My IPhone 12 Max Pro takes GREAT pics, so why do I need to buy a camera? I turned to the only experts I know: Google and Youtube.
While researching, I came across a very informative yet confusing article by pcmag entitled, “Can the Triple-Lens iPhone 11 Pro Really Replace Your Camera?”
The second paragraph of the article states, “the IPhone 11 Pro’s three rear cameras set it apart from previous models.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded like I had the right phone for the job. But, as I continued reading, phrases like “26mm f/1.8 lens, 12MP sensor, and focal length” made me want to dig out my brain and slap it for being so stupid because I only understood about thirty percent of that article, and I’m being generous. One thing was clear, I needed more research. My next stop? You guessed it, Youtube.
One of the best videos I came across that adequately explains the benefits of shooting with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera over an IPhone is by MountMedia. He does a great job of explaining why the smaller lens and sensors of cell phone cameras are not as versatile as DSLR and mirrorless cameras. I won’t spoil the fun. Take a quick watch because I can’t explain it better.
Is it possible to buy exchangeable lenses for cell phone cameras? Yes, you can. There are many affordable options out there, but, in my opinion, they are clunky, annoying substitutions for the real thing. Most of the options require special proprietary cases that allow you to attach the lens. Additionally, my research tells me that the attachable lenses made for cell phone cameras do not deliver near the quality of a decent camera lens. I have never tested them, but if anyone has, I would love to hear about your experience.
Some of the key differences between a cell phone camera and the DSLR or Mirrorless options are:
- Sensor size – Cell phones have smaller sensors which means less light. This is probably the main reason that most cell phones struggle in low light situations.
- You may have noticed that cell phone manufacturers like to spotlight the megapixel count of their cameras. This makes many people (which is most certainly the manufacturer’s goal) think that a high megapixel count is what makes their camera the best. Check out THIS article on why that may or may not be true. Interestingly, you can have a cell phone camera and a DSLR or mirrorless camera that have the same megapixel count, but the picture quality can be very different. Why? Well, because size really does matter or, at least, in this case it does. Bigger pixels contain more information which results in better images. I am dumbing that down, by a lot, but you get the idea.
- Aperture – The aperture is the size of the round hole that light travels through to get to the camera’s lens. The aperture is expressed in f-stops. The smaller the f-stop, the bigger the hole and vice versa. (Its backwards, right?) A small f-stop means more light gets to the sensor which means a brighter picture. Unlike DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, cell phone cameras don’t have adjustable apertures. This is a big deal because not only does it control light, it also controls bokeh which is the background blur that places the emphasis on your subject.
These are only a few of the reasons that led me to choose a DSLR over my IPhone as a primary camera. But, in fairness, the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it.