Can a Smartphone Replace a dSLR?

dSLR Vs Smartphone

Over the last few years the on board camera’s on smartphones have come on leaps and bounds, so much so that there is now smartphones with a 41MP sensor. If you look on most photography forums on the web you will see conversations (or even arguments) about the relevance of the smartphone camera to a photographer. Can a smartphone camera ever really replace a full dSLR (or even an SLR)?

To really answer the question you have to consider the merits of both products. While the smartphone camera sensors are increasing the number Mega Pixels, MP isn’t only thing of importance when looking at the camera, or the sensor. The quality and size of the sensor also play a role the image that can be captured as well as the standard of the glass (lens) in front of the sensor. Obviously an SLR also has the advantage that you can change the lens attached to it, either getting a wider angle or zooming in for a more up close view. While there are lens kits you can purchase that clip on to the camera of your smartphone they are never going to live up to the quality of the interchangeable lenses on a SLR.

Until recently if you wanted to have full control over the exposure settings of your image you really needed an SLR in Manual Mode, but recently there have been a number of applications released that have given a smartphone photographer much more control over the setting for each shot, in fact the recently released LG G4 natively gives control over exposure, ISO and aperture settings.

Given the points above it almost seems like there is no question that a smartphone could replace a SLR as by default the SLR can achieve them all with out a workaround (i.e. clip on lenses). But where the smartphone photographer really has the advantage is the versatility that the numerous applications give to the smartphone. Using a smartphone and a combination of applications I can take a photograph, edit it and then post it to a number of online platforms with in a matter of minutes (shot with thenative camera app, edit in snapseed and then post to Facebook, Instagram and blog).

Up Hill and Down Dale (iPhone)

Up Hill and Down Dale taken and processed on the iPhone (snapseed and instagram)


Up Hill and Down Dale taken on my Canon EOS 60D

Up Hill and Down Dale taken on my Canon EOS 60D and processed in Photoshop


The two images above where taken at the same date and time, one with my iPhone and one with my Canon 6oD. Personally I like both images but for different reasons. On the whole I am happy to shot images with either my phone or my dSLR. I don’t really believe in the question is valid, why should you replace your SLR with a smartphone? Why can’t there be a place for both in the world? I don’t always carry my SLR with me but I always have my smartphone. Surely the best camera to use is the camera you have access to at the time. I love to shot with my SLR, but I can’t just carry it everywhere with me, but with my smartphone have a reasonably capable camera that I can carry with me no matter why I go. A camera that I know has a reasonably good capability and when ever I see a shot that I like I can take out my phone. That way I never have to miss a shot.


That’s my take on things, but if you feel differently I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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