Can Camera Phones Really Replace DSLRs Ever?

13MP Camera by Samsung

13MP Camera by Samsung

The need to capture every moment of our life is well-recognized now. A 4X4 UltrPixel Camera, A 41MP camera, The classy Exmor sensors or triple LED flash; an Instagram  app , a Facebook image uploads with effects; it  has definitely been a fast change from ordering photo prints to an instant publishing of life.

Recent development in technology in smartphone cameras and their apps has proven that the era of point and shoot cameras is definitely over.  Though companies like Samsung or Cannon are trying to marry the two platforms by bringing over the edge – innovative products like smart cameras or Android powered camera, but the question still arises.

Would smartphone cameras be able to replace DSLR ever?

One of the obvious reason for this sudden change is that nobody wants to carry their cameras  everywhere they go, they would prefer one simple device to do it all for them.

Second obvious reason; try living one day without your mobile phone! You would realize how killing it is. Thus second reason leads you back to the reason one, and thus creating the need of such smarter phones which can solve your need of capturing high quality images or videos on the go.

Thus, companies like Cannon whose major profit center was camera segments are marrying the capabilities on smartphone into DSLR. Gone pass those days, where the reason of not buying the DSLR was mere a price. Past reason of no interest in DSLR cameras, first and foremost since you can’t share or email pictures to world, doesn’t exists anymore!

The numbers of professional cameramen and so-called keen photographer are increasing at a blasting rate. Thus there exists a huge growth in buyers of DSLRs and thus gives reasons to companies to innovate and manufacture such devices which satisfies the need of such growing need & talent.

So now we stand on a stage where we have four sets of people:

  1. One – who just like clicking and keep clicking and sharing and own Smartphone
  2. Two – who actually can take good pictures, use their Smartphone and apps
  3. Three – who don’t know how click good pictures, are self-proclaimed but own or can buy DSLRs
  4. Four – who really can click good pictures, have in-depth knowledge and own DSLRs

For the set one, smartphone and apps really are the best friends. These people have no problems in upgrading or keeping the same phone till the point it keeps serving their purpose. Here, I won’t have any second thoughts that smartphone have completely replaced Point–n–Shoot cameras, if not the DSLRs.

For set two, the smartphone completely rules again. The need to own a DSLR would not arise till the time the photographer actually sees a strong reason to do it. While he clicks a good pictures from a phone’s camera, all the mega pixels and sensors of the world can keep him engaged.

For set three, prove to be a game changer. We know they are not skilled, their pictures show they are not skilled. Thus, these set of people actually set the ball rolling for either the smartphone company or the DSLR manufacturing companies. Because they have a budget in hand, they are the easiest pray to the advertising world.  Nokia PureView, Sony EXMOR or HTC UltraPixel are a definite buy for this set. DSLR Cameras

Finally the hardest set for smartphone is the set four. These are the experts of their fields, have complete knowledge about each and every setting. They have knowledge of how to set exposures, make use of depth of image, flash & shooting modes etc.

Smartphone manufacturer would really have to do something extra ordinary to lure this set of people. For now, there is no replacement in this set and DSLRs completely rule this zone.

Although Samsung has really tried changing the trend here with its smart camera Range, which shares the quality and features of DSLRs plus gives user the experience of smartphone UI in the camera itself. Possibilities of existence of WiFi or 3G connectivity is definitely one step in the middle of third and fourth set of consumers.

Let’s take a look at few important features of DSLRs to understand why set four is critical for smartphone manufacturers.


The iPhone 5 has 12x zoom, the Galaxy S4 has 8x zoom, but the hardcore truth this is still a digital Zoom (which means it isn’t a proper zoom). Digital zoom actually only aids enlarging the view on your smartphone screen, which is similar to clicking a normal picture and zooming it on computer screen while viewing. Set four people do understand the digital zoom tends to reduce the quality of the image clicked, no matter what high MP density camera is provided by the mobile company. DSLRs score high in this point as a presence of optical zoom in a smartphone would mean higher cost and bigger in size, which is not ideal for any smartphone these days



Image Quality

For current scenario, a 8MP camera or 13MP camera can’t be compared to 25MP of DSLRs. The image quality of the pictures clicked by smart phone cameras are more intend towards fun, on the go capturing and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or other social networking website. Being smaller in file size; it’s easy for people to upload via 2G / 3G / Wifi networks. Comparing the image quality and respective file size of the images clicked by DSLR, it’s not easy to directly upload on social networking websites and get fame.


The Galaxy S4 hosts a 13-MP camera with f/2.2 aperture, upgrading the 8-MP, f/2.6 unit in last year’s S3 to capture even more detailed images. The HTC One brings on absolute stunner with 4 X 4 ultra-pixels, allowing for enhanced low-light capabilities when united with its wide-angle f/2.0 lens.

I would really raise my hat to HTC for coming out with such a beautiful device with one of the best camera smartphone available in the market till date.

Shutter Speed

For all smartphone camera photographers, the picture clicked captures what exactly was in the front of the camera. Often we crib about somebody moving in our group pictures or at party lounges. The shutter speed decides who gets into the frame and who not. Small movements are still accepted in smartphone cameras, but similar movements are easy to catch on a DSLR. For example clicking a group of birds in the sky would be next to an impossible task via mobile phone camera, but DSLRs are just great in this.

Then there are plenty of settings which actually create a vast difference and scope of smartphone manufactures to fill in that gap, like video, macro modes, connectivity which are certain points that lets you click good images or videos.


Realistically, the decline of the camera industry has been around in and around the internet for years. The market will always have scope for imaging machinery like DSLRs, which provides a great satisfaction among enthusiasts and professionals. It would be right to leave the topic for an open debate as the bottom of the pyramid (set one, two and potentially three) are being eaten away by Smartphone Cameras. The real game changer would still lie on where we started – would smartphone cameras ever replace DSRLs. (At least for now, it’s negative)

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