Every once in a while I am asked if smartphones are replacing DSLRs. The answer varies with the photographer but for many photographers the answer is no. This pair of photos says it all. There are still some things smartphones just can’t do, at least not right now.
I don’t expect to hear a wild turkey in a residential area in the midst of millions of people in the San Francisco Bay Area. So when I heard a distinctive gobble in the direction of my mother-in-law’s back yard I went outside to have a look. Over the back fence there is a green space about the size of two football fields which is surrounded by houses. Several large eucalyptus trees dot the green space. The turkey was high up the closest eucalyptus tree not far from the back fence. It moved from one place to another in the tree, but stayed up high in the same tree. I went back inside and grabbed a Canon 7D Mark II and a 70-300mm zoom lens to take some pictures (top photo left, and at the end of this article).
The turkey flew to a different branch. I got out my iPhone to take some photos to compare to the 7D photos. The turkey is in the dark area in the middle of the red circle.
I used the iPhone’s digital zoom and took some more photos. You can see the dark shadow where the turkey is roosting but the turkey is hard to make out. The digital zoom got me closer but it didn’t help that much.
There is just no comparison to the turkey photos taken with the DSLR and a good telephoto zoom lens.
This is not to say iPhones and other smartphones aren’t capable of taking good pictures. They are. With good light and the right subject, smartphones can take great pictures. I have exhibited large prints made from iPhone photos and I have sold iPhone prints. But there are still a number of circumstances where smartphones fail miserably. And for those situations DSLRs and the array of available lenses really shine.