Smartphones vs Mirrorless cameras!

9 months ago 5
Posted in: blog


It all started for me a few years ago while Jack (Graham) and I were teaching a workshop in the Grand Tetons in fall. One especially nice morning, in great light, I shot a quick image with my iPhone 7+ (above). I processed it and sent it to Sherelene and some family and friends. I had started doing that from time to time to simply say this where I am and I wish you all were here to enjoy this moment! Being able to share moments in real-time was the point!


Later that day I put that image in a teaching program and the students
were amazed that it was an iPhone shot, I was too!  Shown through my 4K Canon LCD projector it looked great on the screen, blown up quite large!


That group of students averaged about 68 or 69 years old. In the last
10 years, I can count on two hands, the number of participants to attend our workshops under 60 years of age. Many of us got into photography in a serious way when we were very young. For us photography always has been a “serious” camera, several lenses, a camera bag or backpack and a tripod, that’s just the way it has always been! In fact part of the fun has been all the “tools” we use, the tactile joy of holding and operating a camera, changing lenses, and using a tripod.


By contrast today’s millennials grew up playing video games and being babysat with a mobile game device! Different strokes for different folks!


The question is which is better; your “serious camera” or a smart phone?


Let’s explore that a little! Let’s start with a comparison of Form Factor.


First the iPhone 12 Pro Max:  That’s it, an iPhone and that’s all, fits in your pocket.




Second a Fujifilm X-S10 my smallest lightest Fujifilm body, and the 16mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses that approxinmate the range of focal lengths available on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.  The iPhone has the edge in an even wider lens that the 16mm on the Fujifilm.  


1.  PORTABILITY: Advantage: iPhone for being smaller, lighter and equally good range of focal lengths, and fits in your pocket!



2.  VERSATILITY:  Advantage:  Goes to the Fujifilm system, more lens choices, superior frame rate and bigger juicier files.


3.  Family and Friends Photography:  While the Fujifilm “Serious” camera is more versatile, the iPhone is easier to get shots without affecting people’s behavior.  During the Christmas week we had a lot of family members drop in and I used the iPhone to shoot casual shots.  In Holiday’s past when I lifted a “serious” camera to my eye people covered their faces saying please I haven’t done my hair or whatever.  This Christmas people just beamed and smiled!  Being photographed with a phone is not as threatening to people and I got some great images of family!



3. People photography:  Advantge:  iPhone!



The top two images are with the iPhone the bottom with the Fujifilm “serious” camera!  Pretty amazing, I think you will agree!


4. Nature Images:  Close, but Advantage: Fujifilm Serious Camera.



CONCLUSION:  Is there  winner?  YES, Us, the photo community.  If you want to enjoy the tactile joy of a real “serious” camera with great glass, long glass, super wide glass, big files and rich detail you have it in our modern “Serious’ cameras!   But if you want the convenience of carrying a camera, phone, GPS. calculater and weather report and much more in your pocket, we have modern smartphones, with not bad cameras, within their limitations!   So I will keep shooting my beloved Fujifilm cameras and lenses, but my iPhone 12 Pro Max will be in my coat pocket too!!!


I’ll be happy to own and use both to full advantage!




the pilgrim


I look forward to your input and thoughts!!!




5 Responses

  1. RevDave says:

    Hi Bill,
    always good to hear from a fellow senior 🙂 Totally agree with your take on this. But…

    I would love to hear your perspective on the iPhone 12 Pro Max with ProRaw. Does it make any difference to where the transition point might be between phone and “real” camera?

  2. Donna M. says:

    Hey, you know that I’m an enthusiast when it comes to mobile photography! And it tickled me to no end to show you how to do stream photography with an iPhone, hahaha… I got the new 12 Pro Max a couple of months ago. I like to say that I bought another camera, and this one also does phone calls!

  3. Dr Ellen Rudolph says:

    OK, that does it.
    I am going to go for broke and get the 12 Pro Max today.
    Thanks for your encouragement, Bill! ❤️
    Hopefully there are tutorials out there somewhere?

    Bye Bye, Nikon…
    Age 75

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