Why Smartphone Cameras Will Kill Off the DSLR

Once upon a time, we all loved to flaunt our DSLRs. Big hefty cameras with long lenses were a status symbol to show off. Gone are those golden days of DSLRs. Like everything else, we want our cameras to be small, portable, and fit in our pockets.

With small mirrorless cameras that pack a punch and advanced smartphone cameras, the DSLRs are going in the way of the dinosaurs. It’s not long before they will go extinct.

Although we understand the weight of the claim, we genuinely believe the DSLR has no future. Here are some compelling reasons why.

Camera Manufacturers No Longer Focus on DSLRs


The leading DSLR camera manufacturers, Canon and Nikon, have not released a DSLR camera in a while. Instead, all of their energy is geared toward mirrorless cameras and lenses.

As new smartphones come with advanced camera features and no advancement happening on the DSLR side, there is a clear winner here. Why would you consider buying an outdated DSLR if your latest smartphone takes high-quality pictures?

In case you’re still interested, always buy a used DSLR rather than a brand-new one.

Smartphones Are Equipped With Better Camera Sensors and Software

iPhone smartphone camera system

The image quality of smartphone photos has come by leaps and bounds. The latest smartphones produce incredible details and rich color due to their advanced sensors and high dynamic range—a far cry from the pixelated images of the 2000s.

If you’re a keen photographer, you already know that light is crucial for good-quality photos. Your smartphone takes beautiful pictures when the light is right. Thanks to the advanced software inside, your smartphone does well in tricky lighting situations too.

At times, smartphone cameras do outperform older DSLRs, especially in high contrast and low-light scenarios because of the in-built image stabilization and high dynamic range.

For example, Samsung Galaxy S21 has an astounding 108MP camera sensor with 10x optical zoom. So if you can grab such a smartphone with a big sensor and zoom capabilities, you can happily bid farewell to your DSLR.

DSLRs Are Bulky and Expensive


All the extra weight of the DSLR and the lenses are worth it just because of the image quality. But if your smartphone can take high-quality images, there is no reason for anyone to lug around all the weight.

Sure, particular types of photography like astrophotography may need special equipment, but regular users will prefer their handy smartphone cameras. Many small business owners choose the ease of a smartphone camera to take pictures for their e-commerce stores.

Some smartphone cameras specialize in different photographic genres like macro and astrophotography. You can also get adapters to connect your smartphone to microscopes and telescopes and take pictures.

Your Smartphone Can Shoot in Manual Mode

Manual camera settings dial

Even with the improved image quality and all the bells and whistles, some photographers want the creative flexibility of shooting in manual mode. It was impossible until a few years ago. You had to have a dedicated camera. But now, many smartphone cameras can shoot in manual mode.

When shooting in manual mode, you can adjust the three key parameters that make up the exposure triangle—aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. In auto mode, your camera will select all three, but you can get different creative effects like freezing motion or bokeh effects with manual mode.

You Can Take RAW Pictures With Your Smartphone

RAW vs JPEG image of a woodpecker photo

As with manual mode, photographers are obsessed with shooting in RAW mode. The most common file format for photos is JPEG. But JPEG is a compressed format meant for easy sharing. With RAW format, you can get all the information the camera sensor has captured.

You will get much more data from RAW files than from JPEG files. So, shooting in RAW mode will give you the flexibility to edit your photos. And these days, you can take RAW shots with most smartphone cameras, whether natively or with third-party apps.

There Is a Possibility of Interchangeable Lenses for Smartphones

One of DSLRs’ most significant selling points is the possibility of changing lenses. A lens is your camera’s eyes—different lenses give different perspectives and viewpoints. Unfortunately, even the most sophisticated smartphone used to fall short in this area—changing your camera’s lens was impossible.

However, many smartphones now have two, three, or four lenses to enable different viewpoints. Also, they have state-of-the-art software to create various effects. Plus, there are many clip-on lenses for smartphones that you can buy online.

Interestingly, Xiaomi recently unveiled a smartphone, Xiaomi 12S Ultra Concept, that can support interchangeable lenses from Leica. If the smartphone hits the market and succeeds, it will be the final nail in the DSLR’s coffin.

You Always Carry Your Smartphone


The best camera is the one you have—it’s a cliché, but it’s the truth. Your mobile is your constant companion, no matter where you are. And, if it can do everything your DSLR does, would you prefer to use it for your photographic needs? Most likely.

Another perk of using a smartphone camera is blending effortlessly with the crowd; you won’t stand out like with a big camera and long lens. When you travel to different countries, this is a big win. You have all the images without the unwanted attention and weight.

But DSLRs Won’t Go Without a Fight

No matter how advanced smartphone cameras get, there will always be professionals who enjoy the array of DSLR lenses. Also, a smartphone cannot beat the phenomenal battery power of a DSLR or the beautiful optical viewfinder. Plus, the DSLR may give professionals a more creative edge. Some people also like the ergonomics of a DSLR and having a dedicated camera.

Just like record players and film cameras, there will always be people who love the classics. So DSLRs will be around for a while, although not as popular as before.

If you’re a DSLR user, you don’t have to sell it yet. Hang on to it a little longer. We know we are holding on to ours for now.

Still, Smartphone Cameras Are the Future

A DSLR was once a piece of state-of-the-art photographic equipment. Most of us owned or wanted to own one at a certain point in time. But smartphone cameras are taking over. And for good reasons.

Do you enjoy documenting your life and travels? Then, open the camera app on your phone and start learning a thing or two. You don’t need anything else.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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