Most professional photographers will own a Canon or Nikon DSLR but will tell you that the best camera is the camera you have on you. This statement becomes especially true when applied to the smartphone. Smartphone cameras have evolved to almost unrecognizable levels. Some feature dual lenses, optical zoom, and top-quality optics, all in a package that easily fits into your pocket.
If you always have your smartphone in your pocket, you will always have a camera handy. A smartphone, especially the latest flagships deliver spectacular results, so much so that many a professional camera has been retired to the cupboard. So why would anyone bother with a heavy DSLR if a smartphone can do an equal or better job?
A DSLR or digital single lens reflex camera, has been a popular option for budding photographers coming from their smartphone and looking for more control over their images. A major advantage over a DLSR is the ability to quickly manipulate aperture, shutter speed and more. This control of light separates serious photographers from the casual happy snapper.
A DSLR user experience is designed with these controls in mind, meaning on the fly adjustments are easy and smooth, something that cannot be said about a smartphone camera. Being in control of these settings offers fundamental lessons into the art of photography, as a learning tool a DLSR is invaluable to a photographer.
Interchangeable lenses are a must for the serious photographer. Smartphones have a fixed focal length and maybe even a tiny bit of zoom. A DSLR can alternate between focal lengths by simply changing lenses. The same DSLR that was used for weddings can be used for sporting matches if you have the appropriate lenses.
The lenses that fit on your DSLR are magnitudes “brighter” than the puny lens found on your iPhone. The quality of lens usually coincides with the depth of your pockets, but even the ‘enthusiast’ range of DLSR lenses are crisp and well built. Some lenses are even optically stabilized, meaning shots in low light, or fast action shots will be clear.
The sensor size
The smallest, cheapest DSLR with have a sensor size far greater than that of a smartphone. The sensor acts as a strip of film and is one of the main factors that influence image quality. The bigger the sensor the more “sensitive” it can be. A small sensor usually produces grainier images than that of a large sensor.
Large sensor size is invaluable if you wish to make large scale prints of your images. Most DSLRs will have no problems taking a poster ready image straight out of the box with the basic included lens.
Whilst modern smartphones have clever software to optimize a photo, DSLRs will take an honest and unedited picture. This can cause disappointment for someone who has just made the leap to a DSLR from their smartphone. Whilst the picture taken from the iPhone is social media ready, sometimes an image from a DSLR will require some finessing to bring out the superior quality.
This may sound like a drawback but it is quite the opposite! DSLRs can shoot in a file called RAW. RAW files retain vast amounts of color information, meaning you can edit a photo to your heart’s content and not worry about degrading picture quality after successive edits. Working with RAW files is the supreme way to take control of your images and get the best results possible.
Whilst smartphones have revolutionized the way we take and share images, the versatility and power of DSLRs are still unmatched. If you are ready to take your skills to the next level a DSLR will serve you very well indeed.