shift that’s happening in photography… driven by more people having access to the tools that allow them to find their voice. If smartphone brands, such as Samsung, are able to help them find their passion and tap into their talent, it’s at least worth putting their claim to the test.”

Chad Sotelo, Samsung Electronics Philippines Corp. corporate marketing head, expressed a similar thought.

“Quality is important, but so is enthusiasm to explore new things. This was certainly a daring move and a new experience for us, but it just highlights how technology can really be a game changer. Capturing a great picture using a smartphone is no less rewarding than if you had taken it using a DSLR (digital SLR),” he was quoted saying.