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Is The iPhone X Camera Better than a DSLR Camera?

We’re reaching a time when the thousand dollar iPhone in our pockets is more useful than the two thousand dollar camera around our necks.

How? It’s all thanks to the depth-of-field effect otherwise known as “Portrait Mode.” In September 2018, Apple released the iPhone X. The iPhone X stands out among all other iPhones with it’s dual-lens camera, each lens having 12 megapixels. The more megapixels, the higher resolution, resulting in a better photo. The dual-lens simply means that the phone has two cameras that work together to provide higher resolution photos. It also allows the phone to take photos that look like they were taken with a wide-angle lens or a “long” lens. Canon’s T series cameras average 12 megapixels, just like the iPhone X. DSLR cameras function with many different types of lenses, like a wide-angle lens or a long lens. The iPhone X is said to have the ability to mirror the quality of a professional camera for the first time in history. As a photographer, I always hear with each iPhone coming out that they are getting closer and closer to the quality of a DSLR camera. To see for myself, I decided to compare my Canon Rebel T3 DSLR camera ($550) with a 50mm lens ($125) with an iPhone X ($1000).

When I was shooting with the iPhone X, I was impressed with the quality overall. However, I had to readjust the focus by tapping on the screen a few times because Portrait Mode wasn’t perfect every time. Around the edges of my subject, the lines blur a bit, as Portrait Mode doesn’t grasp the subject as well as a DSLR camera does. Portrait Mode can’t seem to grasp the idea of fine details on the subject, such as strands of hair. To utilize Portrait Mode best, point your phone at simple subjects against simple backgrounds. If you want to take professional portrait pictures, however, you need a DSLR camera to insure your photo will have a high resolution.         

All taken with an iPhone X:

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Although the auto-focus and the blurred effect is impressive, the DSLR cameras still prove their worth. With a DSLR camera, the depth of field–the distance between the subject and the background–is easily controlled. The aperture, focus, and distance of the lens can be changed to smoothly adapt to camera’s environment.

Taken with a Canon T3:

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

The iPhone X, however, does not work well in low light environments or environments with too many details. To use the Portrait Mode setting to its full potential, point and shoot towards simple subjects against basic backgrounds.

Overall, I was pleased to find out how convenient Portrait Mode was and how well the camera worked on the iPhone X, but I will continue to rely on my Canon DSLR. Portrait Mode is very useful, as it fits in a pocket and is very portable.

About the author

Holland Keller

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