Smartphones vs digital cameras – January 2014

Final thoughts


Oh well, countless hours of work, tons of patience on your side (I know, too much text plus by odd English grammar), and in the end what did we learn? Well, at least when it comes to smartphones the results are a bit different from what we used to be told, don’t you think? I mean sure, Lumia 1020 is a great cameraphone but Galaxy Note 3 and iPhone 5s are really not that far behind. What else? Well maybe the fact that Z1 is a good cameraphone only on paper, because in reality it fails to stay close to the three mentioned above.

Besides that, we analyzed the image quality on a support which is not exactly ideal (the desktop PC monitor) and we didn’t get into juicier details like the way in which you work with a view camera, a DSLR or a smartphone. We didn’t discuss the huge difference a simple lens can make for the same camera. We didn’t approach a lot of sides of the story, but then again this was not our purpose to begin with. Today, we wanted to see how can the best smartphones at the end of 2013 / beginning fo 2014 compare to professional cameras and amateur DSLR. Why didn’t we also used compacts and mirrorless cameras you say? Because smartphones have similar performance with most compacts and mirrorless cameras are comparable with DSLRs.

Ok, we saw that Lumia 1020 has good performance and Note 3 and iPhone 5s are also in the same area. How do they compare to more serious cameras? Well, when it comes to Nikon D5000 we can really say that the 3 smartphones mentioned earlier are on par, and can even outperform Nikon’s old consumer DSLR. But if we look at Nikon D7100 or Canon 5D MKIII we realize that there is no comparison between smartphones and serious DSLR cameras. And, of course, Phase One is at a completely different level, as expected.

So, what is the bottom line? Well, all the phones that we tried are good at taking pictures, but Lumia 1020, Note 3 and iPhone 5s are clearly better. And yes, under specific circumstances some smartphones can compare (and can even be better) then some entry-level DSLR cameras. What does that mean for you? Well, it means that the ideal case is when you form your own opinion without throwing money out the window for “a thing”. By that I mean that it is pretty weird to buy an entry-level DSLR (1100D, D5000, etc) just to post photos on Facebook. No, for that it is pretty clear that there are plenty of good quality smartphones out there.

On the other hand, if you really want to learn to be a photographer, even an entry-level DSLR will help you get acquainted with the basic rules of photography so you will need to buy that in order to get better.

And as far as professionals go, don’t worry, no smartphone comes close to the tools of the trade.

In the end, I hope I helped you get a more realistic perspective on smartphone vs digital cameras comparison. And if you are a pro photographer and you feel I didn’t do a great job, please submit your feedback. After all, I am a bit rusty when it comes to these matters.


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