DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras vs Cellphones


With the quality of cellphone cameras improving, what would be the reasons to invest in a DLSR/mirrorless camera?

Answer by: Tunali Mukherjee, Photojournalist, Documentary Filmmaker, and Writer

The switch from DSLR to cellphone photography, for me, was more a functional choice than an aesthetic one. Bulky cameras take up space, and in my case, it gave me a chronic shoulder ache. When cameraphones first introduced the manual mode, I decided to give it a try, and frankly, I loved how liberating the phone felt in my hand. The phone’s camera was also less intrusive, so it gave me the added advantage of being inconspicuous while shooting, as compared to a DSLR, which you see so less of these days, that it immediately stands out.

Coming to the question… Can a cellphone replace a DSLR or a mirrorless camera? Not yet—and not anytime soon—at least in my opinion. Purists would say that the biggest reason to continue shooting with a camera is for its sensor size. The last time I checked, cameraphones are at 48MP, but we all know that this is not a real marker for quality, and I doubt that cellphone manufacturers are going to be able to get to the 35mm format quality in this world of sleeker phones. My reasons are more romantic though. The control that a DSLR or a mirrorless gives you over your photography is too empowering to give away, when on a cameraphone. I hated the older phones because of their lag in shutter. While that is not a problem now, I still feel that the bokeh effects they use in their Portrait modes are a cheap replacement to what you, as a photographer, can achieve when shooting via the good old f-stops method. Also, lenses. I see so many people buying different add-ons for their phones, but can you even compare that to the glass of the lenses that a Sony, Canon or Nikon produces?

Overall, both have their merits, but lets not forget that cellphones are trying to be more like DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, with their bokeh filters and 3x digital zoom. Although I am of the belief that the nature of the camera does not matter when creating a photograph, but imagine the possibilities when you use a telephoto lens or one with an aperture of f/1.4! I love that the quality of my everyday life and holiday photographs have gotten better, thanks to my phone, but when it comes to an event or an assignment, I know that I’ll pick up my DLSR, without any hesitation.