Why you don't need a pricey DSLR to be a great photographer

Feb 14, 2018

Many people will tell you that you’re not a real photographer unless you’re using a digital SLR, or shooting in manual, or you can’t be a photographer with a smartphone. Every one of those people is 100 percent, completely and utterly wrong.

I’ve gotten this response a few times when someone catches sight of my Olympus (I have a Pen E-P2). They think that because it is small that it isn’t a serious camera and couldn’t possibly take quality photos. Yet, the photos I capture with it are every bit as good as those from much more expensive cameras.

A Canon 5D or Leica M9, two extremely capable cameras, aren’t going to make you a good photographer. Today, a kid armed with nothing more than an iPhone can take better photos than someone with a $3,000 digital SLR.

A camera is a tool, and a tool is only as good as the person wielding it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who believe that a pricy camera guarantees good photos and they’ll do anything to justify their purchase. Sure, an expensive camera has the potential to take higher-quality photos than a smartphone, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be better.

The best photographers make the most of the tools they have. If all you have is your smartphone, make the most of it. You might not always get the highest quality shots, but photography is about a lot more than resolution. Composition, color, exposure are often more important. Plus, having a few so-so photos to help tell your story is a lot better than no photos at all.

The photo of the jellyfish was captured with my iPhone 7 Plus at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans this summer. The battery in my mirrorless camera had died and all I had was my phone. Did I stop taking photos? Of course not! I pulled out my phone and made off with some of the best pics of our trip.

Shot with an iPhone

Here are just a couple of the many shots I’ve taken around the country using an iPhone. Note: The following photos have been scaled down for faster loading times and the image quality may have been reduced when uploaded.

A Smartphone will never replace a DSLR in terms of versatility, imaging quality and control, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking great photos.

If you want to take incredible shots, learn to use your camera, whether it is a smartphone, a point-n-shoot, a mirrorless camera or an SLR. It doesn’t matter how good your equipment is if you don’t know how to use it.

Still, don’t believe me? Check back next week for my photography story. I’ve never had professional equipment and that’s never stopped me.

Further Reading

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Please comment and share

So tell us in the comment section below:

  • What do you shoot with?
  • Do you shoot with your smartphone? If so, what apps do you use?
  • How were you introduced to photography?

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Tobias Mann

Hi, I'm Tobias. Thanks for checking out Adventure Bent. This project is no longer maintained, but I'm still writing. You can check out my latest adventures at ramblingpolymath.com

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