Smartphone Cameras vs Real Cameras: Here’s the Truth According to Photographer Evan Ranft

If your eyes have glazed over by the countless videos out there comparing the latest smartphone cameras to real cameras, you’re not alone. The tipping point for photographer Evan Ranft was a video he saw comparing a Google Pixel smarthphone’s camera to a Hasselblad medium format camera.

Ridiculous comparison, right? Ranft thought so too so he decided to make his own video talking about the real pluses and minuses of smartphones vs DSLRs/mirrorless cameras but to make it objective without any “confirmation bias.” We’ve embedded it below.

“They want their smartphone to match up to the camera, so they tailor the test to get the result they desired to begin with to get the clicks they’re going for online,” Ranft notes, while adding that he understands that there are certain situations where a smartphone is perfectly fine for photography.

“Certain photos you don’t need a DSLR, such as when there’s bright midday lighting and you’re capturing a basic photo, you don’t need a $5,000 camera. I will be the first to admit that. A basic photo like this will be a basic photo regardless of what camera you’re using to make it.”

However, there are other instances where a real camera is by far the better choice, such as when you want to change lenses, or need versatility, or want to photograph sports, or want to zoom in or shoot at low apertures to capture beautiful bokeh. Sure, Apple’s latest iPhone has Portrait mode but “it's not the same” as having a fast lens, Ranft argues.

Meanwhile, he’s quick to note “there are no losers” in the smartphone camera vs real camera debate. In fact, he uses both regularly for different situations. Check out his video below where he explains his thoughts and opinions in full and then go check out Ranft’s excellent YouTube channel.

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