Smartphones better then DSLR?

Somebody told me recently that smartphones cameras are a good substitute to DSLRs when it comes to low light photography and even for video nowadays. Naturally, I took that comment with a pinch of salt. But it got me thinking and wondered if the technological gap had really narrowed?
So I decided to bring a DSLR and my iPhone X out on a few instances to perform a test and perhaps compare some results.


The Hardware and Software

For the iPhone, I used the Camera+ app to manually set the shutter speed, ISO, and WB. While for the DSLR, I will be using a D600 and a 24mm PCE lens. I know, I know, it is’nt a fair comparison in terms of hardware but hey, that is all I’ve got. Both the phone and DSLR were mounted on a tripod for the shot. Both cameras shot in the RAW. 


The Results

From the thumbnail previews above, it will be hard pressed to spot the differences in quality as both look rather good. So on platforms like Instagram, it will do quite well. I will safely say that the iPhone will likely be more then good enough.

But upon viewing the larger image, it is very evident that the iPhone quality for low light images is still lacking compared to a DSLR. The noise and the colour rendition shows stark differences. Anyhow, all these were somewhat expected but the truth is, the gap is narrowing. Smart use of software technology with limited photographic hardware on the iPhoneX have made the phone camera a truly go-to camera for most situations. 

Oh, I forgot to state that the left is taken by the iPhone X while the image on the right was taken with the DSLR. I have resized the D600 image to match that of the iPhone. The image from the iPhoneX was ISO200 while on the D600 was iso64 due to hardware limitation on the phone. You could click on the images to compare.


Smartphone videography

Most current smartphones from the IOS or Android camps are able to dish out 4k recordings, 240fps slow motion in 1080p, timelapse and even hyperlapse. These functions have already been on the phones since a few years back but the quality was slightly lacking. But recent improvements propelled the smartphones to be a worthy traveller’s videocam. Many v-loggers, bloggers, youtubers are already adopting smartphones as their main go-to cameras. Filming tools like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal or even Rhino ROV Pro sliders are great add-ons to improve the video footage. The combo could deliver smooth video footage and even creates stunning timelapse, hyperlapse and even motion-lapses. 

Video using the DJI OSMO Mobile 2 gimbal

Video using the Rhino ROV Pro slider



The current smartphones are great to use for social media and is’nt it all that matters now. Unless you are into printing large 5 x 5 meters posters or shooting 4k/8k/16k films for a cinema quality broadcast. Also, the portability of the smartphone is never in doubt the better of the two.
The smartphone cameras are closing the gap on the DSLRs in terms of image quality. The current hardware limitation will be taken out perhaps in the very near future.

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