Apple’s Senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller tweeted a link to a National Geographic feature in which photographer Jim Richardson used his iPhone 5s for a photo feature on Scotland in the definitive landscape photography magazine.


— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) October 8, 2013

Richardson said that the transition from his usual Nikon kit wasn’t an easy one.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling to make pictures. Walking down the Royal Mile surrounded by all things Scottish nothing seemed worth a picture. Out of desperation I took a few glib shots. Awful! Surrounded by great subjects I could see nothing. Made me feel worse.

But that using it over four days, he came to be impressed … 

With intense use (I’ve made about 4,000 pictures in the last four days) I’ve discovered that the iPhone 5S is a very capable camera. The color and exposures are amazingly good, the HDR exposure feature does a stunningly good job in touch situations, the panorama feature is nothing short of amazing—seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating. Best of all it shoots square pictures natively, a real plus for me since I wanted to shoot for Instagram posting.

In choosing the camera for the 5s, Apple made the brave decision to increase the pixel size rather than boost the megapixels. Brave because many consumers are taken in by the megapixel race, assuming that a larger number is a better camera, when the reality is that larger pixels, combined with the brighter f/2.2 lens, allow far better photos in low-light conditions. Which, as anyone who has ever visited Scotland and its famous grey clouds will know, includes the Scottish landscape much of the time.

Of course, one could see photo-feature as either demonstrating the capabilities of the camera in the iPhone 5s, or proving the old adage that it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer. Perhaps it’s fair to allow the two to share the credit. If you fancy your chances against Richardson, you’ll find our how-to guide on the camera app in iOS 7 here.