"A decade later, your phone still does not replace a pro camera "

I don’t think this article is clickbait per se as much as serving as self justification for the author on why he still wants and uses his DSLR.

He’s painting with a far too broad brush IMHO. And it starts with the false narrative that pro camera technology advancement has somehow stalled. And more importantly he misses the fundamental point that there are different needs for different users and applications and plenty of “pro” work has been done with phone cameras in the last few years including feature films and product catalogs (Casio’s newest g-shocks for instance)

A Decade Later, Your Phone Still Does Not Replace a Pro Camera - CNET


To me more than a hint of click bait, and these comparative analysis pieces seem to overlook the fact you have two champions at what they do in their “weight class” (bantam vs heavy weight) but you wouldn’t fight Manny Ortiz against George Foreman…



Well, when you have five or ten (or more!) thousands of dollars sunk into your kit you’re dang sure going to resist admitting that a ~$1000 smartphone would serve you just as well. And fit in your pocket. :smile_cat:

There will continue to be use cases where a DSLR or other “heavy iron” solution is superior. Naturally. Heck, sometimes if only for appearances—e.g. a wedding photographer needs to look like a professional photographer, so expensive equipment is a requirement.


Exactly - imagine paying that fee with someone flitting around with an iPhone 13 Pro!!!


I like my Fuji(which is older one I got locally used) because it gets me off the phone & think a little more. Plus, I like the ritual after a day of shooting(& trail riding) to listen to music with my friend Mary while editing on my Surface. Plus, as good as my Pixel 6 is, it lacks an EV for those bright days(I am in the costal desert after all) & zoom(yes the larger Pro phones have a zoom but quality isn’t consistent with the main camera yet).


Even point-n’-shoots have gotten a bit of reprieve.

Partly because a single (well, dual with video) use tool helps focus the mind, but also because smartphones have become so minimalistic.

There aren’t even camera buttons, let alone two-stage ones on any mass produced smartphone other than on Sonys. And then filters, etc. are a pain to use with a smartphones. There also aren’t hand controls like focus rings, etc.

And for cameras, a bigger sensor will always be better. You can only squeeze so big a sensor into a smartphone, even more so with a minimalist one.


Agreed with all your points, but I’d argue that a large majority can’t/wont invest the time to use those features and/or many of them can also be achieved post shot with the various image processing apps.

It’s the bane of many a tech company, but “good enough” in concert with "easy to use " wins the day for the vast majority. That includes me as well, where both my personal iPhone and my work S22 Ultra have replaced the midrange Nikon DSLR I used to carry for some work related tasks because they are now “good enough”

Of course there will always be at least some market for top end tools. but like us here in our devotion to things pen, it will be a (pricier) niche going forward.

And smart phones have already essentially decimated the point and shoot market with the only remaining models from Canon being either high end niche models or odd feature models like the Cliq 2 instant/digital hybrids.

And not surprisingly IMHO it also opens the door a crack anyway for the return of film cameras such as Ricoh, the parent now of the Pentax brand announcing they will be releasing a couple of new film cameras in 2023.


That was my thought as well. Many of the SLR (and older) camera features that are considered “pro” (e.g. filters) are left over from film photography where you had to get the initial shot right. (Limited) post processing was an expensive thing for serious amateurs and professionals.

I did B&W film developing to prints as a kid in my Middle School photography class and color Ektachrome slide developing later just as a hobby. Some professional darkroom work in a print shop. Fun and interesting and there’s not a chance I’d choose it again given today’s options. I miss the viewfinder most of all from dedicated cameras—an EV w/diopter was wonderful since I wear glasses—but I’ve given it all up in favor of convenience (the camera that is with me, always) and, honestly, because my iPhone 13 Pro takes the best photographs by far that I have ever produced in my lifetime. With just a click. It allows me to concentrate instead on framing, subject, and sudden inspiration. Creative stuff as opposed to mechanical fiddling.

The limitations of smartphone photography are going away, little by little. Eventually, inevitably, traditional cameras will be relegated to very niche professional/serious amateur/hobby uses.


+1 on all counts, especially the quality of the photos I get out of my iPhone 13 Pro. In fact, if the rumors of a real periscope zoom are true for next year’s Ultra, I’ll be a day one owner despite my dislike for the bigger format, and I’m afraid my DSLR days will be over (they pretty much are already).

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If it happens I might join you.

I can definitely see his point. For me, the problem with smartphone cameras in general is also their biggest boon for most people. They tend to adjust white balance, colors, vibrance, contrast, etc, on the spot, making taking a decent, and quick and ready to share picture really easy, but also making changes you may not want in the process.

If you take a look at the images in this other article I found linked at the bottom of the initial one, you can see how the Pixel 7 compares to a professional Canon Mark VI. The Pixel 7 takes some pretty great pictures, and it’s only in certain circumstances that the Canon really outshines it, but in all of the pictures, the Canon took photos that are much more natural, and I suspect capture the true color tones and lighting of the shot. Google's Pixel 7 Pro Challenges My $10,000 DSLR Camera Gear - CNET

This bothers me because when I’m out and I see something I want to snap a picture of, a cool sunset, the way the light is reflecting through the trees behind my daughter when she’s reading, or some other interesting play of light and color, my Pixel 6 always “enhances” it and makes the colors richer, bolder, but more importantly, different than what I’m trying to capture. Then I have to try to edit it back to what I want. So instead I end up fiddling with the settings for the camera before I take the shot, only to have the Pixel’s algorithm somehow make adjustments anyway, sharpen edges, etc. As good as the Pixel 6 is at taking photos and self editing, it’s not perfect, and the camera app is actually behind some others that I have used. The manual controls give very little manual control and there is no “pro” mode that gives real control. My old Huawei Mate 20X actually had a pretty decent pro mode that gave me better control over the lighting and white balance, etc. IDK about how iPhones work, but I do feel like the progress towards letting the smartphone do all the work has meant a step back in the attempts to make a real professional camera for a phone. Most people don’t want or need it, so it’s the market that drives the technology. I don’t know that there’s an answer, but I do think the author is right, even if click-bait-y. Of course professional cameras aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

But also, yeah, I wish there were some sort of camera that was like a phone, but with a 5 inch sensor or so.

This was a great step in the right direction though Samsung abandoned it after the first generation. It was mediocre compared to even the low-end point and shoots but OTOH was miles ahead of all of the smartphone cameras of the time. And it had a genuine 10x optical zoom lens as well @dstrauss.

I still have a functional one in my closet though the battery only lasts about 15 minutes.

Galaxy S4 zoom 16GB (AT&T) Phones - SM-C105AZWAATT | Samsung US

Yeah, I was very tempted with one when they came out. Maybe one day we’ll get another attempt from someone.

That actually had 2 gens of it. The second one being the Galaxy K Zoom, which came out a year later & had a larger 4.8" display. Samsung Galaxy K zoom - Full phone specifications

Personally I was more interested in the Panasonic CM1, which had a fixed lens paired with a full 1in sensor. Lens was a bit slow at f2.8 but I am sure if they kept at it they could have give us a f2.2 in a similar size & stacked 1in sensor Sony brought out.

Cool. Apparently not a US carrier version which is why I missed it. Regardless, it was a good idea, ahead of it’s time.

And related to the main topic. One area where the Canons and Nikons of the world still have a significant advantage is if you want real accuracy versus pleasing results.

My son got a Pixel 7 Pro for Christmas and it both interesting and obvious that each of the high camera smartphone have a unique almost signature loom to their shots and each (Samsung, Apple, Pixel) have their strengths and weaknesses no doubt due to each companies take on computational photography.

And FWIW, If I had to force rank them at the moment, it would be Pixel Pro 7 first, followed closely by the iPhone 14 Pro and the S22 Ultra in a more distant third.

Last but not least, thought they all can nominally shoot in “RAW” they all seem to apply at least some additional processing even to “RAW” output.

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Funny, back in the film days each type and brand had its own flavor of color saturation and balance. I don’t recall photographers being overly concerned about “accuracy” (in the eye of the beholder) but more like “what effect are you shooting for?” and choosing the film that worked best for the goal.

Was the beloved Kodachrome “accurate”? Did it matter?

Is the Mona Lisa “accurate” to reality? :wink:

Reminds me of players of fantasy RPGs complaining about “non-realistic” game mechanics…

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Amateur photographers I think you are right. As to pros especially those that did product or scientific photography it absolutely did matter. The difference was that Kodak, Fuji and Agfa also published technical documentation on each stocks color curve dynamic range etc. Even with something like Kodak’s PanX which was a black and white negative film they produced all types of technical data on how it preformed and importantly would even provide info on specific batch if requested

OTOH, at least with Smartphones, the companies both keep that information as highly proprietary. but more importantly seem to tweak it constantly. Virtually every version of IOS has altered the image processing algorithms in minor or major ways.


No doubt. And professionals like that will be about the last to adopt smartphones instead of DSLRs. If ever. But that’s a given, mentioned more than once in previous posts.

Nevermind. I’m having flashbacks to innumerable pointless rabbithole topics on DPReview forums so I think I’ll bow out of this. Apologies for my contributions towards that.

I agree to a point. I was definitely in this camp of selecting film for the type of shot I was going for. But there were shots I also wanted the shot to be accurate for what I was shooting, at least to a degree, even as an amateur photographer.

This is actually part of why I wish I had more control on my Pixel 6. I’ll sell things that are color specific online from time to time, and getting a color accurate picture of them has been way harder than I expected when I got my Pixel 6.

I’ll also add that it’s not a bad thing that we’ve gained better color accuracy for non product and scientific photography as technology has advanced. My wife used to do wedding photography and videography, and it was great with digital cameras to be able to easily see and adjust your lighting and white balance on the spot to capture the white of the wedding dress accurately. When she worked with film, it wasn’t nearly as easy to do, and required a lot more editing later.

For a lot of other things, do we need accuracy like that? No, but is it nice to have? Yeah, kind of is.