Dispelling the myth: DSLR vs iPhone

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 3:35 AM By Stephen J Christophers

Dispelling the myth: DSLR vs iPhone; "All I need is a phone camera!" This seems to be a rather controversial topic currently, and I'm wondering if a blog post could be a good way to set the record straight. For those with IT literacy you would already know the distinction between both devices. So, this is just a brief summary for those who do not understand or would like to know a little more.

Somebody once said to me, "All I need for my business is a phone camera to take pictures of new stock when it comes in, it's great! With direct access to the internet and social media." They are absolutely right. They take fantastic snaps, and will automatically set-up your cameras ISO, F/Stop, exposure time and other functions like flash and red-eye, etc. They also take great holiday snaps, with ease, and offer a full range of selective filters that turn your latest shot into a digital masterpiece. So, are DSLR cameras just a waste of money?

The latest iPhone prides it's self on a fantastic image sensor. It offers usability and the images look great! Nevertheless, the camera renders a 72dpi (ppi; pixels per square inch) image @ 8 megapixels, or a resolution of 3264 x 2448. Some phones offer a higher standard image size although most render 72dpi. 72dpi is the web standard for images and at this resolution on screen images look fantastic. However, the print standard is a whopping 300dpi, with a tendency to go as high as, if not beyond, 1000 dpi. So, what does this mean? If we take an image created on an iPhone at 72dpi and convert it into a 300dpi image the print size seems to be dramatically reduced in comparison to the digital resolution of 3264 x 2448. "Oh! Fuck!" you retort in disappointment. "Oh! Fuck!" is absolutely right. As your true print size for that beautiful masterpiece is now at a tiny 10cm by 8cm, beyond which your image will start to reduce in print clarity. There's the "One Foot" rule... Nevertheless, I would need to consult the theory of relativity. So, I'll spare you further insights.

When I produce my artwork it is created using a DSLR camera at a print standard, with an average size of 35 megapixels @ 300dpi. This has a tendency to work in both positive and negative ways. It reduces the quality of what you see, due to the compression of detail at web format. It also makes it very time consuming to run those standard fillers found on most phones; and, rendering time is dramatically increased. Therefore, most images are manually edited in Photoshop. When you create images for print, they are best viewed at full resolution in print.

The above image has been processed using High Dynamic Range & Tone Mapping HDR. HDR is a relatively new style of editing photographic images. For more information on this process please visit my post, "Creating High Dynamic Range". If you are interested in purchasing a signed and certified print(s) please feel free to contact me.