selfie battle top toys best camera dslr

Battle for Best Camera: DSLR vs Phone [Overview]

In our endless search for the top toys for travelers, we inevitably have to face the debate between DSLR cameras and the ever improving mobile phone cameras. The battle for best camera begins!

To keep us all on the same page, DSLRs are the large more professional cameras we see like the one pictured here:

battle top toys best camera dslr

Basic Differences:

Cell Phones:


  • More portable
  • Outstanding pictures
  • No effort needed
  • Sync to Google Photo Backup, Flikr, or iCloud
  • Panoramic modes are well  developed
  • Real time filters and editing
  • 1080p and 4K video recording
  • Play music, TV, and movies on the road
  • Social media
  • Whatsapp and SMS
  • Tons of editing apps out there
  • Various models are water resistant


  • They can be, and often are, dropped
  • Storage is not enough (TV, music, AND your photos)
  • Optical zoom and low light shots are weak areas
  • Syncing photos requires WiFi or large data plan (see SanDisk Wireless Connect)
  • Poor low light performance
  • Minimal Controls
  • Digital Zoom distorts images


  • Professional Grade Images
  • RAW format (Samsung S7 shoots RAW)
  • Better zoom since they use actual glass to increase the image size.
    • Phones just stretch and cut the same image
  • Instant trigger speed
  • Stereo microphones for video
  • 1080P and 4K video quality
  • Some models have WiFi built in
  • Tripod mountable
  • Some models are waterproof
  • Low light masters


  • Expensive!
  • Heavy
  • Require some learning


DSLR Camera nikon d5100 india delhi cheap airfare
©Marc Molloy – Shot with my DSLR – Nikon D5100

Ultimately, the battle for top toy is decided by many factors:

  • Where are you going to be using it, the beach or museum?
  • What quality level do you want to achieve?
  • Will there be night or low light shots needed?
  • Will there be fast moving events like sports or racing?

How we shoot…matters 

iPhones (especially the iPhone 7) and Samsung Galaxy phones take truly outstanding photos.  Why carry a camera at all when our phones shoot at 16 megapixels, in low light, and with 4k video!?

Smart phones are amazing. They don’t yet have the capability to replace a good SLR camera, but they can replace the typical point and shoot.  The Samsung S7 can even go underwater!

My S7 gets me through quick shots when I don’t have time to ready the DSLR muscle.  Panoramic mode makes sure I’ve got the big picture (literally), and I tend to favor it for video also.  Double click the home button and by the time my arm is raised I’m snapping that great shot.

If you are ready for more, a DSLR is unbeatable.  You have to be willing to learn and layout a bit of money, but the shot you’ll get in return are worth it.  DSLR photos tend to have a more rich and realistic feel to them.  The color quality tests to be better as well. When you travel you have to decide if you want snaps for Facebook, or if you want an album of rich memories.

In the end the winner is up to you.  What type of traveler are you?

selfie battle top toys best camera dslr

As for me, I am a bit of both worlds. I would never part with my Nikon 5100 or my 18-140 auto focus lens.  I am no professional, but the kit does greatly extend my potential for outstanding photos.  Still, I make sure I have an excellent camera on my phone just in case.  Sometimes it is the best option.

The short story?

  • Low light, landscapes, and fast motion? Get a DSLR!
  • High portability, rich and vibrant snap shots?  Use your phone.

Guess what took this shot:  DSLR or Android Phone?

al ain uae camel races cheap airfare dslr battle
©Marc Molloy – Al Ain Camel Races 2013


Please drop me a note if you want more information, I am always available.

2 Comments Posted

  1. Hi Great post.

    I must say I agree with most of this there really isn’t an overall winner as it depends on the user and situation. Me I take both. The Phone is always on me and ready to snap anything that may pop up but I still pack My DSLR and lug it about when I know I’m going to be wanting to do some proper shooting.

    Honestly I wouldn’t be happy without either. /and as good as phone cameras are getting I can’t ever see them besting the DSLR as the optical capabilities are never going to be possible while keeping the phone …phone sized.

    Well not until we see a step change in technology.

    • There is always that 40MP telescopic phone out there that never really took off. What I am most intrigued with lately are these kits that seriously augment smart phones. Im talking 200mm Sigma lenses with beast grips!

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