Who Needs a Camera When I Have a Smartphone?

Is it worth having a camera when you already have a pretty good one on your phone?

Over the years we’ve seen our smartphones grow up in many ways.   Let’s take the iPhone for example. This technologically advanced pop culture icon, has already aged to double digits with it’s famous or dare I say infamous iPhone X.

Screen sizes, features, and price tags have all gotten bigger, faster, slicker, cooler… wee… such excitement! One of the biggest advancements is the touted camera with Portrait mode.

iphone evolution

So, How Does An iPhone Stack Up To a DSLR?

Like most things, there is a time and a place… and although in certain situations an iPhone camera is a powerful tool, there are times when the iPhone's portrait mode just can’t keep up.

When comparing an iPhone X with portrait mode to a digital or DSLR camera like Canon’s PowerShot SX530 or EOS Rebel T6i , the iPhone X produces pleasing portraits in optimal conditions.  However, where it can't keep up with the DSLR is in low light.

In extremely low light the iPhone can't even activate portrait mode whereas the DSLR is able to take shots regardless of lighting situations.  As light levels drop so does your iphone's image quality.

What else?

There are, of course, other aspects of traditional larger sensor cameras that phones can't currently replace.

The iPhone will struggle to focus on moving subjects and while pleasing when viewed at the image level, things start getting mushy and frustrating at 100%.

Stay Focused!

blurry iphone blur

 When trying to dive into and get up close to the action - no matter what telephoto lens you attach to your phone, it will produce blurrier photos and more jittery video footage than any DSLR. That's because telephoto lenses are highly susceptible to handshake and vibration. It's also because smartphones lack the powerful optical and mechanical image-stabilization systems built into DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and the interchangeable lenses you use with those systems.  

Looks can be deceiving...

If you're posting on social media or viewing on a phone screen, your iPhone X shot may look pretty close to what you would get on a DSLR, especially if you're viewing photos at a reduced magnification.  But you don’t have to look too closely to be able to see where the processing on camera phones still needs to improve.


Think your smartphone has an advantage over a camera when it comes to taking the now ubiquitous selfie? Think again. There are a number of quality cameras with reversible screens ideal for selfies with much higher photo quality.

There may come a time, but not yet.

There may yet come a time when, finally, you don't absolutely need a bigger sensor for better results. And it's not necessarily a matter of 'if,' but a matter of 'when.'  But until then, there’s a time and a place… and depending on what, when, and how you’re trying to capture your experiences your results will greatly be affected by the tools of your trade.

Ready For The Next Level?

Check out the Nikon D3400. You don't have to throw away your smartphone though. With Nikon's Snapbridge technology, you can now sync your camera and phone together with all of your other devices. Click to check it out.

Nikon D3400


Josh G.

Josh G.

This makes a lot of sense and there def seems to be pros and cons to each. Thanks!!



HA! Try putting an iPhone X in your pocket! IT’s also too big. The article is right Paul. You can’t compare the quality.



I disagree. And try putting one of those big cameras in your pocket!

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