Ok, this may be a weird post coming from a professional photographer. This is more of a hypothetical situation. If I was NOT a professional photographer, I would never buy a dSLR camera. I recently upgraded to an iphone 6s and the 12 megapixel camera in it is incredible. The images that come out of that phone are amazing and it’s small, compact, and already in my pocket anyway.
Just for giggles, I took a shot of a waterfall using my pro gear, and then another with my iphone 6s to do an SLR vs. iphone camera comparison. Here are the results. With my SLR camera I was able to shoot the photo on a tripod with a slow shutter speed to get the water to blur into a milky effect. I could have done the same on my iphone if I had a tripod clamp but I don’t have that.
SLR top / Iphone 6s bottom:
When you look at the two photos, for the vast majority of the people, the image on the bottom shot with the iphone would be more than sufficient. Here’s the crazy part, I blew the image up to a 16×24 print and it looked fantastic! When I was really close (6″), I could tell that it was a little pixelated, but from normal viewing distance, it looked perfect.
When zooming WAY into the image. The SLR photo was definitely much sharper and higher quality. It should be since it has double the resolution.
SLR top / Iphone 6s bottom:
The thing is, unless you blow the image up REALLY large, you would never actually notice this difference. Most images never even get printed, they just get posted to social media. If they do get printed, 98% of prints made (I made that number up) are probably 8×10 or smaller.
Again, I blew this image up to 16×24 and it still looked awesome!
So, a few things that currently you can’t do with your smart phone:
1) Zooming in; if you want to zoom in, you would need some external lens attachments for your phone which you can buy but if you’re a guy who does NOT carry a purse, you probably won’t bring those around with you and they typically don’t play well when you have a phone case on anyway.
2) Motion effects; although it’s possible to do slow shutter speeds and different image effects on a phone, I still find those things to be much simpler to control on my SLR. To properly utilize these features, you really need to know and understand your camera.
3) Phone cameras are still pretty terrible in low light compared to a nice dSLR.
On my latest trip, I never would have been able to take the northern lights photos with my phone.
But here’s the kicker; I’m a professional photographer and know how to use my gear. Even if you owned super high end gear, unless you know how to use it and what settings to use in different situations, you would never be able to take great photos with an SLR anyway. Most people that have an SLR still use it on automatic anyway in which case it renders it mostly pointless.
A few things that I can do with my iphone 6s that I cannot do on my dSLR:
1) I love being able to shoot and immediately edit my pictures. There is a free app called SnapSeed which is amazing for editing pics on a smartphone. It’s so fast because there is no downloading and using expensive editing software needed. Just shoot, then edit immediately.
2) I love being able to post/share photos via social media immediately as well. No more waiting until I get back to a computer.
3) The ease and simplicity of being able to create panoramas and timelapse videos is amazing! These are so much more time consuming and complicated with a full size camera.
As I mentioned, I ONLY lug my dSLR and lenses around because I want the best of the best in image quality and will frequently print photos at very large sizes. If I was not doing this, I would be totally content to just carry around my iphone 6s and call it a day.