iPhone 11 vs $7500 DSLR camera – Can you tell the difference?
See for yourself whether an iphone is as good as a professional camera in this blind test + comparison.
It’s a fact: Cell phone cameras are getting really, REALLY good. But will the camera in your phone ever replace the big DSLR and mirrorless full frame cameras professionals shell out thousands of dollars for?
Professional photographer + filmmaker Matti Haapoja recently put this to the test with his comparison of the iPhone 11 Pro vs Canon 1DXii to see which is better, and I’ll admit – I was pretty floored at the results.
When it comes to image quality, it is becoming harder and harder to be able to spot the differences between an iphone / mobile phone and a professional camera. This is because mobile phones are getting very clever at using software to combine multiple images that create very realistic depth of field, resolution & feel to a professional camera. Watch this iphone 11 vs DSLR video comparison to see what I mean:
So should I buy a camera or use my iphone?
Trying to decide if you should buy a camera or just use your phone will depend on a few different factors. Both phone cameras vs digital cameras have different strengths and weaknesses – Lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a phone camera vs digital camera together:
iPhone vs DSLR Disadvantages
While you CAN get equal photo quality between an iphone vs dslr in optimal situations, phone cameras still have several disadvantages:
1 – Decreased Low Light Performance.
Because they’re tiny, iphone cameras have smaller image sensors. This comes with inferior low light performance to the vastly larger sensor of a full frame camera.
2 – Fewer Lens Options
While iphone cameras and other mobile phones are starting to include several cameras in their phones, they still don’t have the variety of lens selections available to a pro DSLR. While in many cases this doesn’t matter, for some types of photography like wildlife photos, long zoom lenses are an absolute essential that currently can’t be done with a mobile phone.
3 – Slower To Use (You Might Miss The Moment)
With a professional dedicated camera, you can adjust settings far more quickly. It’s a lot slower to fine tune settings on an iphone, which means for certain situations like live events you’d have a very tough time capturing moments and fast action with any consistency.
If you’re after gear that performs in any situation, with maximum flexibility and performance, these are some pretty significant reasons to stick with a dedicated DSLR / mirrorless camera vs iphone.
Iphone vs DSLR Advantages
When looking at DSLR vs smartphone cameras in 2019, there are still some big advantages to using an iphone vs professional camera that might make it the better option for many people:
1 – Similar Performance @ A Fraction Of The Price
The number one thing I take out of Matti Hapooja’s iphone 11 vs DSLR video is that for lots of situations, an iphone is now going to be just as good as a pro camera, and costs $1000 instead of $3000 to $8000 for a pro camera with lens. That’s pretty crazy. For a beginner photographer I would ABSOLUTELY recommend learning to improve their photography on their new iphone first, as the gear is not nearly as essential anymore as learning and mastering the fundamentals of photography.
2 – Portability + You ALWAYS Have Your Iphone With You
The best camera is the one you have with you – Not the one you forgot at home!
Although I own SEVERAL professional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, they often sit at home when I go out to explore with friends / head on a trip somewhere. Why? Because they’re big, heavy and expensive! I either have to carry around a massive clunky camera all day, or risk leaving it in the car and getting stolen – So often I just leave it at home.
If you’re trying to decide on a camera or iphone for travel, this can be a big factor.
A HUGE advantage of an iphone vs camera for travel and everyday life is that you always have your phone on you – Not the case with a professional camera.
3 – Far More Discreet
Whether it’s for street photography or taking photos incognito, iphones have the clear advantage. There are many places that ban professional photography – Which means if you show up with a DSLR, you’ll either be kicked out or asked to put it away. With mobile phone cameras getting so good, you can now capture those images on the low down without sacrificing quality. This is especially important for photojournalists.
4 – Simple & Less Complicated
While having less lens and camera options makes your phone camera a little less flexible, sometimes less is more. Often creativity is most inspired when you don’t have as many options, and you are FORCED to think outside of the box. Plus, having a camera that does the technical settings for you lets you focus more on the creative aspects of your photography.
5 – Constant Updates + Free Upgrades
When you buy a DSLR / Professional camera, you might get a few software tweaks here and there, but the camera you bought is pretty much what you’ve got. If you want a better camera, you’ve got to go spend another couple thousand bucks! With an iphone or mobile phone however, companies like Apple are CONSTANTLY updating their software, adding features and perfecting their devices. Plus if you happen to be on a plan that gives free upgrades, you’ll get better photos and a better camera without having to spend the money to replace your professional DSLR.
6 – Mobile Photography Is A Growing Industry (With Higher R&D $$)
Almost everybody I know has a cell phone. Only a few people I know have a DSLR. The larger customer base for mobile phones means these companies have higher budgets to invest into better software, lenses, sensors and photography apps. The end result is that mobile phone cameras are improving exponentially faster than traditional DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
7 – Waterproof
One of the key differences between iphones and DSLRs is that iphones are now WATERPROOF. This is amazing and lets you take photos in the rain, snow and yes, underwater without having to fear for your gear.
While my professional cameras are weather sealed for use in the rain, I still have to be very careful with caring for them during and after use in weather. And I DEFINITELY can’t take my camera underwater without a special (And expensive) underwater camera housing.
8 – Applecare / Device Replacement
While its not cheap, applecare & mobile phone replacement policies offer incredible replacement programs compared to professional cameras.
So there you have it – The ins and outs of iphones and mobile phones vs DSLRs. Obviously there are still some disadvantages to using an iphone for photography – But there is a growing (and possibly larger) list of advantages for using an iphone as a photographer vs a traditional camera or DSLR.
As a professional photographer, I still can’t do my job with an iphone. The performance, consistency and workflow is just not quite there. BUT for personal work, travel photography, and my own adventures, I find myself leaving my DSLR at home more and more often in favor of my phone. For the majority of people who just use cameras to capture important moments and aren’t super serious about photography, I’d have to say upgrading your iphone is probably more worthwhile for you than a professional camera.
The best camera is the camera you have with you.
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