iPhone/Smartphone vs. DSLR Camera - which is better?

February 25, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

iPhones and other Smartphones vs. DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras – which is better for you?

In this article I’m going to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each type of camera and then apply that information to help determine the best camera to meet your needs. But before I get started, I’d like to point out that all the information I’m about to share with you, are my opinions, which may differ from yours, or the opinions of others.

My name is Ron Bowman and I’m a professional landscape photographer. Since the late 1960’s I’ve worked in photographic retail, wedding photography, real estate photography and landscape photography.  In addition, I founded a photography club in Florida, have taught digital photography classes and currently sell my landscape photos through several League of NH Craftsmen galleries. I have owned and operated virtually every type of camera (film & digital), including: Polaroids, 35 mm rangefinders, 35mm SLRs, medium format cameras, a 4x5 view camera, DSLR cameras and several iPhone cameras.  Now that I’ve established my background, let’s get started.

iPhone and Smart phone advantages:

  • You may already own one which eliminates the need for another investment
  • Smart phones are more compact than DSLR’s
  • These cameras produce great images in low light conditions without having to make adjustments, which are required with DSLR’s
  • The cameras in smartphones are constantly improving and produce high quality images
  • Many of the higher end models include several different lenses (wide angle, super wide angle and zoom lens)
  • Many of the higher end models include features that allow for changing ISO, shutter speed, lighting etc.
  • Smartphones make it easier to upload photos to social media than digital cameras
  • They allow you to store thousands of photos, which you can easily share with others

iPhone and Smart phone disadvantages vs. DSLR cameras

  • Camera sensors are smaller which make it harder to produce high quality images when enlarging them beyond 11x14. Many DSLR camera can produce quality enlargements up to 24x36 or larger.
  • If you don’t currently own a high-end smartphone, then it’s going to cost you $1,000+. You can purchase a high quality DSLR for as little as $500.00
  • Phone cameras still don’t offer as many adjustments as DSLR’s, which can be important for certain types of photos
  • Phone cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses like DSLR’s
  • The zoom lenses on high-end smartphones typically don’t extend beyond 77mm, but for some types of photos like wildlife, sports etc., you will need a 300mm+ lens
  • Phone cameras don’t provide for changing the aperture, which many photographers like to control when creating specific images and effects
  • Most serious amateurs or professionals use a DSLR for work they intend to sell


DSLR advantages compared to high-end iPhones and other Smartphones

  • Due to both the optics and larger image sensors, these cameras allow you to enlarge photos to 24x36 or larger without the loss of quality
  • DSLR’s provide for interchangeable lenses which can be used for close up photography, wildlife photography, sports etc.
  • DSLR’s offer many more adjustments than smartphones to help control aperture, ISO, white balance, image quality, etc
  • If you are a serious amateur, or a professional looking to sell your work, you will want and need a DSLR to compete with other photographers

DSLR disadvantages vs. smartphones

  • Cameras are much bulkier and heavier making is more difficult to carry around, especially when traveling
  • Cameras, due to size, often require a camera bag to lug around
  • It takes longer to compose and shoot a scene than a smartphone
  • They are not as convenient to upload images to social media
  • They are not as convenient to store photos and then share with others
  • They take longer to learn how to use than smartphone cameras
  • They require an investment of $500.00 or several thousand dollars, vs a smartphone which you probably already own

So, which is the best camera for you?  It all depends on what type of photos that you are wanting to take?  If you are a serious amateur or professional, looking to enlarge photos beyond 11x14 and you want to sell your work, then you will need a DSLR camera. If you want to take photos of wildlife, or sports, you will need a DSLR camera. On the other hand, if you’re just wanting good quality photos to share with family, friends, and to post on social media, all you need is a good smartphone.

If you still have questions, please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you. Contact info: [email protected]







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