The great irony in today’s photography is the ignorance of most, especially young, photographers. The iPhone has around 7 stops of dynamic range at base ISO; the full-frame Nikon D850 (for example) has 12 stops. Because we generally don’t view images above 6 stops the iPhone looks fine — more than fine — when it has enough light to fully saturate the sensor. It NEVER has enough light indoors, or during very cloudy days, etc.
Whether chemicals are on cellulose acetate (film) or silicon (digital) the physics have remained the same — the less photons you can catch the more noise you will experience. No amount of digital processing can find the effect of a photon that wasn’t captured.
Putting size and weight aside, all things equal, show me any person who would prefer a clean image from the iPhone, indoors, over a larger sensor camera a few stops away from base ISO (the ISO at which the sensor has maximum light capturing ability).
You’re right in that there is a rapid revolution of digital processing. But in full saturated and sharp imaging, nothing has changed in 200 years! A 200 year old camera will still produce images the iPhone cannot match and probably never will. Do people want those images? Not many. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that IF you want that look, you need a large sensor or large piece of film.
Which camera you use doesn’t matter: Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc. If you want as little noise in your images as possible, than the sensor/lens combination matters. It doesn’t matter a lot. It matters everything and again, has, for hundreds of years.
UPDATE: The author of the original story made a long response which he deleted. Hopefully, he’s off to write an article that covers the subject of low-noise photography. Hopefully I’ve inspired him with my little slight to the “young” ;) Do cameras makes a different in the quality of the photography as art? No. Does a person with a D810 take better photos than the person with an iPhone? No. The question is, can the cameras take images that the others can’t and does the difference allow for a type of expression the photographer couldn’t make with that particular piece of equipment?
Does “The Rapid Evolution of Photography” hide, run-over, or obscure the work of some photographers who don’t use that technology? Just recently Apple was lambasted for making skin smoothing in portraits a feature (programming) that couldn’t be turned off in the phone. What does THAT say, philosophically, culturally, etc ?
Finally, I enjoyed the article which was very good. I subscribed and look forward to more from the author!