I will be honest: there are photos on my blogs that I have taken with my phone, instead of with my DSLR. Readers sometimes ask me why my smartphone photos look better than theirs. Well, here is what I know.
To start, some phones cameras are just better than others.
I often will go on a trip with my work, and wonder whether I should bring my DSLR. I have two thoughts on this: If I do see a photo opportunity, it’s easier to use my phone; and my phone was designed to be a good camera, so why not use it?
But if I am going somewhere really scenic, with the opportunity to capture wildlife photos, then I will always bring my DSLR.
So what, then, is the difference between a good phone camera and a DSLR?
I want to explain this carefully. If you had a phone camera that bragged about having a 24-megapixel sensor, and wanted to compare it with a DSLR camera that also had 24-megapixel sensor, which one would produce a sharper image, especially in enlargements? Answer: the DSLR! Why? Because the sensor in a DSLR is much, much bigger than the sensor in your best phone.
A phone sensor is small. Look at the size of your phone compared to a DSLR. Now, this is in comparison to the old film days: Eastman Kodak made Kodacolor film in all sizes, with the most popular being 110mm and 35mm film. The film is exactly the same. It has the same sharpness. But if you made an 8×10 from a 110mm negative, it wouldn’t look very good. If you used 35mm film to make 8×10, however, it was magnificent. This is simply because you are enlarging from a much bigger piece of film.
Modern technology is amazing. The question, then, is whether a phone camera can compete in sharpness with a DSLR. I think that technology will continue to make your photos sharper, year by year. But, also realize that as your phone’s sensor improves, so will the sensor in a DSLR. There will always be that gap—I think camera manufactures will make sure of it. A 30×40 print enlargement from a DSLR will look amazing, but I would never attempt to do that with a photo from a phone (unless the viewer won’t ever look at it close).
To get the best images possible, you still need a good DSLR. If you want to ever make money with your photography, then you need to look at a DSLR. If you want good photos from your phone, get a phone with a quality camera and lens for the phone. Hope that helps.
About the Author:
Lanny Cottrell has been involved in teaching photography for over 25 years. He has worked as a manager of a photo store in Utah, and now has started to do the things he loves the most, and that is to train photographers to be the best they can be. He has a blog at: 123PhotoGo and has a gallery page of black and white photos he collects every year that you can find in the menu of the website. Now with over 37,000 followers on Facebook, you can always find some great information there too.
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