They say the best phone to have is the one in your pocket because capturing the scene with anything is better than not at all. The last couple of generations of smartphones (iPhone, Galaxy and others) have taken the humble phone camera to new levels where these days it is a virtual replacement for your traditional pocket camera.
Since I upgraded to an iPhone 4S a year ago I've taken several thousand photos of places I've been, my kids and pretty much everything and anything because while I have a brilliant Canon 7D DSLR and several lenses, the reality is that the phone is with me 100% of the time so it is the convenient option.
The quality of the camera on my iPhone 4S is actually very good and certainly good enough for snapshots and even some creative shots using depth of field and filters in apps like Instagram.
With the release today of the iPhone 5 and more specifically, iOS6, Apple has introduced a new 'Panorama' feature which enables you to capture an entire scene by panning the phone across the scene and allowing the software to build the photo for you. According to Apple, you can capture up to 240 degrees of your scene and create a single 28 megapixel image in the process. Ideal for big landscape or city scape shots and it will also be interesting to see what it does with a more active scene like one including people given that you are effectively taking a short video that is being stitched into a single image.
While the idea is not revolutionary with similar capability being available in apps like '360', there is no doubt that having it built into the iPhones native camera app will make it that much more convenient and therefore likely to be used.
Best of all the Panorama feature isn't confined to the new iPhone 5 and will work in my iPhone 4S when the iOS6 upgrade becomes available on September 19th.
I'll be interested to see how well it works using the phone 'hand held' or whether mounting it on a tripod which can be swivelled more smoothly will help. There are a number of tripod mountable cases for the iPhone available but then if you need to use a tripod to get a great result you're moving away from the convenience factor of the phone being in your pocket and may as well get the DSLR out.
I'll be upgrading to iOS6 as soon as it's available so I'll report back with some Panorama shots and we'll see how good they are.