Can my Phone Camera Replace My DSLR?

Can my Phone Camera Replace My DSLR?
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditShare on LinkedInShare on Tumblr

[10 minute read]

We’ve heard the cliches about how “anyone is a photographer” now that we have an incredible camera in our pocket… While I do agree and am an advocate for photography for all, I disagree in that the cameras can offer the same level of performance.

It all comes down to what you need a camera for.

What do I use? Let me run you through the basics:


Right now, my phone is an iPhone 7 Plus. Yes, I realize that it is arguably one of the best smart phone camera’s on the market and this may not be a fair statement BUT this thing can do wonders.

When/ Where Do I Use it?

There are a lot of places and times where I resort to my phone for a picture.

  1. When I need a camera QUICK like a once in a lifetime moment and my DSLR is packed away in the backpack
  2. When I’m out for what I thought would be a regular visit to somewhere, that turns into a picture-esque moment
  3. When I want to be discrete will vlogging in a luxury jewellery store
  4. When I need a 4K camera because I don’t have one… Related: Aruba Video (mostly shot with iPhone)


While the camera will produce gorgeous quality colours and is advertised as a 12 megapixel piece of machinery, there are a few downsides.

The biggest pitfall is the size of the sensor. Although, this isn’t at the fault of the phone manufacturer. It’s just photography science. A huge DSLR will have the physical room to house a larger sensor (literally), while a smartphone thats as thick as a post-it pack doesn’t have that luxury. While we could start making phones the size of bricks again, most companies will not. So, if you have great lighting conditions, a steady hand, and are not zooming in, theres no big deal. But if you intend to shoot in low light, have no tripod handy, and want to zoom in, then go the DSLR route.

Canon Crop-Sensor DSLR

Right now, I’m using the outdated Canon 60D. This puppy was introduced in 2011, meaning that it is a dinosaur in the technology world.

What is a crop-sensor? To understand this logic, we need to think of the high-end first. On a professionals DSLR, they will most likely be using a full-frame sensor camera. This just refers to the actual size of the sensor inside the camera that records the image. Think of a crop-sensor as a full-frame sensor thats been cropped in a little bit. Believe it or not, this can and will make a difference in your shots, at a certain level. For beginners? Start with crop, where I still am, and then work your way up.

The newer version of mine, the Canon 80D, is a beast. It is upgraded in pretty much every possible way, especially for video. If you want to shoot video, the 80D is for you.

iPhone vs. DSLR

To the naked untrained eye, the difference will be little to none. To an experience photographic eye, the difference is monumental.

Are you someone that just wants a great camera to capture moments and potentially learn the ropes of photography? start with that phone in your pocket.

Are you someone looking to create engaging content that will either be sold or used for a larger project? Consider a DSLR.

Do you shoot video? This one is interesting. My older 60D does a worse job at shooting video than my brand new iPhone 7 Plus. The 7 Plus can shoot 4K video, meaning that it is literally 4x the quality of my big Canon DSLR. BUT again, the sensor is a lot smaller… Good shooting conditions? The 4K is incredible. Poor conditions? Not a chance.

So, the ultimate questions:

Can my iPhone replace my DSLR Camera?

The simple answer is, it all depends. Always shoot with what you have because a shot that is a bit lower quality is better than no picture at all.