/ DSLR or just stick with the iPhone?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
JRichardson 02 Oct 2019

Hi all,

Camera advice needed. I'm looking for a DSLR that is no more than £500 without lens etc, any recommendations? Or is it actually worth spending the money, and instead should I just stick with the iPhone as it tends to produce pretty good snaps already.

Looking for something that is good for landscape photography and climbing shots.

Many thanks.

Report
baron 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

My very nice DSLR which I bought about  5 years ago after much debate and research has been used about a dozen times.

It takes very nice images but so does my iPhone. The DSLR is a pain in the butt to carry, especially when climbing, needs a spare battery , a case, lenses, etc and then I have to find a way to display the photos.

The phone has none of these drawbacks.

Unless you’re really into you photography I wouldn’t bother.

Report
john arran 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

The 2 main advantages of an SLR to occasional photographers are the ability to zoom long (and to a lesser extent wide) and depth of field control.

Depth of field will still be an issue, although software is getting much better at simulating the effect. Long lenses are still a huge bonus when it comes to wildlife, but for most uses the absurdly high pixel count in recent phones means that digital zoom is often a very acceptable substitute. And Wide angle shots can often be achieved by panoramic scanning.

In short, unless you're quite keen on taking photography quite seriously, a good phone should be able to do most of what you want to achieve, although some extra photo app software might help.

Report
Adam Long 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Have a look at the ongoing budget DSLR thread - very similar question with lots of useful replies.

Report
richlan 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Going from a phone to a DSLR will be a shock, size and weight for a start

I would buy a second hand Olympus OM-D EM-5 and a lens of your choice, weather sealed, tough, small, takes great shots.

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equipment/used-photo-and-video/used-compact-system-cameras/used-olympus-compact-system-cameras/olympus-om-d-e-m5-ii/

Report
kevin stephens 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Get a good quality compact instead, one that can save images in RAW format will give you a lot more flexibility for good images

Report
The Lemming 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

> Hi all,

> Camera advice needed. I'm looking for a DSLR that is no more than £500 without lens etc, any recommendations? Or is it actually worth spending the money, and instead should I just stick with the iPhone as it tends to produce pretty good snaps already.

Most flagship and midrange phones take great snaps and in the hands of a competent photographer, excellent and well composed images. However for most of the time, phones are primarily used for taking snaps or recording the spontaneous moment.

Using a camera, is an event that you build up to. You actively choose to bring a heavy clunky device with you, in comparison to a phone. And provided that you don't put the camera into Full-on Auto, then you get to choose a myriad of options which can be altered and affected by shutter speed and aperture size.

A climbing analogy could be explained as with bouldering, you take a mat and chalk. With Trad, you take all sorts of kit. You are still climbing, its just that you are experiencing the event in different ways with different tools.

Post edited at 12:20
Report
JRichardson 02 Oct 2019

Thanks all for the advice.

I had an SLR many moons ago (with film!) so the weight and use of it etc isn't a worry. Just contemplating whether to buy another when the iPhone will produce similar results anyway (despite rubbish battery life). Or a compact may be the answer  

Report
HeMa 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

It really depends...

The iPhone will take really good scenery photos. And reasonably good climbing pics, provided you can get close enough.

A proper dSLR (or mirrorless) camera will naturally offer more control for framing (even wider lenses or longer) and for depth of field and so on... But then you'd need to learn  how to use it properly to get the real benefits (fun, but perhaps nor your thing). Also added stuff to lug around.

While I do like my  (gettin' old and worn) iPhone, it really isn't the best for taking pics... mainly due to worn out battery (I prefer to have a working phone when climbing) and also when roped climbing the fear of droppin' it.

So I either lug around a mirrorless camere of sorts (for single pitch panasonic GH4, for multi pitch and to be carried when climbing pany GX800). The smaller mirrorless cameras are a rather good compromise I think, small enough to carry around and more options than just the phone (e.g. GX800, GX880 or older models GM1/GM5, some offerings from Sony and I'm sure from Oly as well). The main advantage of these smaller mirrorless cameras over a compact camera is the fact that you can change the lens... with the cost of slightly larger size... I've managed to break those compacts that have that telescoping lens (ala Sony RX100 or what ever that model was) and the non postruding lens though cameras had horribly IQ.

Report
Robert Durran 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Another thing to consider is whether or not having a viewfinder will transform your experience of taking photos (and possibly the actual photos). 

Report
kevin stephens 02 Oct 2019
blurty 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

I'm an (unfashionable) fan of compact cameras; I bought a tiny Sony compact with a pop-up view finder and RAW capability. It's so small I tend to take it with me, whereas the DLSR only comes out rarely. It's in a different league from a phone camera - miles better.

Report
Street 02 Oct 2019
In reply to blurty:

Likewise. I have a little Sony compact and it's fantastic. It's small enough that I'll actually take it out and use it and it takes much better pictures than my phone.

Report
DancingOnRock 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

I have the ProCam app on the iPhone. 

ProCam 7 by Samer Azzam
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/procam-7/id730712409

Report
Sean Kelly 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Try viewing an image on a mobile when the sun is behind your shoulder, can't see a thing. What about selective focusing or night photography, very fast movement etc. The mobile is a replacement for the Kodak instant camera, consequently 'snaps' is not 'photography' despite what people might argue.

Post edited at 13:58
Report
Jamie Wakeham 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Modern phones really are pretty damn good now.  I have fairly big enlargements of landscape images from my Pixel 1 and my Leica M8 next to each other on the wall - whilst they look different, you couldn't pick out which was the phone shot.  But the SLR will give you much more control; for some shots it won't make much of a difference and for others that will be crucial. 

Report
The Lemming 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

My Pixel 3a is breathtaking when it comes to taking photos, especially in nighttime mode.

If I used my Panasonic GH4, then I'd need a tripod and ask the surrounding world not to move for several seconds at the very least.

Report
deepsoup 02 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

> The 2 main advantages of an SLR to occasional photographers are the ability to zoom long (and to a lesser extent wide) and depth of field control.

An alternative way to go for the long zoom at least might be a cheap second-hand 'bridge' camera.  I currently have a Panasonic DMC-LZ30 that cost me all of about 50 quid. 

It certainly won't do everything an SLR will do (and it lacks a viewfinder), but it's a *lot* more capable than a phone.  It's also a lot more capable than me - the thing that limits the quality of my photos is my own eye and (lack of) talent, so there would really be no point me having anything better.  A significant bonus for using it during erm.. 'outdoor adventures' is that I don't have to worry too much about breaking it.

Post edited at 14:07
Report
Le Sapeur 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Obvious answer is both. Unless you are planning to dump your phone?

Report
alx 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

What is the problem trying to solve?  If it’s snaps to print out and stick on your wall, on your FB or IG then stick with a phone camera. I would only bother with a DSLR if you are interested in trying to do something your phone can’t, this comes at a price in terms of equipment, software, time and energy and putting up with the learning curve that will mean you will utterly suck at it for years.

Report
balmybaldwin 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

When I'm out with my proper camera and big lens on I will often snap a landscape or quick macro shot on my phone rather than swap a lens if I'm out birdwatching or looking for wildlife, but if I'm out to take landscapes and such then I'll take my SLR and a suitable lens.

When the light is kind a phone can take some great shots, but they are never as sharp as on my SLR

Report
The Lemming 02 Oct 2019
In reply to alx:

> this comes at a price in terms of equipment, software, time and energy and putting up with the learning curve that will mean you will utterly suck at it for EVER.

FTFY

Report
Robert Durran 02 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

Taking photos with a "proper" camera with a viewfinder can be a real pleasure cannot be replicated with a phone however good the quality. I have a top end compact which can take great photos, but the actual taking of them, peering at a screen and having to faff with menus in order to do anything other than point and shoot is a rubbish experience in total contrast to the pleasure of using my "proper" camera.

Post edited at 21:39
Report
Blue Straggler 03 Oct 2019
In reply to alx:

>  I would only bother with a DSLR if you are interested in trying to do something your phone can’t

Well said, a lot of people seem to overlook this and for me it is the key thing, beyond purely "image quality". 
Here is an example of where I ended up somewhere with only my iPhone and the pictures look good enough quality but I felt restricted by the wide angle and the resulting perspective, unless I stood back and later did a digital crop. I wished I had any sort of camera (dSLR, mirrorless, compact) which would have given me a bit more versatility
https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-straggler/albums/72157678808455268


I mostly shoot concerts and the dSLR is essential for anything other than a wide shot (also it means people behind me don't have to put up with the output from a phone screen spoiling their concert)

You can't do this with a phone, but if the OP doesn't want to, then that's fine!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-straggler/albums/72157709924017017

All that said, I do use my phone (iphone 7) a lot for photos especially when wandering around a city (I make a few trips to Europe each year and tend to have a nice wander especially around Italy) and it is very good, it saves me a lot of lens changes when out and about (actually saves me carrying a wider angle lens a lot of the time) so don't think I am some phone snob! It's about "where are the limits and do I want to spend money and energy overcoming those?". Often on these wanderings I'll have a "proper" camera with me too, and it's probably about 50-50 shooting with camera and with iPhone, and then the results tend to show nicer pics (not in terms of quality but in terms of fun and spontaneity) from the phone. Editing also seems quicker as you just do it quickly on the standard phone app (I have galleries labelled "iPhone pics from xxx" from ages ago, where I still haven't bothered to "work" on the "proper camera" pics as I need to be at a desk with my MacBook Pro and faff on with it all!)
 

Report
Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator03 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

> Hi all,

> Camera advice needed. I'm looking for a DSLR that is no more than £500 without lens etc, any recommendations? Or is it actually worth spending the money, and instead should I just stick with the iPhone as it tends to produce pretty good snaps already.

Might seem obvious but what about a quality compact - I am currently using a Panasonic TZ100 and it is much better than a phone, much cheaper and more portable than a DSLR,

Chris

Report
LeeWood 03 Oct 2019
In reply to JRichardson:

smartphones are just too convenient these days - but is this really true on the crag ? they are so slippery ! what means is there of securing them ? They must get dropped too often ??

Report
The Lemming 03 Oct 2019
In reply to LeeWood:

You could always drill a hole in the corner and attach a lanyard to the phone.

Report
wintertree 03 Oct 2019
In reply to john arran:

> Depth of field will still be an issue, although software is getting much better at simulating the effect

The newest iPhones are almost unbelievably good at it.  It’s not just software but stereoscopic and dot projector 2D ranging (depending on which camera).

Report
Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator03 Oct 2019
In reply to LeeWood:

> smartphones are just too convenient these days - but is this really true on the crag ? they are so slippery ! what means is there of securing them ? They must get dropped too often ??


In the past three days I have seen two people 'drop' their phones while climbing - fell out of a back pocket in both cases. One survived one didn't.

Chris

Report
John2 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Long live the Rockfax app.

Report
mike123 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs: this thread and the dsIr one have got me thinking . I  would "almost" never get my phone out on a multi pitch route On the  basis that  I don't back it up often enough and I know what would happen to it. I usually leave it in the car or turn it off and put it away . I no longer carry an alternative and so don't take pictures . for years I , like many people.i think , would carry a compact in a Ccs case in an accessible place with various jerry rigged anchor systems  ( posh string ) and take snaps when possible. Most of the compacts got lost or broken but I saw one of them in a draw the other day and if I can find a charger ( un likely ) I'm going to start using it again . 

Edit : so my reply. To the op....get a camera !

Post edited at 06:54
Report
Blue Straggler 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Have I bored everyone to death yet?

Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.