Does it make sense to buy a DSLR in 2022? If you still take all your photos and videos on an iPhone, the answer may be yes.
DSLRs can now realistically be considered a category of older cameras, with only a handful of companies selling new models and smaller mirrorless cameras now being the most popular choice among new buyers.
But DSLRs are also a cheap way to get your fingers in a camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder – and best of all, they still do it much better than an iPhone when it comes to photography.
We’ve selected five key areas below where DSLRs still trump smartphones. Read on and find out how you can expect to enhance your photo and video games by switching your iPhone to a DSLR. And be sure to check out our final overview best DSLRs you can also buy now – if you like what you read here, your next camera may be on this list.
1. Optical zoom
While it’s true that a small number of smartphones offer optical zoom, you will not find it on just one iPhone model. The mechanics of creating a proper optical zoom require space, and space in a smartphone is already very valuable. For most phones, it just makes more sense to use prime lenses and offer zoom via the digital method instead. The wrong side? When it comes to brass dots, digital zoom is basically cropping an image, always resulting in a noticeable loss of detail.
This is not a problem on a DSLR that can be mounted with different lenses for different tasks. A standard zoom covers the wide-angle to mid-range photo range, making it ideal for capturing everything from landscape to portrait, while a telephoto zoom is ideal if you primarily shoot distant subjects (such as wildlife or sporting animals). . ).
Thanks to the ability to move lens elements internally, a DSLR’s lens zoom is achieved optically rather than digitally, and therefore no detail is lost when zooming in closely, so a distant subject fills the frame.
It is also worth noting that you can still “digitally zoom” DSLR images simply by cropping the area you want to zoom in on your final image. Cropping can still be done using basic post-production software on your computer, but some cameras also offer in-camera cropping.
2. Dynamic range and performance in low light
Whether it’s an APS-C or full-frame chip, a DSLR camera sensor is physically much larger than an iPhone sensor. This gives DSLRs a big head start when it comes to image quality, especially for dynamic range and low light performance.
Dynamic range is the difference between the lightest and darkest hues a camera is capable of capturing. Having a high dynamic range means that images will show a larger tonal range, bringing additional visual detail to the lightest and darkest areas of a photo or video.
iPhones achieve this effect via bracketed shooting, where multiple images taken with different exposure settings merge into a single HDR image. It may work very well under certain conditions, but it is worthless. DSLRs can also do this while starting with higher quality images. This makes their images with higher dynamic range even more effective if they are a little more complex to achieve.
Low-light performance is steadily improving in iPhones, but when it comes to sharp, quiet images in low-light indoor lighting or at night, no smartphone can match a DSLR. Full-frame digital camera with fast lens. The larger the sensor, the more light it captures when using a set shutter speed.
3. Shooting in bright light
Trying to compose a good picture on a sunny day can be difficult on a smartphone, with reflections on the screen that make it difficult to see what is in the picture. There are not really any consistent solutions to this: you can step into the shade, if available, or increase the screen brightness, but is neither ideal nor always practical.
Thanks to its optical viewfinder, a DSLR has no such problems. You can lift the eye of the viewfinder and see your image ‘through the lens’, where the eyepiece blocks potentially distracting sunlight.
Note, however, that unlike the electronic viewfinders used by many mirrorless cameras, a DSLR viewfinder cannot preview things like exposure, cycle through menu screens, or review pictures you have already taken.
One thing you can view with an optical viewfinder is the depth of field (the areas of your image that will be in focus when you press the shutter button): there is usually a small button on the camera body near the lens mount to do so. .
4. Handling and ergonomics
iPhones are designed to fit in your pocket. They are not designed to be comfortable and stable in the hand while taking pictures – which is why many frequent iPhone photographers use a case that contains some form of stability aid. For most photographers, handling an iPhone is a problem to be solved rather than an event to be celebrated.
DSLRs are a whole other matter. Designed primarily for handheld photography, they have excellent handling, especially compared to a smartphone.
Many generations of design changes have led to a common aspect of all DSLRs: an excellent grip for the user’s right hand, often with recesses, edges and textured finishes for easy purchase and stability. With the user’s left hand grasping the lens, not to mention a neck or shoulder strap that provides an extra stability point, keeping a DSLR comfortable and stable is rarely a problem.
The shutter button is positioned so that the user’s right index finger rests comfortably on it during use, and generally feels responsive and responsive in a way that no touchscreen button (or volume down button disguised as a touchscreen button) can reproduce. Other controls for adjusting shooting settings such as ISO, shutter speed, autofocus, and exposure compensation are usually located within range of a finger or a finger.thumb, making it much easier to quickly change the way you shoot on the go on a DSLR than on and iPhone. .
5. Capture fast action
iPhones can take quick continuous shots quite well (just hold down the shutter button), which helps when trying to capture a fast-moving subject. However, autofocus and auto exposure rarely accompany the action, which can leave your subject poorly exposed or even blurred.
SLR cameras, especially models with higher specifications, tend to be much better at shooting delicate, fast action – one of the reasons why Canon and Nikon DSLRs are preferred tools for many photojournalists and photographers.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III can shoot continuously at 20 fps with AI-assisted 191-point autofocus, while the NikonD6 can shoot 14 fps with 105-point autofocus points. By combining fast, accurate autofocus with fast shooting and large buffers, DSLR users can take hundreds of pictures in seconds and pick the best ones later.
Be warned though: Entry-level and mid-range DSLRs are not quite as fast, so choosing a fast mirrorless model may make more sense if speed and responsiveness are a priority and you do not care. do not have the budget for an advanced DSLR.