Lenses - HiFi vs. LoFi

DSLR vs Camera Phone

Nikon Rig and Lumia 1520

Nikon Rig and Lumia 1520


I used to have a strict workflow for all my photography that worked very well to take lots of pictures, copy them to my computer, very quickly do a high level weeding and processing and cataloging into my storage and back up network.

Over the last couple of years however, as well all know, cell phone cameras have improved dramatically and while the handheld DSLR is still king for the wide range of options and versatility, a good cell phone camera has a well-established place in my image capture processes. I just can’t beat the versatility of having an internet connected image processing studio in my pocket that plays music and manages all my communications.

This article is not intended to determine which is better. It is just my experience in dusting off some creativity tools that have been sitting for a while and seeing what I can reboot for a new spark in my picture creating.

I have a fairly basic prosumer rig which is getting dated at this point. But good photography is not about the gear. Gear gives flexibility and options. A good photograph can be captured with any gear.


Standard Rig

Nikon D60, 55-200mm, 18-55mm … this all came as a package deal.

Good camera.

Good lenses.

The D60 is discontinued. The D5500 is probably the current item at D60 price point.

Upgraded Lens Purchase

Later I purchased a Nikkor 35mm F1.8G lens. I highly recommend this lens. Since the moment I mounted this lens to my camera body, it became the lens I use 95% of the time.

I love it.

Great depth of field and awesome in low light.

Note: This a fixed focal length lens. That means no zoom. Gotta use your feet to 'zoom' in or out.



I picked up a really bad lens.

On purpose.

I researched all the specs. They are terrible. Light leaks, inconsistent results.


Holga 60mm f/8, Manual Focus Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera.

This lens oozes character.


Pinhole created using a extra DSLR body cap. Yup, That's foil with tape over it.

Pinhole created using a extra DSLR body cap. Yup, That's foil with tape over it.

Super Lo-Fi For the experience

I created my own 'lens' that take even worse pictures.

I created my own pinhole lens.

No glass. No Focus. No aperture.

This was a fun project.

By stripping away as much from the process of photography as I could, I learned more about how it works.

It give very interesting results as well.

I'll have to write an article on how to do this, but you can look it up on your own as well.



I went to an overlook in my neighborhood and took pictures from the same outlook.

Here are the results from all the different lenses. I also took one from my camera phone.



It's been so long since I 'reached out and touched' I realize that I haven't been imagining what a certain subject would look like with this perspective.





Having used my 35mm so much over the last few years, I had forgotten how a wide lens will also show a subject differently. However, it is not as drastic a realization as the 200mm images since the camera phones are usually working with a wide field of view.




35mm Fixed Focal Length

35mm Fixed Focal Length


Forgot how much I loved the grittiness. I especially love the natural vignette this lens creates

If you're a Canon user, this lens is also available for Canon

Holga 60mm

Holga 60mm


Fun. Dreamy. I enjoyed the process of taking multiple shots and only adjusting the shutter speed to get the best exposure.

Pinhole Lens

Pinhole Lens


Camera Phone:

The Lumia 1520 is known to be one of the better camera phones. I've had a couple different Lumia phones and I agree that these cameras are great. When reviewing all these photos together, I was blown away how clear the image was.

Snohomish via Lumia 1520; 4mm

Snohomish via Lumia 1520; 4mm

The 1520 is no longer available. The Lumia 950 is the current flagship model. If you're interested.