With the rise of digital cameras, photography has become a common pastime.
We have progressed from simple point-and-clicks to the AI-powered smartphone cameras of today – capable of taking breathtaking photographs.
In fact, smartphone cameras have evolved to such an extent that some movies are now being filmed with iPhones.
The remarkable strides taken in smartphone photography over the years raises an interesting question: Do you really need a DSLR camera?
Benefits of DSLR cameras
For the non-photographers, a DSLR camera is a “digital single-lens reflex” camera.
It is a digital camera that combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor, and is the tool of many professional photographers.
Canon told MyBroadband that the most basic benefit of a DSLR camera is that photographers can use a variety of lenses.
“This allows the photographer to use a specific lens that will suit the story that they would like to tell,” said Canon.
Canon added that one of the most important factors in a good camera is the size of the sensor – a metric in which DSLR cameras blow smartphones out of the water.
Bernard Kock of Outdoorphoto agreed that the size of the sensor is incredibly important, and DSLRs reign supreme.
He said that the increased sensor size allows photographers to take better photographs in low light. Another benefit of a DSLR is the degree of versatility it gives to the photographer.
“You can alter and edit images taken in finer detail, especially images taken in RAW, which is an unprocessed format of image which holds more detail one could play with in post editing,” explained Koch.
Who needs a DSLR camera?
Canon said that while DSLR cameras are great, they should not be an impulse buy.
“It is an investment for somebody that is a bit more serious about photography and would like to take their photography to another level,” said Canon.
Koch said that the average person looking to take snaps, however, should find that smartphone cameras encompass their every need.
“Unless you are going out for that perfect shot and are prepared to carry the weight – and maybe print or enlarge the images taken – your smartphone should be more than enough,” he said.
He added that smartphones are also a powerful tool for tourists.
“The quality of images we get, combined with instant filters and social media sharing, is the perfect recipe for the traveler – without needing to lug around a backpack full of camera gear.”
Koch said that he uses his DSLR camera for his wildlife photography, but when he is traveling, he uses his smartphone.
What to look for in a smartphone camera
Koch told MyBroadband that when comparing smartphone cameras, the two most important things to consider are sensor size and megapixels.
“More importantly, the perfect balance between the two.”
Koch said that megapixels don’t necessarily mean better better image quality, however.
“In fact, when shooting in low-light conditions less megapixels should yield a better, more useable image,” said Koch.
He attributes this to the fact that more pixels can mean more unwanted bits of data like noise and grey bits are captured.
More megapixels means that the image can be enlarged to a greater size before pixelation occurs, though.
What to look for in a DSLR camera
If you are interested in taking your photography to the next level and want to buy a DSLR camera, Koch said there are important considerations to take into account:
- Framerate: If you take action shots, it’s important that your camera offers a higher frame rate.
- Sensor size: Full frame and crop sensors are the two types of sensors in a DSLR camera. With full frame sensors, a 24mm lens actually offers 24mm, whereas with crop sensors, you need to multiply the zoom length by 1.5 for Nikon and 1.6 for Canon. This means that full frame sensors can offer a wider field of view. Additionally, a full frame sensor means that it copes with low light better.
- ISO range: Higher ISO expandability can assist in low-light situations. Crop sensors often struggle at high ISO levels.
- Megapixels: Increased megapixel levels allow for images to be enlarged more, but at the risk of grainier images.
- Manual and automatic functionality: Some DSLR cameras only offer manual functionality. If you’re not an accomplished photographer, this could be a problem. Most beginner or intermediate bodies offer some degree of automatic functionality and different scene modes.