Gray’s Anatomy – ‘Time for a (big) change?’ – By Richard Gray


My eyes have been struggling with the small iPhone screen. After a long scribble session with PS Touch or some intricate masking on Photo Wizard, I find myself slightly bleary-eyed. I think I need more real estate on my screen. And I admit, with my iphone contract coming up for renewal, I have been looking at the “larger” options. And in a world where the big corporations know everything about us, barely a day has gone by when I haven’t received some sort of overture from one of the world’s leading phone manufacturers or networks. Some of the approaches have been quite discrete. I know how these sort of negotiations go. You don’t want to give the impression of being overly keen, too early.

Apple made their move for me earlier this week, unveiling plans for their new iOS, including a new camera app. I have to admit, I was really impressed by the big event on Monday, especially the live streaming – that was a really nice touch and I do truly appreciate your efforts guys. It must have been a lot of work.

But your rivals have been wooing me too. Earlier this month HTC launched a thinly-veiled attempt to win my custom with a feature about taking photos of people doing sport. Someone had obviously tipped them off that this is one of my main areas of activity at the moment. I’m impressed guys, I’ll bear you in mind, but only 4MP? Meanwhile, Samsung really did their homework on me too, rushing out a pretty cool video. With teams of researchers on my case, they found out I like taking candids of strangers in the street. So they themed the whole ad campaign around a guy who takes unauthorised photos of people. OK, yes, I do enjoy my street photography. But I have to say they were mistaken if they thought they could appeal to my baser instincts by basing the story around a guy taking photos of an attractive woman that he fancies. Perhaps a bit too eager in this case to get my attention. I’ll let you know.

So Apple, HTC or Samsung? Remain with small screen or go for something bigger? My contract renewal date is another day nearer. And my eyes are still bleary.



Big enough screen? ©Richard Gray

Richard's mobile photography has been exhibited around the world and published in various magazines and on many websites. He launched the world's first live course in iPhone photography in early 2012 with Kensington and Chelsea College. He has given workshops with The Photographers' Gallery and British Journal of Photography. Sport England recently commissioned him to cover various of its Sportivate initiatives with the iPhone. A keen observer of this new photographic genre, his writing has been widely published (most notably in The Guardian) and he writes a blog (iphoggy-bloggy). With a big camera, he specialises in music photography ( and syndicates to Press Association (with both big and small cameras).


    • Richard Gray

      Yes, I do edit on the iPad when I’m back home, Louise. But I like to edit on the go too without carrying around my iPad. I know, we want everything!

  • Stef LP

    I can totally relate to this. Not sure why my eyes are getting worse. The aging process , a need for a new prescription , or too much time looking these screens of which are still relatively new with regards to long term effects.
    I have an android phone and editing on them is really challenging.
    The screen is super small.
    My iPad is great but awkward when it comes to shooting.
    I have a couple of months to decide which upgrade to go for.
    I am attracted to the galaxy because if its screen size. And apple for the apps.
    I really like hipstamatic and were it be available on the droid or window systems I wouldn’t hesitate to stick with droid.
    I could care less about the phone itself….just want the best match for me.
    I am thinking to nudge y husband in getting the Samsung n me an iPhone …this way..problem

    • Richard Gray

      LoL! Yes, I’m going to keep my iphone, as you say Steph, for the apps mainly – although it looks like most of the key apps are available on Android (shame Hipsta isn’t). Good luck with your (big) decision!

  • Twinkletoes

    Richard, I second what Louise suggests: do the editing on an iPad and use the phone and apps with which you are most comfortable for your photography. And keep some liquid tear eye drops handy!
    I’m losing my central vision to wet AMD [an age thing Stef!] and its not conducive to long periods at a little screen.
    I just purchased an iphone5 and while its nice to get more apps into home screen folders, and more folders on the homescreen, given my iphone4 has the same 8mg pixel camera I’m not noticing any benefit from the larger screen.
    I find the iphone4 more comfortable to use.

  • Geri

    I’m a diehard apple fan, but I do admit I do ALL editing on my iPad because I can’t handle the small screen on my iPhone!

  • Carlos

    My 2 cents!
    I used to carry around a heavy DSLR with several lens/accessories.

    Now it is just the iPad plus an inexpensive tripod. Never owned a iPhone so I don’t know what I’missing in the sense of size. The iPad is already small for me in my experience. And since I come from a background of portrait photography, I rarely do candid portraits although I have known to do them. If I meet an interesting person, I ask for permission. 99% of the time they say “yes”.
    My eyes are also tired from fidgeting with small numbers and settings I.e. the hasselblad it’s day. So I welcome the large display that comes with the iPad.
    I’m taking about 200 to 1k images per week. I app my fav’s and download the rest to my desktop.
    To summarize, the iPad real estate is wonderful!
    That is my story and I am sticking to it. 🙂

  • Andrew B. White

    Only thing with a big screen phone – its easier for other people to see what you are doing. I prefer to be a little more private and find very large screen phones are somewhat akin to holding up a rescue beacon in a life raft on the ocean.
    I agree the iPhone screen is not vey big (I use a 4S) but then again it isn’t meant to be giant. Obviously there are many more choices for screen size on phones these days and if you need a bigger screen then you can go for another (non-Apple) devices. Good luck with the photo editing apps though.
    No doubt Apple will offer some kind of larger screen iPhone (most likely iPhone 6 as the 5S is probably just the same form factor) but hopefully the will do this in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you are carrying around an IMAX in your pocket (if it fits that is).

    • Richard Gray

      I’m not too worried about people seeing what I’m doing on my phone – I do it for a living already so I’m used to showing other people ; ) But as you say, I may return to the fold if they decide to go bigger one day (iphone 7?)