DSLR vs iPhone camera

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tlauer, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. tlauer

    tlauer TPF Noob!

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    I've always loved photography and taking pictures, but I'm only just getting started with learning how to take good pictures and that includes the camera that's used. I have been thinking of getting a good DSLR camera (and stop using my smartphone's crappy one), but since it's very expensive, I've been pushing it off.
    I have recently seen some pictures posted online where someone uses her iPhone camera, and the pictures look great (plus she has specific lenses to along with it for certain situations) - I was amazed how advanced iPhone cameras are these days. My husband has an iPhone X, so I wondered if it would be a good option to start with that or if learning how to use a DSLR is better. Are there advantages to using DSLR over iPhone and if so, what are they? Any other advice on what camera would be good to use/how to avoid spending too much?


     
  2. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The usual path from camera-phone to top level dSLR is:
    1. Camera Phone;
    2. Point and Shoot (non-interchangeable lens digital camera);
    3. Entry Level dSLR camera with 'kit' lens (kit lenses typically are inexpensive and low quality);
    4. Mid level dSLR and mid level lenses; and finally
    5. Top/Pro Level dSLR and top/pro level lenses. (if so impassioned and if you have the budget)

    Knowing/having an expectation of your level of photographic passion would help you skip intermediate steps to equipment acquisition. Not knowing how you would use the equipment and for what subject(s) would help in determining hardware needs.

    One of the principle differences between a camera phone, point & shoot, entry level dSLR and Pro level dSLR is sensor size. Sensor size, generally, will increase the image quality of the photo and allow the photographer to shoot is low light situations. All else being similar, the larger the sensor the greater the detail and the greater the ability to shoot in low and extreme low light situations. Generally, the better the camera the better the autofocus system which increases the photographers ability to shoot action.

    In general, in the hands of an experienced and skilled photographer, the more expensive the equipment the easier to capture the desired image. With ease comes greater consistency ... and consistency is one trait separating pro skill level from amateur level skill level.

    Often an advanced Point & Shoot, often referred to as a Bridge Camera, may be sufficient to meet the needs of many who desire an upgrade from the camera phone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Generally, people buy a DSLR because they have an interest in photography, and that interest can vary widely with individuals. Some people just want to record sights and memories, such as while traveling or attending family functions. Other people go "all in" with trying different techniques, upgrading their equipment, etc. Most people who "like" photography are somewhere in the middle, and just want to explore their own approach to photography.

    Again, generally, a DSLR has more "scope", so more adjustments, more lenses, more attachments, etc. These add-ons can help you get better photographs. Learning about things like field of view, focal length, depth of field (focus), flash, lighting, and all the rest will become your lifetime learning project.

    After your camera and maybe your second lens, I suggest a speedlight.

    So your budget (try to think of a yearly budget, not just one purchase) will tell you where you start, but don't confine yourself to an unrealistic budget forever.

    If you're a quick study, or have some very well educated friend who can help, look for a lightly-used camera body, and some well-cared-for lenses to save money. You'll progress a little faster with a medium-level camera and one or two fine lenses.

    Ignore the "100-piece" kits that are always advertised at a tempting price, but which include lots of useless stuff, which is where they make their real money. There are many dependable sources of quality equipment, and the prices are very comparable across the board. So you pay an extra $50 or so, but maybe you feel like you're getting better service, so it's probably worth it. (IMO)
     
  4. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They can be good if there isnt much detail in the shot and there is a lot of natural light, yes.

    The very moment thats no longer the case and for example human skin is in the shot, I'll have to disagree.



    Pretty much all of them, really.

    - Better image quality.
    - You have a lot more reserves for less than optimal lighting conditions.
    - You can switch lenses, depending upon what you need. HUGE advantage.
    - You can actually choose the photographic parameters fast and precise with direct, physical controls.
    - Much faster operation, much better autofous.
    - Artificial lighting (flash).

    The only advantages you dont get are size, weight, convenience.



    Sigh.

    Not spending too much is very easy: dont pick up photography as a hobby.

    I'm serious !

    Photography will reel you in and makes you spend a LOT of money on it.



    P.s.: To give a practical example, if I would lose all my equipment tomorrow, I'd get:

    Nikon D700 - about $500 used
    Nikkor AF 35mm f2 - about $200 used
    Tokina 100mm f2.8 macro - about $250 used, but rarely offered; $400 new
    Nikon SB800 (flash) - about $130 used
    Nikon SC-17 (TTL flash cable) - ? low price, only on the used market

    Over $1000 ... and thats the cheap, serene setup I'd get if I had to restart. With only the things I really need. Granted, everything from this list is also build to last.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  5. tlauer

    tlauer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all your responses!

    Yeah...That's what scares me and why I'm not sure what to do about a camera since I'm not even sure how much I'll get into it even though I'd love to
     
  6. ayen

    ayen TPF Noob!

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    I only started using my phone camera more serious since a few months. So i did it the other way.

    Starting with a bridge camera to a beginner dslr (nikon 3100) and then to a nikon d7100 with beautiful lenses for my budget (everything second hand).

    I would suggest to buy a small beginner dslr with a kit lens... You are just starting and discovering photography.

    The specific lenses will come when you get a lot more into photography and a beginner dslr is already a lot better than a phone camera. As for flashes... after 6 years or more (?) i still don't have one.

    Know i'm might buy one for some things but you will discover if you need it or not. But discovering that can take a while.

    A lot of people say that a phone camera is very good, don't buy a dslr.. that's **** a phone camera looks good on a phone but it's actually crap . (It's getting better tho).

    I can explain all the technical detail but it's easier to skip that and get to the point.

    Btw: what do you want to do with the pics? Social media like instagram or something else?

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-A510F met Tapatalk
     
  7. n614cd

    n614cd TPF Noob!

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    There are three aspects to photography. One is composition, the second is image capture. And the last is post processing.
    Composition can be very technical or artistic, depending on the photographer. Image capture is really just technical skills.
    Post processing can again be artistic and/or technique.

    Using a smartphone you can determine which way you lean, what interests you, and where you should start.
    For example, to practice composing images, do not use any zoom or effects in the phone. Move yourself and position the phone to capture the image you see. This will have limitations but it will give you the chance to learn.
    To learn technical skills, find an app which allows you to control shutter, aperature and ISO for your phone. Learn how the work and interact.
    Then lastly take the images and play with some post processing software.

    You can do all this with a smartphone. Or buy an older DSLR and look for a prime lens.

    Tim

    Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
     
  8. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    i took this with my d800:

    [​IMG]
    DSC_9396
    by Braineack, on Flickr

    my wife took this on her iPhone X:

    [​IMG]
    IMG_0465
    by Braineack, on Flickr



    a camera is a tool -- sure i could print the top shot on a huge poster better than the iphone, but it's still just a camera. get out and shoot!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
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  9. tlauer

    tlauer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all of your responses! I was able to find a good deal via Facebook marketplace for a used DSLR and got the Nikon D3200. I can't wait to get started and learn how to take awesome pictures!
     
  10. EJA64

    EJA64 TPF Noob!

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    For snapshots, iPhones are great. For more creative control, a DSLR is better. Try to adjust the aperture on an iPhone, and see how far you get. If you are going to add some sort of add on lens over the iPhone lens, and find one which allows you some aperture control, you may as well just go with a DSLR to begin with, and skip the iPhone. I use my iphone when I want a shot, and have no other camera on me, but I usually have my DSLR with me, and use it rather than my iPhone. For low cost, buy used / refurbished, and shop around. Prices will vary a lot from place to place. Nikon F Mount cameras often let you use older lenses...from as far back as 1957. Canon changed it's mount later on, and more often, so there are fewer low priced old lenses for Canon than for Nikon. Camera wise, consider a Nikon: D300, D300S, D700, D800, D7000, D7100, and D7200. Look at Ai, AiS-AF-D, and AFS, lenses.
     
  11. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The D3200 is a great camera. You're going to love it. Have fun.
     
  12. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    Due to health reasons I had to leave my DSLR at home for a long time.
    So I used my iPhone.

    My initial response was "this is cool and pretty good". A good alternative (light weight and small).
    As I became more discerning though I started thinking "I wish I had my DSLR ..."

    Now it's flipping back to using my DSLR more often for real pictures and not just "snaps"
    You have a lot of misc controls on the iPhone to adjust color, etc. But the DSLR is just far better at a lot of things.

    Though I will say, some cell phones are managing multiple exposures (advanced bracketing) at the same time and combining them automatically to create some stunningly good images ... such as when I was in Wash DC at night taking a picture of the capital. The capital dome was lit, there were much more bright street lights around, and of course myself was dimly lit - an extreme dynamic range situation. Some androids software autocombined 3 "instant" pictures and created a very well balanced image out of it compared to my iPhone. I was impressed.
     
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