In this modern world of cameras, sometimes the best one is your iPhone. By Michael Fratino

In this modern world of cameras, sometimes the best one is your iPhone.

By Michael Fratino

Hi Steve, thanks again for your site. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly the last several years and look forward to your continued reviews, stories and posts.

I am currently freelancing as a creative director for a company involved with boxing. Please note that I am NOT a sports photographer, nor a boxing enthusiast. My gear is nothing more than an original Fuji X100. Steve was kind enough to post my original review years ago: Also, I am not a gear fanatic and believe the best camera is the one you have at the moment. For me, the camera is nothing more than a tool. Pick the best tool for the job.




With literally no notice, I was tasked with documenting the Friday night fights in downtown Los Angeles from an editorial perspective for upload to the company’s social media site. I was told or at least believed, I would have time to take some shots, edit them and submit days later. I was so wrong about that!

I was given an all access pass to shoot at will. This included the locker room and ringside. My equipment was my trusty X100 and a newly loaned (that day) Sony A7 with an older manual Nikon 55mm 2.8 lens attached (stellar combination)! BTW, I had no idea how to work the A7. I learned on the fly.




Upon arrival, my very young social media counterpart informed me that I was to shoot as fast as I could and transfer the photos to her immediately with airdrop for post! I thought to myself… What happened to having time to compose, shoot, edit and then post? No dice! Hurry up!

With 7 fights, and very limited time between boxers, everything was done at lighting pace. I tried my trusty X100 but the poor lighting and the uber fast movement of the boxers proved disappointing. I tried the A7 and absolutely loved it but again, not enough to time to edit and transfer shots on the fly. So I pulled out my iPhone 6. (and all images in the post were shot with the iPhone)



I shot the images without flash in “noir” mode, cropped and then transferred to our social media expert for upload. Fast, fast, fast! Then I was off to the next fighter. Please note… The shots are not perfect! They are not super sharp either! I had to work with what I had at the moment… That’s it. Ultimately, I was impressed with the results and the best part… So was the client!

Michael Fratino


  1. Great shots. They show that there is a balance between: 1) the talent of photographer, 2) the moment to be captured, and 3) the equipment. You illustrate that the first two are often more important than the third. That noted, I think the iPhone is a tool for this situation.

  2. The pictures are proof that it’s the photographer and not the camera that makes a great photo. Sure a Leica SL would have taken a nicer looking picture, but the photographer is the most important part of the equation.

  3. If you know your craft, you can shoot with almost anything and even make use of some of the limitations. And as proofed, though doubted by many, contemporary smartphones are fantastic tools (though your 6Plus is already a bit aged *g*), and precisely for this kind of workflow, there is hardly a better tool than a smartphone!

    May I ask: did you use the native camera app or something like eg ProCamera?

    The pics are very dynamic, btw. Love them, thx for sharing! ,-)

    • Hello and thanks for your comment. I used the basic Apple iPhone app. No 3rd party app was used.



  4. That is exactly what I’m thinking sometimes. I recently sold my Canon stuff, went to the Sony RX Line (RX10 and RX100) and have sold every camera right now. Until I’ve found a new camera I am using my iPhone 6s plus, which captures very good and stabilized 4k video from which I can extract 8 megapixel photos. Nicely captured moments, Michael! Greetings from Germany, Markus

  5. Michael, your compositions are excellent. You obviously have talent. Which is why these iphone pics work. But, just imagine if you used a decent camera with your skill set.
    These images are rough looking on my monitor at their sizes of about 4 by 6 inches. I could only imagine how they would have looked if you used a Nikon D750, Sony A7S or 6300, Canon 80D, Leica Monochrom, heck, a Nikon F2 with 50 1.2 AIS and Ilford Delta 3200..

    Your compositions rock. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the photographer that makes for an interesting image, not the camera. But this to me just shows the limitations of a smart phone in the hands of a skilled photographer. They are great if you don’t have anything else with you.


  6. Samsung I find personally has a stronger camera. I often have had iPhone users comment on it. The new S7 has just implemented an even stronger higher ISO capability.

    I agree with you Michael they ard getting better anc better.

  7. If the x100 didn’t have enough light then how does the much smaller sensor on the iPhone have enough? Something isn’t adding up.

  8. I agree : your shots are superb, especially the # 5 wonderfully humane, and you prove, once more, that the quality of the pic depends more on the photographer than on the camera. Although a passionate Leicaist, I had many times to use my iPhone (and a big advantage was that people think I was just reading my mail…). Again, congratulations.

  9. The iPhone is an amazing small format camera.
    It is ideal because it takes care of the key problems of focus and exposure and its fast to shoot with.
    The ability to instantly transfer the photos to a computer is brilliant.
    Your photos are great and they are entirely about the subject and not the equipment.

  10. Fantastic, lovely images. Just goes to show when documenting around you just use what you have on you. I have a 5DmkIII and fuji x100t yet still turn to my iphone more than i imagined. Yeah the IQ isnt as good but sometimes its the shot and story that matter more. Much of the old documentary stuff of the 60’s is not sharp or bang on focus, it doesnt stop them from telling wonderful stories.

  11. Really strong photos, and I agree with you about the iPhone. You simply don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on gear to get great shots, and “sharpness”/megapixels are way overrated in terms of their importance for many shots. I’ve never tried the noir setting, but now I intend to!

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