SLR vs. iPhone

A few weeks ago we took a Sunday drive up to the Mirror Lake in the Uinta mountains. We hadn’t been there for a few years and I’d been really wanting to go back.

I’d taken both my dSLR camera and my iPhone. I’d never planned to take a panorama photo using both my dSLR and my iPhone 5, but just so happened to have done both. As a result, I found this the perfect opportunity to show a comparison.

With a dSLR, you need to take three photos (or so) to create a panorama photo later on in Photoshop using the Photo Merge feature. With an iPhone, you can just do a ‘flip of the switch’, so to speak, to change modes to a Panorama feature.

Here’s my results.

The dSLR Version

mirror lake panorama lg

I did enhance this photo a little in Photoshop. Brightening it slightly, adding a little contrast, and enriching the blue sky a little. Overall, not much. But just made it look a little better.

Because I could take three photos, I could get more into my panorama than the iPhone. I was afraid to go too far from side to side with my iPhone in the event it would ‘warp’ the photo.

An SLR will always produce better quality, especially if you increase the size but I was fascinated by the color difference.

The iPhone 5 Version

mirror lake panorama iphone lg

An interesting observation. When my son saw me post the iPhone version on Instagram, he’d automatically assumed that I’d used HDR–a feature also in the iPhone that enhances all aspects of a photo to provide the best representation of the colors in a photo.

I had not.

I was amazed at how blue the sky had turned out.

I can’t decide which one I like better. I really like the blue and white of the clouds and sky in the iPhone version. But I think the quality is better in the SLR. I also think that the coloring in the SLR version is probably a more accurate representation.

What’s your two cents?

2017-05-20T07:17:36+00:00 October 7th, 2014|photography|10 Comments


  1. Christine October 7, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Love the composition of both, and I’m jealous that you live so close to the mountains! I just don’t have the same opportunity here in the midwest. My 2 cents – I like the richer, warmer colors of the dSLR. Compare the mountainside and grass in the foreground. And the clouds in the dSLR are not overexposed – you’re not losing details in the brightest parts. The iphone is a nice shot for a small panorama, but the dSLR is the clear winner.

  2. Jeannie L October 7, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I agree with Christine. iPhone color looks way cooler and I’ll definitely stick to my DSLR. I stayed in Idaho previously for 3 years and I enjoyed visiting Utah. Missing the different places so much.

  3. Audrey V October 7, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I just discovered the pano. feature on my iphone 5 and I’m loving it. I’m impressed with the photos that my phone takes, they just keep getting better. I would have never thought I would scrapbook with phone photos, but I do. And I leave the d-slr home more often.
    I like both of your photos. If you were going to enlarge and frame a photo, then d-slr for sure. But for snapshots, fb and instagrams and even small enlargements, photo photos rock!

  4. Charlene October 7, 2014 at 10:09 am

    At first glance the sky color in the iPhone version pulled me in, but if you look at the detail in the trees, grass and water, I think the DSLR is the winner.

  5. Karen S October 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

    What a neat experiment! I like the color of the grassland in the foreground of the dSLR image better, but prefer the definition of the pine trees in the iphone photo. How’s that for a non-answer?

  6. Tiffany October 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Oh how I love these side-by-side comparisons! At first glance I love the bright vivid colors of the iPhone photo but when you look at the details the DSLR wins hands down. It’s really amazing how far camera phones have come! It’s definitely a good photo if that’s all you had with you but the “big” camera still takes better quality photos.

  7. Ana Balcarcel October 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    My opinion: dSLR definitely. I think the iphone took a great picture and would will be handy when you forget or don’t take your camera along but when I was looking closely, the iphone pic had more noise in the sky area. Not as crisp as the dSLR. Great picture!

  8. Carol October 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I like them both, but the iPhone pic is “flatter” than the richer dSLR one

  9. Brenda October 7, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I like both photos but I prefer the coloring in the dslr photo – just seems to be a bit more depth of color in it but that’s just my 2 cents. :)

  10. Marilyn October 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I am a huge fan of the DSLR, however I think the iphone did a great job. I still think far better detail, more capabilities when using a camera vs iphone. Love the picture!

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