When you talk of high-quality professional photography, DSLR cameras are the unanimous choice of people all over the world.

However, you have modern smartphones like the iPhone series that can capture images of similar high quality.

Does this entail that one should bid DSLR cameras goodbye? Far from it, DSLR cameras have also improved over the years with the help of advanced technology.

Therefore, the debates on whether DSLR camera is better than a smartphone camera will always keep on raging.

Let us now compare both these appliances and understand which of the two is better.

Advantages of Smartphone Camera

Accessibility

A smartphone is a handy instrument to have. Today, there are more smartphones than people in the world. It entails that most of us have more than one smartphone on our person.

Hence, nothing can match the smartphone when we consider the accessibility of the appliance. You cannot attribute this factor to the DSLR cameras.

The DSLR cameras are still the prerogative of the professional photographer.

Yes, the avid photographers in the amateur category also own DSLRs cameras today, but they are not as prevalent as the smartphones are.

Portability

If you are going on a casual picnic or even a date, would you prefer to tug along your DSLR camera or would you love to have the smartphone in your pocket?

Almost all of us would settle for the latter option. Why is it so? The reason is that the smartphones are light and portable as compared to the bulky DSLRs.

You can keep a couple of them in your shirt pockets.

On the other hand, DSLR cameras come with substantial Accessories like additional batteries, lenses, flashlights, and even tripod stands.

Secondly, you might even look out of place with all these appliances along with you. You also risk falling prey to theft when you carry along the DSLR and other devices to unknown places.

Sharing information

Sharing information with your friends and loved ones over social media is easy when you have the smartphone.

You can transmit your photos and videos taken using your smartphone cameras quickly on social media.

The modern-day DSLR Cameras also come with excellent connectivity options today like WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth that enable you to share info.

However, you also need a compatible mobile app to share your images and photos on social media. Alternatively, you have to connect with a laptop, tablet, or a PC.

The older DSLR cameras do not have this facility at all. You had to connect using cables.

Image Editing

DSLR cameras come with built-in image editing features. Some of the modern smartphones have them as well.

However, smartphones have an advantage because you can download some of the best image editing software solutions from the internet for free.

There are hundreds of such smartphone apps dedicated to photography.

Snapseed helps you to add frames whereas Instagram allows you to add different kinds of filters.

You can create slow-motion movies using apps like SloPro and remove the colour from your images with the CloudSplash FX app.

These apps can help you edit any image and make it look creative.

In the case of DSLR cameras, you have to use the in-built editing features.

Alternatively, you transfer the images to your laptop or PC and use professional photo-editing software such as Photoshop.

The Cost factor

One has to concede that high-quality smartphones like iPhone XS and others are expensive. However, a top-quality DSLR camera is much more costly than smartphones.

The DSLR cameras for beginners or amateur photographers cost in the range of Rs 25,000 to Rs 45,000.

The cost of a professional DSLR camera can even run in several lakhs of rupees.

DSLR camera lenses are also expensive. You need more than one lens when you opt for a DSLR camera.

You also have to spend a lot on providing protection to the DSLR cameras from the vagaries of the weather.

Advantages of DSLR Cameras

If you look at the benefits of smartphone cameras, you will find that smartphones are better than their DSLR counterparts.

However, you should also study the benefits of using a DSLR camera before drawing conclusions as to which of the two is better.

Picture Quality

Compare the picture quality of an image taken from a smartphone with that of a DSLR camera.

Anyone will say that the DSLR cameras deliver a higher range in comparison to smartphones. Today, you have smartphones that are capable of providing images of excellent quality such as Google Pixel 3, iPhone X and iPhone XS.

Nevertheless, the DSLR camera captures more colour range than the smartphone camera. Besides, DSLR cameras provide you with the freedom to tweak your settings to ensure excellent images.

Versatility and Functionality

DSLR cameras come with options like interchangeable lenses. Thus, users have the facility to change lenses according to their requirements.

It is not possible with smartphones because they come with built-in lenses thereby limiting their functionality.

The versatility of DSLR cameras is incomparable to that of smartphone cameras.

DSLR cameras allow you to use different lenses such as fisheye lenses having a focal length as low as 8mm to 14mm. You also can use 50mm lenses for taking portraits.

Standard lenses and long-range lenses improve the versatility of the DSLR cameras.

On the other hand, smartphones do not allow you to take portraits or additional landscape photographs with the same efficiency as that of the DSLR cameras.

DSLR cameras come with lenses having zooming capabilities whereas the smartphones do not come with such facilities.

It gives the impression that it can zoom on images whereas it is only an illusion. Smartphones can enlarge a specific portion of the image thereby reducing its clarity and sharpness.

Taking photos in low light conditions is also not possible with smartphones. The smartphones come with a flash, but they also cause a red-eye effect.

The DSLR cameras come with a  high ISO sensitivity range to enable you to take photos in near-dark conditions with great clarity.

The aperture of DSLR cameras is also flexible whereas it is not so with smartphone cameras.

Camera Basics – Aperture

However, one must concede that you can add a clip-on lens or a sensor attachment to your smartphone and compensate for the lack of the qualities listed above.

Such clip-on lenses come with a 4-in-1 lens design consisting of two macro lenses, one fisheye lens, and a wide-angle lens.

The use of such an attachment to the smartphone allows it to capture portraits, landscapes, high-quality selfie, and even crisp close-ups.

Shutter

A significant difference between the DSLR cameras and the smartphone cameras is the advantage of the DSLR’s physical shutter and optical viewfinder.

The smartphones come with an electronic shutter and display. Both these features have their benefits.

The electronic viewfinders allow you to see what the cameras see. At the same time, you can experience more picture noise at higher ISOs.

It becomes a challenge to shoot fast-moving objects with your smartphone cameras. Using external flash is also a challenging task.

The DSLR cameras come with an advantage because they have a lens with variable focal length and aperture.

It allows them to regulate the amount of light that enters the camera thereby ensuring images of better quality.

Smartphone cameras have autofocusing lenses. They can be slow at times and experience shutter lag.

Image Processor

Smartphones are versatile appliances. Besides taking photos and Selfie images, smartphones have other utilities as well.

Hence, a smartphone processor is an all-around processor that caters to various activities of a smartphone. It is not the case with a DSLR camera.

The only function of the DSLR camera is to take photographs and videos. Hence, these appliances have high-quality and dedicated processors.

For example, Canon DSLR cameras come with the DIGIC 4+ processors whereas Nikon uses the Expeed 3 or Expeed 4 processors.

These image processors deliver quality images when compared to smartphone processors.

Flash

Lighting is a critical aspect of photography. Smartphones come with LED flash whereas DSLR cameras come equipped with Xenon flash.

The LED flashlight is not as bright as the Xenon flashlights.

They cannot cover large areas thereby making smartphone cameras useless for specific photography such as wildlife photography.

Viewing angle

Smartphone cameras have a limited viewing angle because of the fixed focal length. This feature restricts the quality of photography.

On the other hand, a DSLR camera lens has a versatile viewing angle. Today, you get DSLR cameras coming with a 360-degree viewing angle.

It takes your photography skills to an entirely different plane altogether.

As discussed earlier, the smartphone camera has several limitations in the sense that it is not possible to have regular or standard lenses, medium or super telephoto lenses, or even fisheye lenses.

Therefore, it becomes challenging for specific photography modes such as street photography, portrait photography, wildlife photography, fast-action photography, and long distance photography.

Battery Life

DSLR cameras come with powerful batteries, some of them lasting for several days at a stretch. The smartphone batteries are not as powerful in comparison.

One can argue that smartphones have other utilities that consume battery power whereas the DSLR cameras have specific usage.

Storage

Smartphones come with several applications of which the smartphone camera is one. Hence, the smartphone memory has to cater to all the applications.

Therefore, it can run out of memory soon. DSLR cameras use SD cards for storage. These SD cards can store vast quantities of data.

DSLR cameras have specific usage as compared to smartphones. High-resolution images and videos occupy space. You can use SD cards with higher capacity for storing such videos.

DSLR Cameras Vs Smartphone – Which of the two cameras is better?

Now, we come to the ‘Million Dollar Question.’ If you want a straightforward answer to the question, we can say that the camera you have in your possession is the best for you.

It is because it depends on the purpose for which you use the camera.

If you are a casual photographer, more into taking Selfie images or using Instagram filters before sharing photos, a smartphone camera suits you the best.

It is the most convenient appliance to have in your pocket. Social media is always within reach.

You also have high-quality photo-editing apps available on the internet that you can download for free. Sharing images is a breeze when you use a smartphone camera.

However, if you have a deep interest in photography and like to experiment with your creative skills, the smartphone cameras fall short of expectations.

You have to resort to the quintessential DSLR cameras.

Do you ever find a wildlife enthusiast or a professional wedding photographer capture images with his/her smartphone camera?

No, you do not because professionals cannot afford to mess up with their pictures and photos.

They strive for the best quality all the time.

These arguments bring us to the end of the discussion as to which of the two cameras is the better one. We can sum up the closing statements in a single line.

A smartphone camera is akin to being a Jack of all trades and master of none. On the other hand, DSLR cameras are invaluable when it comes to specific activities like professional photography.

Sources: DigitalPhotographyschool, bhphotovideo, Makeuseof

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1

Smartphone (SP) Images are made to be viewed best on small screens. Only DSLR images can be enlarged far more before any problems can be seen. Pixelation appears as soon as you try to enlarge a SP image . In between a DSLR and a SP are the smaller digital cameras, which can take images equally as good as a DSLR and better than a SP. No serious photographer, pro or amateur, would vote for the SP. Side by side comparisons with all 3 camera types – same image, same distance, same light – will show you the difference. Try it.

2

Nice article Ankit, when i was 18 i do not own camera, so i use my Lumia 520 to capture better photos and the quality was amazing, thanks for this good post 🙂