Oct 6, 2022

iPhone vs Manual Mode DSLR

Phone cameras have come a long way, haven’t they? Because of that, I don’t feel pressured to lug my DLSR or mirrorless camera around every day to get good photos of my kids. Since my iPhone takes decent photos and videos, not to mention I can share them quickly with friends and family, it’s easy to keep it in my back pocket and just quickly pull it out.



My iPhone photos don’t come close to the quality I get when I use my DSLR in manual mode. Even when I use “portrait mode” on my iPhone. And look…I’m a professional photographer. It’s not like I’m a 5 year old trying to get a good portrait photo on my dad’s phone here. I’m actually trying.

All of that gets me to the point of this post:

Can you head to the local park (just like I did below) and get photos of your family for your holiday cards on your phone’s camera? Of course, you can. Are you going to get decent results? Sure. But you won’t get GORGEOUS results.

They say the best camera is the one you always have with you. True. But on the other hand, the camera you always have with you (your phone) won’t take the best photos.

Your phone has a LOT of jobs…texts, phone calls, email, web browsing, signing documents, playing games, organizing school homework, checking the weather, social media, tracking apps, calculator…You get the idea. But your camera? It has ONE job. To take photos. Now which do you think would be the best option on getting the best photos?

Below are examples of images taken with both my iPhone 13 ProMax alongside images taken with my Nikon d810 on manual mode. (Manual mode means the photographer controls ALL of the settings. This is different from Auto mode where the camera decides the settings for you.) Please note: NONE of these images were edited in photoshop or lightroom. These photos are UNEDITED.

In the following sets, iPhone is shown on the left or top and taken in portrait mode. (What’s with that distortion in the first iPhone photo?! Yikes.)

iphone vs DLSR

So there you have it. Phone camera vs. manual mode DSLR. While my phone is great for quick photos here and there? If I want gorgeous photos of my kids (and clients, of course) I’ll always turn to my camera.

But hey, it’s not JUST the camera. It’s shooting in manual mode where I control all of the settings. Be on the lookout for another post on Auto mode vs. Manual mode. Now that? Is a good one, too.

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