Smartphone vs DSLR: which one do I use when?

As a Huawei Ambassador and photographer, I often get the question: How do you decide what device to use for each shot? So here is an overview how I decide on which one to use: smartphone vs DSLR.

Why do I shoot with a DSLR

There are many reasons to choose one device over the other. So I will never be able to give a singular answer. But here are a couple of reasons why I like photographing with a DSLR.

  • All of the lenses: Shooting with a DSLR gives you loads of options. Do you want a zoom lens that gives you a wide focal range? No problem! Or a prime lens that gives you super crisp lens quality. Urgh, I love switching lenses and just getting a different kind of views on a subject.
  • Smartphone can’t handle this one just yet: On a DSLR you get such a better performance at higher ISO values. ISO means the sensitivity of your sensor. A higher ISO is more sensitive but can cause noise to appear in your photos. These days, however, most DSLRs know how to handle this.
  • High-resolution photos. Even though my Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a genius device and I had its photos printed in an exhibition, there is no match to a proper Nikon D850. Blowing up pictures as big as you want or cropping out a detail. You just can’t really do that with a smartphone… yet.

So, when do I use my DSLR?

Of course, there are no limitations to when you can use a DSLR. It’s just that I sometimes prefer my smartphone because it’s lighter to carry with me. I do always bring a DSLR with me when shooting:

  • Portraits: because you want to retouch some blemishes or pimples
  • Landscapes: for that high-quality print and cropping
  • Events: because of the ISO. You can’t shoot events on a low ISO.

Why I shoot smartphone

I like photographing with my smartphone because these days they have a great quality. Maybe not as good as a DSLR, but still good enough for a lot of situations.

  • They’re easy to use: Everyone can take a good photo on a smartphone. You don’t need any extensive technical knowledge, the colors are always good, and the files aren’t too big. Perfect for a quick snap.
  • They’re light and portable: A DSLR might not seem to heavy either, but when you carry one around all day, you do get sick of it. A smartphone just fits in your pocket. So easy if you’re going around all day.

So, when do I use my Smartphone for photography?

You can already imagine some situations, right? It’s often the most common photography situations when I decide just use my smartphone.

  •  Travel: I bring my DSLR with me then, but even then I usually just make a quick snap with my smartphone. It’s easier, it does the job right, and I’m not busy developing the photo in Lightroom afterward.
  • Bars and restaurants: I don’t like having my big camera hanging over my food. I’m not a mad foodie person. So I don’t want to look like one. My smartphone can do this job just fine!
  • When I forget my DSLR: Which is constantly. Not that I actually forget, I just don’t take it with me all the time. It’s too heavy to have in my backpack at all times. Also, it’s just too valuable to have it with me on casual drinks and dates.
  • When I’m doing long exposure photography with my DSLR, there is a lot of waiting involved. Usually, that’s the ideal moment to also use my smartphone. Those are the moments I’m twice as productive!

So how do you decide when to use what device? Let me know in the comments below!

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