Could a phone be the perfect camera?

As my husband Esteban will attest, I am forever in search of the perfect camera.

My criteria are simple: The camera must have great optics (because your images can only be as good as the lens). It also needs a large sensor. It must be responsive, easy to use in “manual” mode, and it must be small enough to fit in my purse.

I used to carry my Canon S3 everywhere. (It sure came in handy on August 1, 2007.)

These days, I’m more likely to have my Panasonic G1. Although its kit lens doesn’t have the ultra-zoom range of the Canon, the G1 is incredibly responsive and sensitive, even in low light.

In fact, I love my G1 so much that last winter I sold my digital SLR and my Canon prime f/2.8 lens. I haven’t missed them one bit.

But I digress.

I’d love to have something more portable, but I’m unwilling to sacrifice image quality. I can’t stand chromatic aberrations and clipped highlights and the other host of problems that plague most point-and-shoots. Plus, I’ve always had this notion that to produce truly artistic images, I need a decent camera.

Today I happened across some photos that made me question that assumption.

I’m still not ready to give up my 12 megapixel camera … but suddenly I’m seeing my iPhone in a new light.

I’m off to experiment. I’ll be back soon with the results!

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