Which camera is best? DSLR vs. iPhone vs. Point-and-Shoot
The short answer is it depends. A reader recently contacted me regarding my iPhone photos from Tinker Field that were shot using the Hipstamatic app. She said “The effect of the app was perfect for Tinker Field and reminded me of old family pictures.”
She followed with some questions about her own pictures and cameras and asked if we could offer some advice about which camera to use, when and where. So here goes.
Generally speaking, my advice is that the best camera is usually the one you have with you at the time. However, there are some situations that are better than others for each type of camera. The cameras on the iPhones have come a long way since inception. The iPhone 4s, 5s and 5c all have an 8 megapixel camera, which is more than most of our point-and-shoots had five years ago. Having said that, the Nikon CoolPix S6300 she had relegated to her drawer boasts 16 megapixel. She also had a Nikon D80 DLSR that has a 10.2 megapixel Nikon DX format CCD imaging sensor.
If you are like this loyal reader and grandkids are often the subject of your lens, you might want to keep all three cameras in close range for varying circumstances. If the grandkids are old enough to move fast, whether they are playing sports or running in the backyard, you will probably want your DLSR that has an immediate response upon pressing the shutter button. The higher ISO capabilities of the DSLR will also help out in low light situations such as high school gyms or celebrations indoors.
Because most of us have our iPhones attached to us at all times, it is the perfect camera for the unexpected moment, sunset hike, or walk along the beach. There are even lens attachments for the iPhone such as the Olloclip, that gives you different focal length or close-up options. If you plan on using your iPhone near water, or want to do some under water shooting, invest in a LifeProof case, which protects it up to 6.6 feet. I took my iPhone under water while on assignment scalloping last year with beautiful results, and no leaks thanks to my LifeProof case.
There are also dozens, if not hundreds of photography apps to help crop, tone, manipulate with filters and share with our friends and family. Admittedly, I’m not much of an app junkie. I only use about five, including PS Express, Instagram, Hipstamatic, Snapseed and Filterstorm.
Lastly, the 16 Megapixels on the Nikon CoolPix S6300, or any other comparable point-and-shoot, can come in useful if you want to blow up the pictures beyond a standard 8 x 10. You can print iPhone photos larger, but you will likely give up some quality. In most circumstances, a 16 megapixel chip should be more than enough to make a nice print for your wall or office.
I used to travel with two professional camera bodies and several lenses everywhere I went. I now take only my iPhone 5 and my Canon 5D Mark III, just in case I need a professional camera unexpectedly.
Most importantly though, have one of them with you, because you never know when that perfect moment will happen right in front of you. With all of the technology and options to capture and share great photography, you don’t want to miss it.