Jim Richardson, a longtime National Geographic photographer, did something nearly unthinkable on a recent trek through the Scottish highlands. He left behind the DSLR camera that he both prefers and has made his name with in lieu of the 8 megapixel camera included with the iPhone 5S eliciting a somewhat surprising result, “a very capable camera.”

Jim Richardson National Geographic Apple iphone 5

National Geographic photographer amazed by camera

It should be immediately mentioned that Richardson is a longtime user of the iPhone, and had he been a user of Nokia phones, he would have undoubtedly been amazed by the 40-megapixel camera now shipping with the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Richardson used his phone to capture over 4,000 photos as he made his way north to the highlands and islands of Scotland and shared a number of his images on National Geographic’s Proof photography blog. These photos were “discovered” by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) marketing chief Phil Schiller, who termed it “iPhoneography,” and quickly used Twitter to share the results.

“Cameras all have personalities. Or perhaps they have visual signatures. To some extent they always lead us around by the nose. Little by little we come around to taking the pictures the camera can do well,” Richardson wrote on his blog.

“What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good.”

Jim Richardson impressed with iPhone 5s

Richardson was especially impressed with the iPhone’s color and exposure, labeling it “amazingly good” and that the HDR exposure feature did “a stunningly good job.” He was also taken aback by iOS’s native square photo capture that made a great time-saver when using Instagram.

His largest praise went to the camera’s panoramic potentia, writing that the feature is “nothing short of amazing—seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating.”

Richardson is not unbiased nor is it the first time that he has been seen speaking about the iPhone’s capabilities. He can currently be seen discussing Aperture’s geo-tagging functionality in an episode of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s “Aperture in action” video series.

Richardson joins Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer in his praise of the iPhone’s camera. Burberry used the handset to shoot its London Fashion Week (spring/summer) how in September. Following the show, he told Pocket Lint that the camera was “remarkable.”