iPhone vs DSLR Camera | Which One Works for Beginners?

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iPhone vs DSLR Camera

Over the past couple of years, it’s no secret that Apple has devoted an ever-rising budget to R&D to improve the camera tech in the iPhone.

A couple of years back, Apple revealed that it had over 800 engineers whose sole task was working to improve the iPhone camera.

While not all upgrades result in a massive jump in camera performance, the 2019 camera hardware upgrade is arguably the biggest forward leap we have seen from Apple in years.

Night mode alone is effectively magic, and it delivers crisper and higher quality stills in low light conditions compared to what you get from Google Pixel, Huawei, and Samsung flagships.

However, in this review, we are not going to compare the iPhone to its Android counterparts.

Instead, we’re here to see how the cameras on the iPhone compared to a top-of-the-line DSLR such as the Canon 1DX Mark II.

If anything, the fact that this is a worthy comparison shows you how far Apple has enhanced the quality of cameras on the iPhone.

But to be clear, the iPhone won’t outmatch the 1DX Mark II, but it will go toe to toe with some remarkable and impressive photos.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using an iPhone for Photography

iPhone vs DSLR Camera

iPhone vs DSLR Camera



A lot of people already have iPhones. Advancements to its cameras over the past decade have made it a powerful and relatively affordable video tool.

In fact, the iPhone gives amateur filmmakers and photographers a chance to break into these professions.

Image Quality

You get sharp and high-quality stills and video thanks to 4K resolution on the iPhone (7 or later). In addition, the iPhone offers the versatility of 24, 30, or 60 fps, depending on the kind of footage you’re shooting.


When filming, the lens needs to move in different angles; with a large camera such as a DSLR, fluid movement can be a bit difficult.

However, the compact and lightweight design of the iPhone eliminates these challenges when taking both stills and video.

In addition, you can take the iPhone anywhere because it can fit in virtually any pocket.


Inferior Zoom

Newer iPhones have more camera lenses than older ones, but still, they don’t possess the zooming capability of professional cameras such as DSLRs.


The cameras on the iPhone don’t capture as much light as a professional camera. So you might need additional lighting to set the scene with an iPhone.

This is especially the case when you’re filming at high frame rates.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a DSLR for Photography

iPhone vs DSLR Camera

iPhone vs DSLR Camera


AF (Autofocus)

In almost all captured motion pictures, there is some kind of fast movement. Whether it’s a sports game being played or a high-speed car chase, a DSLR’s autofocus capability is able to capture rapid and sudden motions with relative ease.

Longer Shooting Periods

DSLRs can capture stills and video without an LCD display which usually consumes a lot of power.

In case the batteries run low, no need to panic, DSLRs have interchangeable batteries, and you can swap the drained one for a fresh one and continue filming.

Slow Motion Effects

Some DSLRs feature continuous shooting speeds of 120fps or higher.

High continuous shooting speeds allow you to slow down videos for dramatic effect. This is a trendy tactic popular among content creators such as YouTubers


Bulky Design

DSLRs are bulkier than iPhones because they have a mirror and prism. By design, DSLRs are larger and heavier even compared to other professional cameras.

Image Stabilization

DSLRs are easier to hold steady than iPhones, thanks to their grippers. However, they aren’t fully stable either; they too benefit from the addition of a tripod stand.


Adding accessories such as lenses and viewfinders is substantially pricier than any camera app or lens needed for iPhone photography.

Sample Pictures of iPhone vs. DSLR

Here we will conduct a small experiment pitting the iPhone against the Canon EOS R. Before you read the results below, try and guess which is which.

iPhone vs DSLR Camera

iPhone vs DSLR Camera – Samples

The photo labeled ‘A’ was taken using the iPhone, and the photo labeled ‘B’ was taken using a DSLR.

There is no way of telling which image was taken using which device. You might see a couple of differences, but other than that, the photos are more or less the same.

Final Thought

The winner, in this case, isn’t outright because it depends on the kind of photography you’re doing.

Cinematographers might favor the iPhone because of its flexibility and movement. However, for persons shooting in low light conditions, DSLRs are the better option.

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