Table of Contents:
The Pros and Cons of Camera Phones vs. Digital Cameras
Are you frustrated with limitations of your camera phone? Let’s examine pros and cons of DSLR’s and camera phones to help you make an informed decision.
Are you trying to create magazine-worthy, high-quality photographs and wondering if it’s time to switch to a digital camera? While I debated about this decision for over two years I now use both a digital camera and iPhone camera for my Instagram and blog photos.
Here are pros and cons of both processes to help determine which is right for you. Presenting each side by side will help you make your own well-informed decision.
Whether you opt to stick with a camera phone or go with a digital camera, this post will guide you so you can optimize either process.
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. We appreciate when you shop with us.
First, let’s begin where most people begin, with your camera phone. Obviously the range of quality of your photos depends on which phone you have. There are huge differences among camera phones. In most cases, the newer your phone is the better your camera.
No matter how good your camera phone is, it will never have the versatility of a digital camera. That being said, there are many factors that come into play as you choose which is right for you.
Pros of Camera Phones:
- Convenience. Using your camera phone is convenient. After all, you own it and carry it with you already. All you do is click, edit, and post. No matter how much editing you do, you still have the convenience that it is all happening on your phone.
- Fast. Along with convenience is the time-saving factor. And time is money.
- Easy. The camera on phones is mostly, if not completely automated. Thus, if you are not a trained photographer using a camera phone is a great choice because it doesn’t require special training. Once you learn the easy editing tools on your phone and on Instagram you’re all set.
- Inexpensive. You already own a phone and the camera came with it. Therefore, you aren’t buying expensive equipment. Additionally, you don’t have to take expensive photography classes to take a decent photo. Finally, you don’t have to own a computer or pay a monthly fee for editing tools like Pic Monkey or pro version of Lightroom.
Cons of Camera Phones:
- Limited. There’s only so much you can achieve with the automated settings of a camera phone. There are certain lighting situations where a quality photo is next to impossible.
- Poor Quality. Depending on your camera phone, the best quality you can achieve may just not be good enough to create beautiful photos.
- Low Resolution. If you are using your photos for Instagram only, low resolution is okay. However, if you need photos for your website or blog, low resolution will not be good enough. Also, many brands require high resolution photography for their websites.
If you are tired of the limitations of your camera phone and tired of compromising quality, it may be time to explore the options of digital photography.
Pros of Digital Cameras:
- Quality. The possibilities for amazing photos exist here. When high quality really matters this is your answer. Your skills are your only limitation.
- Versatility. You can use a variety of techniques to create professional-looking photos that you can be proud of. No matter the parameters, no matter the situation, low lighting, too much lighting, it doesn’t matter. With the correct knowledge, beautiful pictures are yours for the taking.
Here is our best recommendation for the right camera to invest in.
Why? It is user-friendly but advanced and very high quality. It is the best value in our experience, and it’s the one we both use. The WiFi connection is key.
Cons of Digital Cameras:
The monetary investment in a low-end digital camera and kit is about $400-$500 and can go up to $1000 or more. I bought the Canon Rebel T-5 with a kit complete with everything I might need for home decor and portrait photography. It came with a small tripod and a wide-angle lens and a dozen other accessories I have yet to use. I already owned a full-size tripod. Amazon had the best deal, and I paid $400.
Click HERE to purchase my Canon Rebel T-5 and kit at the best price I found. This is a very good price but it does not have wifi connection. It is a good beginner camera.
2. Learning Curve
If you are not already a trained photographer the learning curve to begin is real. My Canon came with a manual that was poor. It helped me with the absolute basics, like identifying the parts, point and shoot automated, how to install battery and on and off. Beyond that it was basically useless. I had to start googling and watching YouTube videos to understand anything beyond real basics. I am still learning, mostly by trial and error.
There is significantly more time involved in the digital process. Assuming you know what you are doing (in other words, not including the learning curve) you have more steps to get a picture.
- First, you set the controls depending on the lighting and type of photo you are shooting.
- Next, almost always, you set up the tripod, attach the camera, and adjust the tripod.
- Now you are ready to take your first photos.
- After your photo shoot you go to your computer, plug in the camera, and download your photos.
- Use a photo editing software to perfect your photos. I use Pic Monkey, which is an additional fee per month. Jodie uses Lightroom pro which is a monthly fee as well.
- Now you need to get them back to your camera phone. I usually email them to myself three at a time. Then I pick them up on my phone from there.
- Note that if your DSLR has WiFi connection, you can automatically upload them to your phone and edit on your phone instead of the computer.
A DSLR is a lot more work!
That is a lot more work than just taking a pic, editing and posting. Is it worth it? Sometimes I think it is. And sometimes I think it isn’t. There are times I actually get a better shot using my iPhone because I still haven’t mastered the system, my digital camera or the editing process yet.
Sometimes there’s a disconnect between viewing the photos on my computer screen and my camera phone. For pictures for our blog I am very happy I have the option of my digital camera. But some days I just don’t have time, or patience, for all that extra work when creating for Instagram.
Final Summary: Camera Phones and Digital Cameras
Clearly there are a lot of things to consider before investing in a digital camera. I hope that by weighing the above list of pros and cons you will feel more confident with how to make the best decision for you.
Lastly, some final thoughts to help you decide whether or not you are ready to take the leap to buying a digital camera. Ask yourself:
- How much do I care about the quality of my photos? Are they “good enough” for my purposes? Or do I constantly feel like they are falling short of what I imagine they could or should be?
- How much time am I willing to commit to learning and perfecting the art of photography? Is this something I will enjoy doing?
- Do I have the money to invest right now in upgrading to a digital camera system?
- Do I need high resolution photos for a current or future blog or brand work? If a blog is in your future plans we recommend starting to learn how to use a DSLR now so you’ll be ready.
What’s Right for You: Camera Phone vs. Digital Camera
So, if you answered “No” to even one of these questions you are probably better off sticking with your camera phone, at least for now. A digital camera holds potential and promise but takes commitment. If you aren’t yet ready for an upgrade, then it’s time to focus on doing what you can to improve your camera phone pictures. Time to work on your angles, your ability to capture natural lighting and your editing process.
Ready to invest? Here is our favorite camera again at the best price we have found. Happy shooting!
Hi Julie! I’m really enjoying the new blog! Have you tried using Dropbox? I export my pictures from my computer to Dropbox and then from Dropbox to my phone. Don’t know if it’s necessarily any easier than emailing them to yourself but I thought you might want to try it..
Dear Marlyne, Oh it’s so lovely to have you over here visiting our blog! Thank you! You are such an inspiring and sweet supporter on IG. We feel blessed to be connected, truly we do. Thank you for sharing your Dropbox idea. It would be a similar step, however, I think it might be a better idea because with email I am limited to the size of the email, thus sending 3 at a time. Sometimes I send 5 emails. I know there has to be a better way…haha. You are a sweetheart to help me. I’m going to give it a go. We hope you will continue to enjoy our blog. With love and blessings from us both, Julie & Jodie
Julie… your post nails it perfectly. Using a digital camera, definitely comes with a steep learning curve and is not for everyone! I have always used a a digital camera for photos on my blog, even though I am far from knowing what I’m doing?. Majority (99.9%) of my IG photos are taken using my iPhone 6 Plus and it doesn’t even feel right posting on IG if the picture wasn’t taken with my phone. I like the phone convenience so much better and feel that there are way better tools (free) for editing not available for a digital camera (at least I haven’t found them).
Thank you for sharing your candid opinion!!
Darling Susana, What a wonderful friend you are! Jodie and I feel so lucky to have such sweet, talented, and supportive blogging friends as yourself. It really makes the journey so much richer (and more fun!) Your input is helpful as well. Sometimes I feel guilty if I don’t use my camera for all my IG photos, and yet it is SO much work. Sometimes I have nothing to post because I didn’t have a free hour (or two) to devote to a photo shoot! I find myself being jealous of Jodie who hasn’t invested in the digital camera set up. She is “free” to continue the easy path of camera phone IG posting. What you just did for me is paramount! You just freed me up to say it’s ok to use both. I am so grateful, my darling friend, for your continued support and your blossoming friendship. Jodie and I look forward to growing our friendship as we travel this exciting journey together. Blessings and gratitude, Julie & Jodie
Thanks for all your input!!’ I really love my Sony digital camera but I have always heard good things about the Canon rebel! I am pretty much the paparazzi of our family and I love the way my pictures turn out so much better with the digital camera but I have a lot to learn about the features of the camera! I am satisfied with the ease and convenience of using my phone camera but not happy with the quality at all! thanks again for all your information!!
Dear Tess, Oh my gosh, you are cracking us up! We love how you refer to yourself as the “paparazzi” of the family! You go girl! For any photographer, especially all of us amateur enthusiasts, this is a serious topic and a tough one. The reviews online all seem to be linked to retailers so it’s hard to know what information to trust. We are faced with spending a lot of money before we really know what to expect. I just ordered the iPhone7s so I’m probably going to review that next. The camera is supposed to be amazing. I’ll keep you posted! With gratitude, Julie & Jodie
Wow! I had no idea a digital camera could be so complicated, so for me, I’m sticking to my phone camera, and maybe layer will venture out to learn about a digital camera. Great post! I’m so excited about the giveaway! Thank you!
Sonia, Thank you for coming over for a visit! I’m so glad the article was informative. We wrote it because both Julie and I debated for so long about whether or not to invest in a digital camera. It is a significant investment in time, money and effort, so it is worth gathering as much information as possible ahead of time! Thanks so much for your comment! Blessings, Jodie & Julie
For someone who is really trying to up their game with their photo’s this post has been so helpful!! Thank you so much 🙂
Hello Darling Sam! So good to see you on the blog! We are so grateful for your love and support. We love that this blog post offered you some specific help. Yay! Makes it all worthwhile (as you know). Jodie and I feel so very blessed to have connected with you from across the world…one of the most amazing things about Instagram and blogging…the gorgeous friends we make.
Julie & Jodie
Don’t ya just love PicMonkey? I’ve used it for everything now, even to make some fun items for the guests at my daughter’s wedding.
(That just reminded me I still need to write a blog post about it.) Oh, and I saw on your Instagram where we should mention “March Madness” for a giveaway. (There, I said it, ha.) TFrom the the bball town (AKA bball capitol of Indiana…Bloomington, IN/Indiana University…although, we aren’t doing so well this year. uggh
Welcome Tamara! We are so glad you made it to our blog! Hip Hip Hooray! 31 days, 31 chances…we hope you’ll come back often and then by the end of the month we’ll be such great friends that you’ll never want to leave (insert big ole smiley face here!) Your friends, Julie & Jodie
Hi Jodie and Julie,
I wanted to let you know that this post is in a file on a FB group page that I run. It went into a File as a resource. I’m getting ready to begin sharing the group very soon. I believe your post will be helpful to people later on.
I noticed you have another one about unlocking photos on iPhone. I will check it out later when I’m on the computer and can do more about including that one in a resource File as well.
Olivia, You are such a love! Thank you for passing on our blog post. I think you will also find the iphone post to be helpful, as many of our followers really loved it. Thank you for your amazing kindness and support. We are grateful. Your friends, Julie & Jodie
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I love all of your Blog posts but this one hits home with me as I am trying to learn about how to use my new Nikon D3500. I went out and got the book D3500 for dummies.
I have been practicing with it and I am still not comfortable! I will get there one day!
[…] Benefits of the camera phone: […]
Thanks for the great article! I keep hoping someday I’ll suddenly wake up with the patience to learn to properly use my DSL Camera – hmmm it’s starting to feel pretty unlikely.
What I have discovered though is that investing in some good photography lighting (much less expensive than a good DSL camera), and a little time spent learning to use them, has really upped my photography game. Great lighting along with the latest and greatest iPhone gives me photos I’m pretty darn happy with. The lights have been a game changer 😊
Michelle, We love your solution, and you are correct: lighting is key. It is also tricky to learn but certainly less expensive. Thanks for your wise reply. Happy shooting, Julie & Jodie
You’ve written it so well, and you have some really good ideas. This post is outstanding!