This past weekend, we went to B’s aunt’s house to see some family that was in town. In previous years, this would mean that I would grab my DSLR and spend much of the time snapping photos. For the third time, though, we went on a trip and either didn’t take the DSLR with us or took it but didn’t use it at all. This isn’t to say that I didn’t take any photos. On the contrary, I took a ton of photos during our trips. The difference is that I used my smartphone instead of my DSLR.
Now, to some I know this might seem like heresy. A good DSLR camera can easily produce better photos than a smartphone’s camera. It can handle different light conditions and can allow you to change many settings to produce the best photo. DSLR photos tend to be higher resolution and can be printed into bigger sizes. So the DSLR would seem to be the better camera for the job in every case, right?
Well, not quite.
First off, there’s the weight factor. DSLR cameras are pretty heavy. If you add in some extra equipment (lenses, extra batteries, memory cards, etc.), a DSLR can really weight you down. The smartphone, on the other hand, is extremely light and portable. Not to mention that you’re likely going to have it on you anyway.
What about printing photos, though? It’s true that DSLR photos can make better prints at larger sizes, but nowadays we rarely print any of our photos. We mostly post them online or text/e-mail them to people. This is extremely easy with a smartphone. Simply click on the share icon and select the app you want to use to share the photo with. You can even send it to an image editing app first to crop the image, add a watermark, or combine multiple photos. With a DSLR, on the other hand, you need to offload the photos to a computer before you can upload or send them. Unfortunately, most times, you won’t have a computer with you so your “on-the-go” photo share will turn into a “I’ll share it later.”
Then there’s the problem of taking my camera to the pool. With a DSLR, I’d either wind up sitting on the side of the pool snapping photos or would need to place my bulky, obvious camera bag on the side hoping that someone didn’t take it. With my smartphone, though, I bought a waterproof case last year when we were going on our cruise. It keeps my phone dry even if it’s underwater. What’s more, I can use the touchscreen and even take photos with the case on. Sure, the touchscreen doesn’t work underwater, but I can set the timer, submerge my phone, and wind up with an underwater photo.
Yes, there are waterproof cases for DSLR cameras, but they can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The one I bought for under $20 works perfectly for my smartphone.
I’m sure my DSLR will still get a workout. I might still take it with us when we next go to Disney World, for example. Still, more and more I find myself relying on my smartphone instead of on a dedicated camera.
Do you still use a stand-alone camera (either point and shoot or DSLR)? Or have your photo taking habits shifted to smartphone-only?