The advent of mobile phones with built-in camera dates back to the year 2000 when Sharp launched the handset J-SH04. It certainly was a great piece innovation that turned traditional mobile phones into personal devices that moved beyond conventional definition. And just when we thought that mobile phones are limited to matching professional-grade results, we stepped into the era of HDR mode, manual settings and recently the dual camera modules for actual Bokeh effect. So, smartphone manufacturers gradually moved towards delivering DSLR-like experience for clicking pictures.
It won’t be wrong to assume that smartphones, today has almost removed the need to own bulky and expensive professional cameras. The comfort and ease of clicking high-quality pictures with a personal device that can fit in your pocket are way more preferable to many. However, the camera manufacturers aren’t taking a step back with their competition with smartphones. For example, recently launched Canon EOS 200D is the world’s smallest DSLR that aims to bring smartphone-level affordability and ease while delivering professional results.
So, what would you choose– DSLR or a Smartphone?
It is still a natural choice for photography enthusiasts, the detailing and the phenomenal quality of a DSLR camera can’t be replaced. In fact, if you choose to buy a high-end smartphone such as Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus in India; you can use the dual camera for DSLR-like bokeh effect to come into the pictures you click.
But the ease of use is unmatched when it comes to smartphones. Besides, their ability to allow people to share the photos quickly clicked on social media is another big advantage why people love to click pictures through smartphones.
As mentioned earlier, standalone cameras are also keeping up with the pace to match with the technology of smartphones which lead them to include Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth support and built in editing tools in the cameras.
It’s not like the smartphone industry can harm the camera manufacturers though. People that preferred to spend thousands of rupees to buy a DSLR still won’t settle for a fancy smartphone with a high-end camera. The point is that the target audiences for the industries are different, albeit shrinking for camera users. With affordable devices for a generation that’s always online, the level of patience that requires in using a DSLR is a lot compared to the prompt smartphone photography.
Who does this benefit?
The investment made for a DSLR which sees the light of day only during vacations for casual users is much higher than a smartphone that can deliver almost similar results. An amateur level DSLR camera can be bought at the price of a flagship smartphone, and you can use the images for sharing on social media. And smartphone cameras can now capture pictures that can be utilized for commercial purposes.
Also, what’s significant about the change in smartphone camera technology is that it’s advancing its ability to include newer and more sophisticated methods of experience in the small personal device. Take for example the Asus Zenphone AR or the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro which delivers augmented the reality-based immersive experience. A similar technology in a standalone camera would only be possible with the addition of hardware, and yet the experience is unlikely to be as seamless.
From a customer’s point of view, it is the end result that matters. The charm of a dedicated professional camera can’t be filled by a handy smartphone, no matter how sophisticated the inbuilt camera is. But as it is with Polaroid camera and DSLRs which took a backseat with the advent of DSLRs; it is most likely that the dedicated hardware too will become more niche product with the advancement in smartphone photography. Besides, while the standalone camera can only serve a limited purpose, the hardware inside a smartphone aims to address more than one goal; for instance, the 3D facial recognition as expected in the upcoming iPhone 8.
So, while camera loyalists continue to defend the unmatched quality, smartphone technology is rapidly progressing and with the right software could be used professionally as well. So, what would you choose to buy a DSLR or an iPhone 7 Plus in India?
As a consumer, you have to realize that while you’re purchasing a standalone professional camera you’re investing into a niche product while if you buy a smartphone with a high end camera you are investing in a sophisticated personal device.