The Best Camera.

Having misplaced my old, yet durable, point-and-shoot, I've been relying on my iPhone for my "work" camera. One of my dSLRs is too bulky for regular use; I find that the iPhone, while not having stellar image quality, certainly gets the job done.

You know what they say… the best camera is the one that's with you.

What's amazing about the advancement of technology is that the iPhone actually has more resolution than the first "pro"-level Nikon digital SLR (The D1, with a hefty price tag of almost $5,000 and a weight to match, sported a groundbreaking 2.7 megapixels). In comparison, my iPhone 3GS has 3 megapixels—I'll concede that the sensor size is different, but without going too much into the mechanics of it, it's still pretty damned amazing. Plus, I can do some post-processing in-camera by using an app called… wait for it… "BestCamera," created by photographer Chase Jarvis' awesome team. It's only $2.99, but you can get some amazing results with it. In fact, Chase's vision has started something of a neat community of iPhone photographers, whose work you can browse here.

Plus, this Apple hardware seems to have held up pretty well kicking around the inside of my bunker coat pocket, along with some door chocks and a few random tools. (Thanks, OtterBox.)

Regardless, it's always with me at work, and I enjoy those "ohmygodIwishIhadacamerarightnow" moments. Because I do! And I revel in going through my phone's photos every few months, because I forgot about most of the ridiculous stuff that's on there.

So here ya go. As always, click to embiggen.


Burn Foundation Fundraisers: a good excuse for firemen to get together and bowl at 8am in the morning.


A poorly-built third story addition in NE… on one hell of a windy day.


An early morning fire in our first-due area, from a few tours ago.

He had just put a new helmet in service that day, and said that he wanted to burn it up a little bit…


Basketball, anyone? I think it adds a genuine Southeast touch to our firehouse.


Potomac Gardens, up in Capitol Hill. An apartment off on the 3rd floor displaced quite a few residents. The woman from the fire apartment was (quite literally) dumped in my arms by Truck 7 for medical care, as she was found in the apartment with significant airway damage from smoke and heat.

View from the courtyard; the windows that weren't smashed out were coated with a thick, greasy soot.

I was pleasantly surprised to see other locals bringing coffee and hot chocolate to the displaced elderly residents who had to sit outside in the cold for a while; it looks like people from Capitol Hill have hearts, after all!


Every firefighter in the city knows exactly what this is… but what it's doing sitting in someone's yard on Park Rd in NW, I have no idea.


  • Ray says:

    I grew up as a Nikon kid. For about a year and a half I was using a Nikon D3. Big bucks and great photos. But I needed to get around the fire scene easier than carrying this camera. I also wanted video capabilities. I looked at alot of point and shoot cameras. I tried a Pentax Optio W10. Its small, waterproof and it takes a beating. I am using the Pentax for about a year now and love it. 

    • raisingladders says:

      The D3 is an impressive machine, no doubt; but you’re right, after a while lugging it all over creation it can definitely become a burden. I’ve heard good things from Pentax, especially in regards to their waterproof-ness (is that a word?)

      As we all know, the fire service is definitely the place for testing whether or not gear can take a beating :-)

  • Rahul says:

    I wonder what the street value for a Ferno Model 40 is…

  • simdimac says:

    well i also use smartphone for shooting (satio 12MP) but the night photography is still not usefull even with xenon flash, i waiting the future when sony will put apsc sensor from nex camera inside sony ericsson – then i will be very happy.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

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"For anyone who ever wanted to grow up and become a firefighter... from someone who did just that."
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