DSLR V camera Phone. Which is best?

DSLR V camera phone: which is best? I take a series of landscape images in an experiment to see which produces the best results.

While driving my daughter to her gymnastics class earlier this week, I spotted a fantastic view of the North Downs. I had my camera with me, so once I’d dropped her off, I ventured back to a nearby footpath and found a good spot to take photographs of the view. Unfortunately, this led to me having one of those moments that can cause a keen photographer to feel very uneasy. Pitched against each other in a DSLR V camera phone battle, my phone took better images of the landscape than my camera.

landscape, English countryside, visit England, sunshine, DSLR photograph
This image of the North Downs was taken on my DSLR camera, but it has been heavily edited.

There are certain types of photography, such as close-up photography, where camera phones really do come into their own. I couldn’t help feeling, however, that a Canon EOS 100D camera should excel at taking photos of a landscape on a sunny evening, compared to an iPhone.

North Downs, DSLR V Camera phone, dad blog, dadbloguk, photography
The unedited photograph I took with my phone. Take a look below and compare it with how the images originally came out of my camera.

At this point, it’s only fair I issue a Geeky Detail Warning. Simply skip the following paragraph if you’re not fussed about f-stops, ISO and the kind of details a photographer finds fascinating.

Staggered at the difference between the images I was getting on my DSLR compared to my phone, I took a look at the exif data of the phone picture (f1.8, shutter speed: 1/3289 sec, ISO 29). I set my camera to the closest settings it had (f3.5, shutter speed 1/4000 ISO 100). Who was going to come out top when it was DSLR V camera phone?

Using the camera phone’s settings as a guide, I took some more photographs using my DSLR. As the image below shows, the sky came out quite well. In comparison, the land was very dark.

landscape, DSLR camera, sky, contrast, #MySundayPhoto, dadbloguk.com
Attempting to replicate the settings on my camera phone, I took this uninspiring picture

Using some tricks I recently learned, I was able to enhance the sky. When it came to the land, I decided it was a lost cause. I felt I had no option but to merge it with the photograph I have posted below.

I merged this image and the one immediately above to create the photograph at the top of this post.

Once the DSLR images had been combined and edited, I felt the results were better than the camera phone snap. While I was a little surprised at the poor quality of the straight out of camera pictures, they did hold a lot of detail that meant they could be edited with ease. I’m not sure the same can be said for the camera phone image. If you’re not massively into your photography, however, I guess this experiment shows you might be just as well using your camera phone. There’s no question; they can be trusted to produced good quality images.

It’s also left me wondering whether the time has come to invest in a better camera. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and feel a little surprised my phone has better settings than my Canon EOS 100D.

Who do you think won in the DSLR V camera phone battle? Do leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think and whether you have tried comparing the two.

For me this was a fascinating experiment. Yes, okay, I can get quite geeky about my photography but the DSLR V camera phone question is one that comes up time and again so it was worth trying this out.

On a slightly separate note, my friend Darren Coleshill, the man behind the Photalife.com blog, hosts a linky for bloggers called #MySundayPhoto. If you pay it a visit, you’ll see various bloggers showcasing images they have taken. I have added this blog post to #MySundayPhoto, which you can visit by following this link.

16 thoughts on “DSLR V camera Phone. Which is best?”

  1. And this is why I often just use my phone camera in some settings or just use my camera’s auto settings. I prefer to get shots straight out of camera, so if I’m strugging in any way, or only getting shots which will likly need a lot of editing, I’ll use auto or my phone – it saves time, and if the photo is a good one I don’t care how I’ve got it.

    1. There is an element of that yes. It is easy as a keen photogrpaher to think you need to capture everything in manual mode when, in truth, you don’t.

  2. I like the image. The difference is it shooting RAW on the camera you can draw more out of the image. Once the conditions aren’t perfect then noise creeps into phone photos.

    At the end of the day it’s about getting the photo and not what you used to capture it.

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    1. Yeah, I agree Darren. Sometimes only a camera phone will get you that image whereas a DSLR shot gives you considerably more editing potential.

  3. Its a battle a regularly have too with my camera and my phone. I like my DSLR for the level of editing I can do with photoshop/Lightroom as I shoot my DSLR in RAW whereas my phone camera is limited for editing with JPEG. Today I took my DSLR to my son’s archery competition to shoot photos as my son shot arrows. The reason I took my DSLR with me was that I knew I needed to zoom to 300mm and get decent results, zooming with my phone only produced blurry/grainy photos. Not what I wanted at all. My vote belongs with DSLR.

    1. Interesting. I might have done the reverse and taken my phone for archery so i could shoot video and grab a still shot afterwards. That said, a DSLR in burst mode would work well. Anyway, I hear what you’re saying about shooting in RAW. This is my preferred method and I always will if I can. If I can’t, out comes the phone.

  4. I skipped all the technical bits. i find my phone camera takes better scenery shots and captures the colours better. I use the DSLR for close ups on safari, of the kids and pets #mysundayphoto

    1. Very wise to skip the technical bits. They were ultra-geeky on this occasion! Not just geeky, ultra geeky. Phone cameras definitely have their place, but so do DSLR cameras. I do prefer a good DSLR shot to be honest but at times, only the phone camera will do.

  5. I love the top image, but I have neither the patience nor the know-how to edit photos. My photos are what they are. So I’m actually really pleased to read this. My DSLR stopped working last year and I haven’t made any effort to get it fixed or replace it. I do miss it sometimes, but all of my photos are on my phone at the moment. I’m getting a new one with a better camera soon, so I’m hoping for better photos then.

    1. Oh patience to edit photographs. It’s something I’ve had to learn Sarah. Those levels of patience do not come naturally! Some editing software is an unwieldy beast. Best of luck when you do get your new camera.

  6. I use a combination of phone and DSLR and both have their merits. Personally, I prefer DSLR as the quality of mine is better than on my phone. That said, some of my favourite shots have been taken with a phone.

    1. I hear you Tom as it happens! SOme of my fave shots have been taken on phones. It’s a case of capturing the moments isn’t it? With DSLR shots you’re often creating the scene or at least in a situation where you know you will be taking photographs.

    1. Oh editing on the phone. I’ve never quite mastered that. I prefer editing on PC. Basic edits, yes but beyond that I like a big screen and powerful software.

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