Photographer Shoots Olympics Using iPhone, Snapseed And A Pair Of Binoculars


Yes, this was taken with an iPhone. Photo Dan Chung


The idea that you need a fancy camera and a bag of lenses to take good photos is utter crap. It’s a myth beloved of camera makers, and lapped up by amateur snappers who think that a Leica M9 or a Nikon D700 will somehow improve their tawdry, insipid holiday snaps.

Don’t agree? Here’s exhibit A: Photographer Dan Chung is covering the Olympics for the Guardian with an iPhone 4S, a pair of binoculars (used as a telephoto lens) and the iOS app Snapseed, and his photos are – too put it plainly – better than yours and mine.


This one too. Photo Dan Chung.


There’s nothing clever about Chung’s pictures: they’re made the old-fashioned way, with great framing, and great timing. The Canon binoculars get him close to the action, and Snapseed is just about the easiest and fastest app around for adding punch to iPhone photos. Me and Buster Heine both use it for our review product shots here at Cult of Mac.

Would some of these shots be easier for Chung if he used an SLR and long lenses? Sure. But would they be better? Probably not. And could he pump them up to the Guardian’s live blog as easily as look at them? No way.

Source: Guardian Sport


  • jimmy_daly

    These photos are good relative to other iPhone photos but I think most photographers would agree that gear is still vital to most high quality photography. Don’t confuse convenience with quality.

  • Ken Lynch

    Let me see if I understand your premise. You don’t need a $500 digital Canon Rebel with a $100 zoom lens to take a great photo…you need a $500 iPhone and a $200 pair of binoculars. Add this to a loose understanding of what a quality picture looks like and I think I see where you’re coming from.

  • chrisjohnston

    Ken Lynch has never bought zoom lenses for sports. At a minimum you need a camera with a fast frame rate so something like a 7D($1900US) and then a large aperture zoom like 400mm f/2.8 which is probably about ($6000US). This makes the iPhone and binocular a steal. It’s actually cheaper than a good tripod.

  • Nick Papageorge

    Chris I think it’s you who is mistaken .You seem to be under the impression that you need a million dollar car to drive to the store. You can easily use an entry level camera with a classic 400mm lens to take sports shots. There is no way that this photographer couldn’t have taken the same pictures with an older lens on a entry level body. For the $7-800 that his setup cost, you could buy a decent entry level camera that can take 12fps and an older lens that’s got a high zoom for a few hundred that would take pictures with significantly more detail than this.

    Don’t get me wrong, these pictures, for what they are, aren’t bad. But getting a basic camera setup with an EyeFi card, or a camera connection kit, would have created pictures that would blow these out of the water.

    I will agree that you have to know good pictures to get good pictures regardless what you’re using, but to say that you can’t get better with the same price is simply… Daft. Hell, just getting a super zoom P&S would cost less and done the same thing. People forget that the sensor in the 4s is great for a phone, but it’s still smaller than even a basic p&s.

    Simply Put, great pics are great pics regardless of what you’re using to take them, but the amount of detail and depth that a higher end camera can get you is significant.