The Pros and Cons of Camera Phones vs. Digital Cameras
Are you frustrated with limitations of your camera phone? Let’s examine pros and cons of DSLR’s and camera phones to help you make an informed decision.
Are you trying to create magazine-worthy, high-quality photographs and wondering if it’s time to switch to a digital camera? While I debated about this decision for over two years I now use both a digital camera and iPhone camera for my Instagram and blog photos.
Here are pros and cons of both processes to help determine which is right for you. Presenting each side by side will help you make your own well-informed decision.
Whether you opt to stick with a camera phone or go with a digital camera, this post will guide you so you can optimize either process.
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First, let’s begin where most people begin, with your camera phone. Obviously the range of quality of your photos depends on which phone you have. There are huge differences among camera phones. In most cases, the newer your phone is the better your camera.
No matter how good your camera phone is, it will never have the versatility of a digital camera. That being said, there are many factors that come into play as you choose which is right for you.
Pros of Camera Phones:
- Convenience. Using your camera phone is convenient. After all, you own it and carry it with you already. All you do is click, edit, and post. No matter how much editing you do, you still have the convenience that it is all happening on your phone.
- Fast. Along with convenience is the time-saving factor. And time is money.
- Easy. The camera on phones is mostly, if not completely automated. Thus, if you are not a trained photographer using a camera phone is a great choice because it doesn’t require special training. Once you learn the easy editing tools on your phone and on Instagram you’re all set.
- Inexpensive. You already own a phone and the camera came with it. Therefore, you aren’t buying expensive equipment. Additionally, you don’t have to take expensive photography classes to take a decent photo. Finally, you don’t have to own a computer or pay a monthly fee for editing tools like Pic Monkey or pro version of Lightroom.
Cons of Camera Phones:
- Limited. There’s only so much you can achieve with the automated settings of a camera phone. There are certain lighting situations where a quality photo is next to impossible.
- Poor Quality. Depending on your camera phone, the best quality you can achieve may just not be good enough to create beautiful photos.
- Low Resolution. If you are using your photos for Instagram only, low resolution is okay. However, if you need photos for your website or blog, low resolution will not be good enough. Also, many brands require high resolution photography for their websites.
If you are tired of the limitations of your camera phone and tired of compromising quality, it may be time to explore the options of digital photography.
Pros of Digital Cameras:
- Quality. The possibilities for amazing photos exist here. When high quality really matters this is your answer. Your skills are your only limitation.
- Versatility. You can use a variety of techniques to create professional-looking photos that you can be proud of. No matter the parameters, no matter the situation, low lighting, too much lighting, it doesn’t matter. With the correct knowledge, beautiful pictures are yours for the taking.
Here is our best recommendation for the right camera to invest in.
Why? It is user-friendly but advanced and very high quality. It is the best value in our experience, and it’s the one we both use. The WiFi connection is key.
Cons of Digital Cameras:
The monetary investment in a low-end digital camera and kit is about $400-$500 and can go up to $1000 or more. I bought the Canon Rebel T-5 with a kit complete with everything I might need for home decor and portrait photography. It came with a small tripod and a wide-angle lens and a dozen other accessories I have yet to use. I already owned a full-size tripod. Amazon had the best deal, and I paid $400.
Click HERE to purchase my Canon Rebel T-5 and kit at the best price I found. This is a very good price but it does not have wifi connection. It is a good beginner camera.
2. Learning Curve
If you are not already a trained photographer the learning curve to begin is real. My Canon came with a manual that was poor. It helped me with the absolute basics, like identifying the parts, point and shoot automated, how to install battery and on and off. Beyond that it was basically useless. I had to start googling and watching YouTube videos to understand anything beyond real basics. I am still learning, mostly by trial and error.
There is significantly more time involved in the digital process. Assuming you know what you are doing (in other words, not including the learning curve) you have more steps to get a picture.
- First, you set the controls depending on the lighting and type of photo you are shooting.
- Next, almost always, you set up the tripod, attach the camera, and adjust the tripod.
- Now you are ready to take your first photos.
- After your photo shoot you go to your computer, plug in the camera, and download your photos.
- Use a photo editing software to perfect your photos. I use Pic Monkey, which is an additional fee per month. Jodie uses Lightroom pro which is a monthly fee as well.
- Now you need to get them back to your camera phone. I usually email them to myself three at a time. Then I pick them up on my phone from there.
- Note that if your DSLR has WiFi connection, you can automatically upload them to your phone and edit on your phone instead of the computer.
A DSLR is a lot more work!
That is a lot more work than just taking a pic, editing and posting. Is it worth it? Sometimes I think it is. And sometimes I think it isn’t. There are times I actually get a better shot using my iPhone because I still haven’t mastered the system, my digital camera or the editing process yet.
Sometimes there’s a disconnect between viewing the photos on my computer screen and my camera phone. For pictures for our blog I am very happy I have the option of my digital camera. But some days I just don’t have time, or patience, for all that extra work when creating for Instagram.
Final Summary: Camera Phones and Digital Cameras
Clearly there are a lot of things to consider before investing in a digital camera. I hope that by weighing the above list of pros and cons you will feel more confident with how to make the best decision for you.
Lastly, some final thoughts to help you decide whether or not you are ready to take the leap to buying a digital camera. Ask yourself:
- How much do I care about the quality of my photos? Are they “good enough” for my purposes? Or do I constantly feel like they are falling short of what I imagine they could or should be?
- How much time am I willing to commit to learning and perfecting the art of photography? Is this something I will enjoy doing?
- Do I have the money to invest right now in upgrading to a digital camera system?
- Do I need high resolution photos for a current or future blog or brand work? If a blog is in your future plans we recommend starting to learn how to use a DSLR now so you’ll be ready.
What’s Right for You: Camera Phone vs. Digital Camera
So, if you answered “No” to even one of these questions you are probably better off sticking with your camera phone, at least for now. A digital camera holds potential and promise but takes commitment. If you aren’t yet ready for an upgrade, then it’s time to focus on doing what you can to improve your camera phone pictures. Time to work on your angles, your ability to capture natural lighting and your editing process.
Ready to invest? Here is our favorite camera again at the best price we have found. Happy shooting!