Been wondering for quite a while now. How much do you gotta spend on a DSLR or whatever, to compete with a smartphone camera? My family has been rigging a smartphone to the camera tripod and taking family pictures that way. Been wondering if I could get a dedicated camera for such events. Without costing a arm and a leg.
Anything from one of the better brands would be an improvement over a smartphone camera. Electronics stores usually have good deals on Canons this time of year. You don't really need a DSLR unless you are looking to make photography a serious hobby or doing it for profit. A good point-and-shoot is plenty for staged photos with decent lighting, moderate close-ups/macro, and light action/movement.
Edit: I still bust out an old Powershot A610 when I want a better picture than a smartphone can provide. It can't do nearly as much as any half decent DSLR, but I got it for about 1/10th the price of a low-mid range frame and a basic lens.
competing is somewhat vague. a lot of these new smartphones are insanely impressive with photography especially when viewed on small screens. the sensors dont compete with pixel density of DSLR sensors which is one of many factors that give an edge to a DSLR and its ability to have the potential of a better quality image. buying even an entry-level DSLR is not going to guarantee better photos over a smartphone because photography its not quite that simple as there is the technical aesthetic of the capturing of an image.
a DSLR or mirrorless camera is going to offer way more functionality than a smartphone can offer (BUT they can be annoying and bulky to carry around for family photos compared to a point and shoot that can easily drop in someones pocket or purse). as mojo said a nice point and shoot is very capable of competing with a smart phone camera. the bonus of a DSLR or mirrorless is extra accessories and lenses that complement the higher potential for a better image. if youre taking selfies, family photos on vacation, etc. then a point and shoot is totally good. if you are interested in testing the waters with photography as a hobby, then a camera that offers changeable lenses isnt a bad choice to start and grow from. ive seen amazing photographs taken by professional photographers with smart phones and ive seen blah photos taken by amateurs with expensive gear. photography is less about gear and more about understanding how the gear works and how it can work for you. bigger better gear than a smart phone is totally more fun but not required for a good image BUT a good image is subjective and depends on how you plan to share that image. a well taken photo from a DSLR has the potential to be printed better than a smart phone image but that doesnt mean you cant print and frame a smart phone picture.
the problem with DSLR is you've gotta learn how to use it. Camera phones have almost no learning curve, press & hold to lock, adjust brightness, shoot. Same for your standard "digital camera" which is what my dad prefers to use over his iphone12MaxS+ as its even easier to capture a quality photo by just pointing & shooting.
R.I.P. Zawarudo, may you OC angels' wings in heaven.
Depends on the smartphone. If we're talking about a flagship smartphone, you're probably looking at some of the higher end point and shoot cameras like the RX 100. It's quite difficult to compare mostly because smartphones have lots of computational resources compared to dedicated cameras which lets them use computational photography to get around a lot of the limitations of small sensors, like pixel shifting for Google's Night Sight. Pentax does this in their cameras to let you get the effective resolution back which you lose from mosaic filters for dedicating pixels to specific color channels. Only cameras that don't do this are the ones using Sigma's Foveon sensor but those have issues with colors bleeding into other channels and noise at even moderate ISOs but these things are a story for another time.
Frankly, photos from a smartphone with a decent camera are going to be more than good enough for everyday people. Whatever detail you get from a high end camera is lost in compression anyways when posted on most social media platforms.
One of the things enthusiasts also tend to overlook the most is convenience. We're willing to sacrifice some convenience for the sake of saving money or getting the best performance but most people care about other things instead. Most people just don't care because they have other things that are more interesting or more important to them.
Edit: If they plan on making large prints then they'll need a higher resolution dedicated stills camera. Smartphones will be fine for small prints (e.g. normal desktop picture frame size) and some medium prints as well.
I'd argue that unless you make money on your photos and/or you need RAW for some reason then there isn't a reason to own a DSLR anymore (unless you just want one).
the biggest tell that a picture is taken with a cell phone and not a DSLR is the bokeh, otherwise it's usually a 50/50 on what has the better image.
everything that's blurred on the phone is done through software, and it applies the effect where it shouldn't/a DSLR wouldn't. the path the guy is standing on near his feet shouldn't be blurry, but father away in the background it should be.
it isn't blurred and is relatively sharp on photo A near the bottom of the photo, it's the DSLR. it's blurry on the photo of B, it's the iPhone.
a lot of people prefer the way B looks even though by looking that way it's the clearly inferior lens.
Eh that's a bit of a simplification. If you stop down the aperture on a large sensor camera everything would be in focus too. Same with keeping the lens wide open where it would get difficult to keep much in focus.
Fortunately portrait mode has been getting far better on smartphones (particularly Google's) so we can simulate the effect relatively decently (with some weird restrictions depending on the camera app or manufacturer).