DSLR vs. iPhone: Pros and Cons

As I roam around to events and networking parties, I notice that I see less and less DSLRs. I remember about a year ago I felt like they're all I would see. Every blogger had their DSLR out and it was almost a way of saying “Hey look at my equipment, I'm a professional.” Nowadays, I see everyone covering events with their iPhone– crazy, right? I tend to cover with both. But I notice when I take my DSLR out with me, I barely end up using it these days. Am I the only one who's noticing less DSLRs?


I think DSLRs are important and while the iPhone 4Gs has photo quality as good as a point and shoot, It's still not the same. Below find a short list of some pros and cons Nando Alvarez (our photographer over here at IFB) and I thought of.


DSLR Pros (by Nando)

  • DSLRs are much more effective for use in low light conditions and when you’re working in fashion you’ll be working with low light very often.  With your iPhone you’ll need to use your flash a lot and, personally, I’m not a fan of blasting people in the face with bright lights.
  • You have more precise control over how you want your image to look.  DSLRs give you much greater control over depth of field, where you set your focus point, and how to expose your image, making it easier to achieve the type of image you may have in your head.
  • The images, especially if you shoot RAW as I constantly remind people to do, have a much greater amount of information in them and are much easier to make adjustments to and fix than a small .jpeg off your iPhone.



  • They’re big and they’re really noisy.  They can be intrusive at small events and if you don’t have a dedicated camera bag they can be a real pain to carry around, especially if you have any extra lenses with you as well.
  • They’re slow:  you can’t snap a picture at an event and immediately upload it to your Twitter or Tumblr.
  •  They’re expensive and most of these events involve large crowds and lots of free alcohol.  Alcohol plus human scrums plus expensive equipment do not a good scenario make for your $1500 DSLR.

iPhone Pros (by Nubia)

  • It’s not heavy like an DSLR. It’s appealing, sleek and sexy.
  • You can upload content straight to your networks (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc).
  • Fantastic quality for camera phone.
  • It has programs like Instagram that you can play around with and to put the cherry on top, allows you to have a community.
  • The iPhone does it all:  video/camera/record/notes/internet/etc.



  • Less control over your photos: Focus/ISO
  • Not as easy to work with in difficult light settings, the flash has a greenish tint.
  • It would allow you to catch candid moments like an DSLR would. Not good with continuous snapping.


At the end of the day I am still very into my DSLR. I'd like to say I've been covering 40% of my events on my iPhone and 60% with my DSLR.


What are your thoughts on this? Have you noticed this happening around you as well? I'm not anywhere near ready to kill my nice big SLR goodbye, I love it, but what do you guys think?




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About The Author

Ana is a Travel Blogger and Blogging Coach at The City Sidewalks. With her expertise in online marketing, she's able to help other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses so that they can achieve financial freedom to travel the world on their own terms.

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30 Responses

  1. Rachel

    I do not have an Iphone but my android phone takes really great pics…only thing is that I can only email my personal account and upload on my personal FB page instead of my blog FB page and I cant blog about it immediately. So definitely think I will have to get an iPhone soon. I do have a Nikon DSLR that takes amazing pics but I hate having to carry it around because of the weight. What I do think works best is taking your phone to events that you know will be well lit…because your phone will work great then…but for night events or low lit locations…it’s just best to bring the DSLR’s along with a roomy but still stylishly chic bag.

  2. Courtney

    To me there is really no comparison in how DSLRs compare to a camera phone (which, let’s just say it, is basically a point and shoot circa 2006 if you’re using an iPhone).

    There are also many entry level DSLRs on the market now for $350-$600. You don’t have to shell out a grand up front anymore.

  3. Goody @Curvatude

    i love both.

    for me, which i use depends totally on convenience and how much i want to carry at a particular moment but i have gotten some of my best pics on my iphone or blackberry.

  4. Madeleine Gallay

    It’s ease/convenience vs good glass … and there is no comparison.

    Great photography is about great glass … iPhone photos on the other hand can be manipulated in instantly easy and gratifying photo effects from Camera Bag, Hipstamatic, Vintage B&W … and are fine for the web.

    To have a portfolio, a printed portfolio which there are reasons to have, you need serious print work done at a lab.

    Action photography, models striding quickly, depth of field … great glass makes a difference.

    Daylight, right on and still, iPhone.

    There’s talk of whether children should learn to read time non-digitally, whether they should be taught cursive … learning great photography and knowing the difference is a good idea. And it’s not always about expensive kits … many college photography classes send their students out with a Diana or a Holga to learn light and composition.

    Sometimes it’s good to lug the heavy stuff … you may have the shot of your life that won’t come out on a camera phone.

  5. Annching

    I used to be obsessed with my DSLR but the main reason why I was so happy when I switched over to the new iPhone is the mobility and the ease of not having to carry around so much stuff. Still use the DSLR for more polished product photos and portraits but for events I prefer ease over quality!

  6. grace

    this is a great article, thank you for sharing this. i don’t have an iphone or a dslr, so this is helpful when thinking about which i would want to purchase if i had to choose one (although the dslr is much more pricey).

  7. lisa

    I just purchased a micro 4/3 camera recently because I wanted better quality photos but thought that the entry-level DSLRs were too cumbersome to lug around.

    My camera preference really depends on the event’s environment (lighting conditions are a big factor), what I’m shooting and–since I’m a fashion blogger–what sort of bag I want to carry with me. If I want to downsize to a clutch, I’ll use my point and shoot or my Android phone.

  8. Tanja

    Really great post… love your different reflections… and it is really hard to find out which will fit best.

    I will use both – DSLR and Iphone4S – Iphone4S for quick captures and snapshots on tour, DSLR for more professional pictures and looks for my blog…

    If you want to take picture on high class fashion (also for your blog) you will have no choice as to select a DSLR with a good lens…

  9. Eli

    Yes iphones are convenient. But they will never look half as nice as a DSLR does, I only shoot in raw, and you cannot believe how much I can improve/manipulate the lighting in photoshop. If you want something easy, do the phone thing. If you want something striking, get a dslr. I still use my regular rebel body from several years ago. I got the body on ebay refurbished for like $300. I was able to use the lens from my film slr (they were both cannons). But have since swapped that out for a nicer lens that was given to me but purchased on ebay for a decent price. You dont have to pay an arm and a leg.

  10. Christy Lorio

    I don’t own a DSLR, just a more advanced point & shoot (Canon S90) but I’ve been thinking about buying one. I figured if/when I master all of the manual settings on my point and shoot then I’ll reward myself by purchasing something more advanced.

  11. Cimmer

    The joy of photographing events etc with a partner helps A LOT…because seriously this is a DIFFICULT decision – and I always wind up bringing both 🙂 Great post on the pros/cons!

  12. Ashley

    I use my iphone pretty much all the time. That’s because I love having the ease of use. I can just whip it out, take the image, and then blog. It’s great for blogging on the go.

  13. Tammie

    DSLR all the way baby. It’s really worth the pain carrying it around and such I think when you get home after and go through all your pictures – which looks amazing, because they were taken by your DSLR.

  14. mango

    DSLR, no doubt. It’s a hassle to bring around, but I know it’s worth the trouble because if you know what you’re doing, the quality if infinitely better. Better pictures makes a better looking blog.

  15. Jen

    Since I got my iphone about 1 month ago I do notice I use my DSLR a lot less and I dont want that. I think its because I am not quite sure how to really use my camera right now.


  16. CamMi Pham

    Iphone is my to go for any event just because it fits my clutch. i am planning to buy the mini lens for iphone.

    However I am still thinking to buy DSLR for smaller meet up, interview. I still like high quality picture

  17. Michele of Michele's Musings

    I just purchased a Sony NEX – it’s slim like a Cybershot but has the functionality of a DSLR. I’m hoping it will help me solve the conundrum of taking great photos for my blog without sacrificing space. But, like you point out, for small blogger events, or real time updating, iPhone all the way!

  18. Natasha

    I have a iPod 4g and the camera isn’t good in low Light or that well in light, it has alot noise now I’m going to buy a Canon for starting out but I’m going to stick with dslr instead

  19. Katherine

    It’s always more convenient to use an iphone, but if you’re a serious photographer, there is obviously no replacement for a real camera.

  20. Michelle Lee

    I use android phone for most of my blog contents
    but I love the focus use and to play it with my pixlromatic!
    digital cameras look pretty in their own ways and cameras in their own strengths
    love carrying both 🙂

  21. Bec

    To me, my blog is more about the photography and capturing the image then just style so my DSLR is still with me. I only use my phone cam for emergencies.

  22. Jayvee

    For me there’s no question. I have a blog post to make,I use my DSLR. Besides, mine isnt a behemoth of a camera,just a basic Nikon D3100. I do realize that many of you are talking about covering events while Im talking out of experience as a personal style blogger who takes outfit pictures. I think we all know that you DON’T use an iphone in taking outfit pics!Although, for micro-blogging purposes (fb twitter etc) I use my mighty iphone a lot.

  23. lynellmarie

    I think what would be a perfect mix is to use your DSLR for blog/website posts but your iPhone for quick “look what’s going on right now!” or “here’s something to look forward to in the next post!” type of updates to Facebook and Twitter. Best of both worlds!

  24. MizzJ

    Oh gawd, there is no point in comparing in terms of quality. I mean, once you see how much better your dslr photos are, there’s no going back. It is a pain to lug around, so if you expect to be doing more socializing than photo taking, then sure, opt for the phone, but there are lots of lighter options coming out now, like the micro 4/3 cameras. I own a Canon Rebel and don’t find it that heavy unless you slap on a heavy zoom lens.

  25. Jea of all Trades

    My phone takes great pictures – for a phone. I use it only for quick in-the-moment shots or to upload something quickly to FB or Twitter.

    I like my DSLR a lot but often take a point and shoot with good optical lens with me to events like fashion shows when I don’t have time to se up a shot or want to fit the camera in my clutch.

    It’s funny: Even if you’re not a good photographer, you’ll get street cred for having a DSLR. People think you’re a pro. Not necessarily a good reason for getting one, but just something I’ve noticed.

  26. edcord

    I just read this blog…..all I can say is…..if you are going to write a blog like this at least know why the flash has a green tint! There is something called Kelvins that measures the temperature of light which affects the lights color…also just look around on Facebook to see all the out of focus and under exposed images…..until phone manufacturers find a way to get more light onto the tiny senors in phones there will never be a comparison…..and they of course there is the print quality…..and as to camera phones comparing well with compact digital cameras…..NOT! pretty much any compact digital between 100 and 200 dollars will out perform a camera phone…..I am not on here to defend one over the other….what I do want to communicate is that there is no comparison….cameras are better at taking pictures and capturing video….if your phone works for you….more power to you….but if it comes up short…..carry a compact digital in the pocket opposite the one your phone is in…..

  27. Lou Jones

    Everything on my blog….from the street style through to the fashion events and the fashion scrapbook, and even the sky shots, are all shot with and edited on my iphone. I used to have pro equipment when I did music photography, which is why I wanted a rest from it so the iphone just made sense.