Remember the Chicago newspaper that replaced its photographers with the Apple iPhone camera?

Remember the Chicago newspaper that replaced its photographers with the Apple iPhone camera?
As the curtain rose on June, we told you a fascinating little story about the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. It turns out that with ad revenue down sharply, the paper could no longer afford the 28 professional photographers on its staff. So the paper axed all 28 photographers and issued each reporter an Apple iPhone. Reporters became responsible for taking pictures for their own stories using Apple's iconic smartphone after being trained on "iPhone photography basics."

To see how this experiment was faring, a Tumblr account was set up called SunTimes/DarkTimes to show how the paper's photographs had deteriorated since the paper made the change. But perhaps there is one quick and dirty example that shows what happens when you replace years of experience using professional equipment with someone whose photography experience is posting pictures of his lunch at Arby's on Instagram.

The other day, just days after Lebron, Dwayne and Chris hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy for the second straight year, the Chicago Blackhawks lifted Lord Stanley's Cup. Take a look at the front page photograph in the next day's Chicago Tribune, which was snapped by a professional photographer using a dedicated camera. The picture is bright, full of excitement and shows why NHL players put their bodies through the punishment of a long season. It's all just to get the chance to touch the Stanley Cup. Now look at the Chicago Sun-Times. The front page picture, which was probably taken using an Apple iPhone by the reporter on the scene, is dull with no action and no excitement.

We would like to paraphrase Jurassic Park's Dr. Ian Malcolm once again. Just because you could fire 28 professional reporters with tons of experience and replace them with iPhone totin' reporters whose expertise is with the written word, doesn't mean that you should.


source: Tumblr, DaringFireball via TUAW

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30 Comments

1. FlushGordon unregistered

Even with heavy post processing, you can never improve the look of a smartphone photo....Sun Times must've received Apple money for this lame marketing stunt.

18. Potato.

Posts: 607; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

iPhone instead of 808? A BIG LOL

28. ChiX017

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Or even a Lumia 9** !

29. Mobilephile

Posts: 166; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Looks like somebody caught the Apple Ego syndrome, shame

2. FlushGordon unregistered

1st pic : Taken with a wide-angle lens, prolly used ISO 6400 to freeze motion under poor lighting OR used a strobe to offset the illuminating background (hard to tell) 2nd pic : AUTO MODE *clickity click* ....that's it LOL This is just the epic -est FAIL decision ever from a publication company

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

One word to describe Sun Times : UNPROFESSIONAL.

6. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

I think what they are trying to do is create an edgy and an "on the field", "there in the moment" look whilst reporting. It's a total fail.

19. Potato.

Posts: 607; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

iPhone instead of 808? A BIG LOL

4. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

why didnt they issue the 808 pureview for the reporters instead??

7. raunak

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 12, 2011

I don't think they even know what a 808 pureview is, but still, the main problem is that those reporters are not professional photographers and not iPhone is not good enough. But that would help, yeah.

5. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Spot the difference. So stupid to replace pro photographers (I mean really?!) with iPhone 5 wielding reporters who have 5% of the knowledge of a pro photographer. iPhone 5 does not = pro journalist/photographer!

8. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah, I figured that would be a bad move. I just didn't realize HOW bad.

9. MartianMe unregistered

IDIOTS!!!...Absolutely IDIOTS!!

10. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

If I'm not mistaken, the chicago sun-times is what people in the UK refer to as a "tabloid rag" (paper). In other words, cheap and nasty photos fit the sensational headlines.

11. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Well, if the pictures taken by iPhone - which is amongst the best camera phones out there - are so bad, every other phone-taken pictures are bad as well and one can conclude that a camera on a mobile phone is just a gimmick. But that simply is not true.

15. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

A camera on a phone is not a gimmick when taking pictures of your loved ones at the park. It becomes a gimmick when you're trying to pass it off as a professional piece of photography equipment. For example: you take pictures of a wedding with an iphone to post it on facebook but you hire a professional photographer to shoot and make your wedding album. It's just unprofessional and insulting that the Chicago Sun-Times did this and thought their readers wouldn't care or notice.

23. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Isn't that the same with humongous devices like Note, One or Z? It's OK to use them as toys but when in need of a phone - iPhone-size phones are better; when in need of a big screen - Surface or a ultrabook are better. Your argument will be valid only when Playboy will use mobile phones to make it's pictorials; until then, a NEWSpaper is all about the news.

27. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

I argued nothing about the size of the phone. Just because a phone is larger does not make the picture better. Which is why my biggest pet peeve in the world is people taking pictures with tablets when they have a phone in their pocket that takes the same quality picture. It's stupid and pointless. People like that deserve to get the tablet smacked out of their hands. But I digress.. There is a whole field of study and a profession called photo journalism. A newspaper is about the news and sometimes a picture says a thousand words. Reading about the what's going on in Syria and Egypt doesn't give it the same impact and harder to imagine without the pictures behind it. The famous picture of Tienanmen square is 10 times more powerful than any words describing it. If it really is about the news as you say I prefer having no picture than a badly taken one just for the sake of having one.

30. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I wasn't talking about the size of devices either, i made a parallel. If you want good pictures, use a SLR; if you want big screens, use a effing tablet and stop asking for sh*t devices (like Note); a phone is to be fit inside a trouser's pocket not in a backpack.

12. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Well Chicago sun times I think we have successfully demonstrated you need to fire your director as well

13. Giggity

Posts: 147; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Meeting at Sun Times Managements: What's the reception of our iPhone photography? Staffs: Not good, boss. Managements: What?!? Did you Instagram those photos? Staffs: Um.. No Managements: Well, from now on, for every photos taken with the iPhone, Instagram it !!! That gotta shut people criticism up.

14. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Those sepia and vintage filters will sure clean up the crappy quality photos!

16. HASHTAG unregistered

This definitely made me Lol. Can't believe they actually went this direction.

17. Potato.

Posts: 607; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

iPhone instead of 808? A BIG LOL

21. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

WE GET IT! 808 is still the king!

20. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

This actually makes the iPhone look bad. Technically it makes any smartphone look bad. The camera modules in our phones are only a few dollars and is no replacement for professional cameras costing thousands of dollars. Let's stop pretending that phones can replace dedicated cameras. Nokia can pound their chest all day but if you want the best camera buy a dedicated camera made for the job. Would anyone respect a professional photographer if they took pictures with a smartphone?

22. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

It's funny how many fanboys here made this into yet another iPhone vs Android, vs 920, 925, 808 flame war, when it was never about that. It was about how rediculous the idea of replacing pro phototgraphers with a phone was. The first picture is something a kid would cut out and tape to their wall, the second look like a funeral. That would have been the case no matter what phone was used... Yes, even the EOS.

24. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

The reporter with the iPhone should have used the fish-eye filter. "Everything looks cooler through a m@#$%r f!@#$%n fish-eye lens!"

25. Karriope

Posts: 148; Member since: Jun 07, 2013

I believe the real problem demonstrated here is not that a matter of equipment, but that the Sun Times' reporters dim't know how to take a good photograph. At all.

26. GeekMovement unregistered

They should have just closed the company when they realized that they couldn't afford the professiona photographers anymore.

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