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Moving from dedicated camera to iPhone 11 pro

LiE_

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Mar 23, 2013
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Has anyone done this? or thought about doing? I currently own a Fuji X-E2s with a couple of lens which I mainly use to take photos when I go on holiday, taking photos of my wife/son/interesting things. The results are really pleasing, but carrying a camera can sometimes mean I don't take it with me. The iPhone 11 pro camera seems to be a good step-up to the point where it may be a viable main camera. There are obviously pros/cons but I'm more interested if anyone has done it?
 
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mollyc

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@akash.nu uses an iPhone exclusively and he takes amazing photos. But I don't see why you have to give up your Fuji - just decide when you want to prioritize using it, and otherwise use your phone the rest of the time. It doesn't have to be one or the other. :)
 
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mpfuchs

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Sep 19, 2014
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@akash.nu uses an iPhone exclusively and he takes amazing photos. But I don't see why you have to give up your Fuji - just decide when you want to prioritize using it, and otherwise use your phone the rest of the time. It doesn't have to be one or the other. :)

Unless he's selling one to finance the other...

To me the phone is good, but there are always occasions where I'd rather use the dedicated camera.
But it obviously depends on your use case.
 
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akash.nu

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May 26, 2016
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@akash.nu uses an iPhone exclusively and he takes amazing photos. But I don't see why you have to give up your Fuji - just decide when you want to prioritize using it, and otherwise use your phone the rest of the time. It doesn't have to be one or the other. :)

Thank you for the encouragement @mollyc . OP definitely you can choose when to use your dedicated camera as molly mentioned.

Unless he's selling one to finance the other...

To me the phone is good, but there are always occasions where I'd rather use the dedicated camera.
But it obviously depends on your use case.

Exactly! Personally I take it as a challenge to achieve the results given the limitations of a smartphone. It serves a constant reminder to myself that skill matters more than the tools.
 
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Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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Sort of...

I thought about doing it two years ago when my son was born. My DSLR was outdated and I had been on a hiatus from photography for a few years, and the iPhone 7 Plus with its dual-lens system seemed versatile in ways that smartphone cameras hadn't been before. I used the iPhone like crazy, but ultimately upgraded my DSLR. At first it didn't seem like a huge deal, but it quickly became clear that in anything but absolutely perfect light the iPhone's photos appeared a bit blotchy, lacking fine detail and tonal transitions. I regret that the only newborn photos I have of my son are iPhone photos. They're better than nothing, but when my second child was born I brought the "real" camera with me, and comparing the two, it's a night-and-day difference.

I still use my iPhone very heavily, but it has become my dedicated video camera instead... and that's largely due to the H.265 compression on the videos. If my "real" camera did H.265 as well there's a good chance that it would be my primary video camera, too.

The iPhone 11 Pro looks very nice, and I am very tempted to upgrade my 7 Plus for the video options that three lenses would afford. I have no doubt that the phone also handles better in less than perfect lighting, but honestly I'd be shocked if the photos didn't lose detail quickly once lighting became less than perfect. I do not intend to replace my camera with it. I don't mind carrying my camera with me to most places; I would hope that the iPhone 11 Pro would make me feel better about leaving my "real" camera at home a bit more often, but I wouldn't hope for more than that.

But as usual, YMMV and all that. Most of my photography is done indoors these days, in fairly poor lighting. I also have a toddler, and rely on extremely quick autofocus. I'm fairly certain the iPhone won't perform well for me - not for the quality I've come to expect from my photos. But if you're primarily photographing in bright conditions, and/or you find it a hassle to take out your camera (whether due to size/weight or workflow), then it's just a waste. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. I'd add, "the one you end up using" to that saying as well. The 11 Pro is easily the best camera system Apple has included in their portables, and three lens options are incredibly nice.
 
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Moakesy

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Mar 1, 2013
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Thinking about this myself, and it links to a similar thread I replied to the other day about moving from a X to a 11 Pro.

As I'm undecided, I went to the apple store today in Regent St and looked at the phone. As 'just' a phone I don't think it's worth the upgrade, but battery life and camera are tempting. For both these things you really need to live with the phone to properly test them though.

I can't helping thinking that this is the beginning of the end for quality cameras. For sure my Sony A7iii will take better pictures, but I don't use it frequently and I wonder if I should I sell now why it's still worth something.

Tough choices
 
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needfx

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@akash.nu uses an iPhone exclusively and he takes amazing photos. But I don't see why you have to give up your Fuji - just decide when you want to prioritize using it, and otherwise use your phone the rest of the time. It doesn't have to be one or the other. :)

Thank you for the encouragement @mollyc . OP definitely you can choose when to use your dedicated camera as molly mentioned.

oooh, did not know this, well done - had me "fooled"!
 
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mollyc

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I can't helping thinking that this is the beginning of the end for quality cameras. For sure my Sony A7iii will take better pictures, but I don't use it frequently and I wonder if I should I sell now why it's still worth something.

Tough choices

People who love photography and cameras will never turn to an iPhone exclusively. Film won’t even die.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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I think you do a test for a while. Put your DSLR away and try to live with your iPhone. I bet there will be times when you are fine without, but then there will be times where you will be kicking yourself for not having more flexibility. If you can manage, it might be worth a try.
 
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retta283

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Jun 8, 2018
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I could probably live with the 11 Pro camera, and it is fairly stout for what it is, but nothing beats a real rig.

I've considered the 11 Pro for this reason, it'd make some of my shorter travels a lot nicer, not having the extra baggage. Just not sold on the rest of it...
 
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Moakesy

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Mar 1, 2013
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People who love photography and cameras will never turn to an iPhone exclusively. Film won’t even die.
Whilst I would like that to be true, I can’t see it. As generations of film / SLR users get older, the people who replace them will not have the same nostalgia. I’m not saying it’s dead yet, just that I feel given the money that Apple /Samsung etc can throw into R&D, how can traditional camera makers compete In the long term.

it used to be pure physics that meant camera phones were the poor relation in terms of image quality, but computational photography is eliminating that. in 5 years time, what will be the reason for owning a SLR?
 
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cwosigns

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We've all heard it said that the best camera is the one you have with you. :) And that's true, but sometimes it's more about the fastest, most convenient tool. That can very even between phone models.

Case in point: last weekend my Miata club took a drive to a steam train roundhouse for a tour. My nephew and brother-in-law meet us there. Our tour guide asked for a volunteer to ring the bell, and my nephew volunteered and walked up to the train. I could see my partner, his brother, and I all gave expectantly and then remember, "We need to record this!" We all fumbled for our phones, but I was able to get my iPhone 11 Pro Max out and was ready to snap, but it was a video moment and not a photo moment. I suddenly recalled a review I'd seen that mentioned the ability to touch the shutter button and slide it over to start taking video quickly. I was the only one who got the video (partner has a 7 Plus, brother-in-law uses a Google phone).

I used to have a DSLR and would take it on events like this. But the changing of lenses, heavy equipment bag, lens focus noise during videos...the iPhone has been meeting my needs for years now. I'm not a pro, but I take some damned nice pics with my iPhone.
 
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mollyc

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Whilst I would like that to be true, I can’t see it. As generations of film / SLR users get older, the people who replace them will not have the same nostalgia. I’m not saying it’s dead yet, just that I feel given the money that Apple /Samsung etc can throw into R&D, how can traditional camera makers compete In the long term.

it used to be pure physics that meant camera phones were the poor relation in terms of image quality, but computational photography is eliminating that. in 5 years time, what will be the reason for owning a SLR?
My daughter is 13 and the in thing with her age are the Instax cameras. They love their Polaroids. Millennials love film. Cameras will never die. Not for the die hards.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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Whilst I would like that to be true, I can’t see it. As generations of film / SLR users get older, the people who replace them will not have the same nostalgia. I’m not saying it’s dead yet, just that I feel given the money that Apple /Samsung etc can throw into R&D, how can traditional camera makers compete In the long term.

it used to be pure physics that meant camera phones were the poor relation in terms of image quality, but computational photography is eliminating that. in 5 years time, what will be the reason for owning a SLR?
No doubt that smartphone photography is worlds better than it was 10 years ago, but the gains from 5 years ago are not worlds better. The LG G4 came out roughly 5 years ago and it had a lot of things going right, and since iPhone 5, there has been talk of abandoning DSLRs for smartphones. As time goes on, smartphones will replace cameras for more and more users, and that’s fine, but i think there will always be those that not only need the dedicated camera, but there will be those that want the dedicated camera.

It’s not snobbery, IMO—it’s creativity or the satisfaction of doing things “the hard way.” We see it in most every aspect of life. Some folks just like the challenge.
 
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cwosigns

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And of course even some situations stump smart phone cameras. This seems like it should be solved computationally pretty easily, but I guess not.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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And of course even some situations stump smart phone cameras. This seems like it should be solved computationally pretty easily, but I guess not.
That's more to the point. Smartphone photography development appears to seek to take the user where it thinks they want to go, and applies the computational power the best it can. It might even get it right most of the time. However, as your photo suggests, there is still work to do, and I assure you, portrait shots of my curly-headed daughters fair far worse than this! Still, the problem is you are framing a shot and letting a machine figure out how to make it work. They can add flexibility, but will the machine figure out every scenario?

This isn't to take away what people can accomplish on a smartphone, as there can certainly be a challenge to using something with more limitations, and the same general principles can be applied. If I dare make a car analogy, it would be like me driving a sedan around a track and getting a good lap. If I hand those same keys to a Formula 1 driver, he would wring far more out of that car than I ever could. Give that same driver his race car, and he would put those laps to shame. Nothing will ever replace training, discipline, and practice, but the proper tools will also help the master better reach the limits.
 
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pika2000

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Has anyone done this? or thought about doing? I currently own a Fuji X-E2s with a couple of lens which I mainly use to take photos when I go on holiday, taking photos of my wife/son/interesting things. The results are really pleasing, but carrying a camera can sometimes mean I don't take it with me. The iPhone 11 pro camera seems to be a good step-up to the point where it may be a viable main camera. There are obviously pros/cons but I'm more interested if anyone has done it?
That's me, albeit with a Huawei P30 (planning to get the iPhone 11).

My go to camera used to be the Sony NEX-5R mirrorless. At that time in the age of bulky DSLR, the Sony was amazingly portable with awesome image quality.

Then come the Sony RX100. With the mark 3 model, I put my mirrorless on the shelf and the RX100 became my go to camera. It's more compact, and still takes brilliant photos. I already use smartphones as my camera as well, but their single focal lens and sub-par low light images made them only for non critical casual photos.

Then come the Huawei P30. After using it for a while, I put my RX100 on the shelf. My P30 became my primary camera on the go. Not only I travel a lot lighter, it's already my phone and connected to the internet for quick backups and sharing of photos. The camera tricks also make taking some photos a lot simpler. For example, Long exposure. With a regular camera, I would need a tripod and manual controls. With the P30, I can do it handheld with just a few button taps, and still get an amazing photo. The ultra wide and telephoto lens solved the lack of multiple focal lenses of a single camera smartphone.

Using my P30 also saves me time. When I was using my regular cameras, I shoot in Raw to flesh out the true potential of those cameras (their default JPEG processing is okay, but won't really show off the camera's true potential). Thus, post processing is a must (and time consuming). Rescuing highlights and shadows, improving colors and contrast, reducing noise, etc. With my P30, the phone software and hardware did all the hard work in real time. Saves me a ton of time in post processing.

For most people, the smartphone truly has replaced a standalone camera. Does it replace DSLR for the Pros? Probably not. But I can confidently say that the smartphone can replace DSLR for most consumers, especially those who simply use their DSLR on JPEG Auto with the default kit lens.
 
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Ledgem

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I used to have a DSLR and would take it on events like this. But the changing of lenses, heavy equipment bag, lens focus noise during videos...the iPhone has been meeting my needs for years now. I'm not a pro, but I take some damned nice pics with my iPhone.
What camera system were you using? I shoot with both Olympus µ4/3 and Fujifilm medium format. My Olympus lenses are totally silent in operation. I mean, you literally can't hear the focusing unless it's extremely quiet and you're either the one behind the camera or your ear is up against the lens, depending on which lens you're using. Fujifilm's two modern autofocus motor types are a lot quieter than the high-pitched whiny lenses I was using ten years ago, but they're still audible.

As for changing lenses, Olympus again: they have a high-end 12-100mm f/4 with OIS (that's 24-200mm in "full frame" angle of view), which honestly shocked me by how good it was; it outperforms some of my primes. They also recently released a consumer-grade 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (24-400mm in "full frame") that is surprisingly not terrible, but not at the level of the 12-100mm. The 12-100mm is amazing for both video (particularly with IBIS+OIS making for incredibly smooth video despite doing it hand-held) and photos. Sure, a superzoom would be simpler, but this is a nice way to give your camera that versatility. My Olympus body has a dedicated "start video recording" button, too, and the complete silence in operation means that I. can easily switch between taking photos and videos, and nobody has any idea... the ultimate for taking candids of both.

µ4/3 promised smaller and lighter gear, and in recent years they haven't really been developing that way. Smaller and lighter than traditional DSLRs, maybe, and for me it's small and light enough to take almost everywhere, but it's certainly not as small or light as an iPhone.

The iPhone isn't bad, but don't feel that it has to be compared purely to "full frame" systems. While my medium format camera outclasses my µ4/3 camera, the difference between the two is minimal compared to the huge jump in image quality and imaging capabilities comparing my µ4/3 camera and my iPhone 7 Plus. No doubt the iPhone 11 Pro should narrow that gap a little, but I'll be shocked if I come back here to say that they're now close enough that I reach for my iPhone instead of my cameras. (And if my local Apple store would get some in stock, maybe I'd trade up and find out...)
 
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StellarVixen

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Phones camera have came a long way. They are good. Very good. But not as good as quality dedicated camera.
 
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LiE_

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Mar 23, 2013
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I have noticed that the number of times I've taken my camera out this year are down quite a bit from the last couple years. It's my first camera that I picked up in 2017 and at first I took it to everything. Over time the desire has dropped. I still take it on holidays like my cruise recently and I got some photos I'm really happy with. However there are some nagging issues I find:

- I'm in photographer mode meaning I'm not as involved in things as I would be if I didn't have a camera in my hand. This isn't good with a young family. It's one the main reasons I don't take my camera to some events, because I just want to enjoy it and not have to think about lighting, framing, exposure, etc. Taking my camera round Disney wasn't as enjoyable as I'd hoped.

- I'm starting to appreciate video more than photos. I like a good photo, but a video has a special way of transporting you back to a time and place like nothing else.

- I don't feel any urge to go and take photos of things, I did it a few times when I first got the camera while it was still a novelty. It is literally used for family photos now.

The fact that camera phones are at a good level now is what has made me consider this option. They are only going to better each year and I'm more inclined to upgrade my phone than to buy camera gear.
 
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kamikazeeMC

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Aug 18, 2017
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Perth, Western Australia
I've though about this a few times, I like how computational photography is helping bridge the gap (and very keen to see it's progression), but I don't think it will close it. If I wanted higher quality I would still grab the 8 year old A65 I have.

Though I like to travel light and never take the camera with me unless I set out specifically to take shots. I'm just an amateur at best and my biggest problem is that I don't like the majority of photos I take, I need to work on composition and story telling. So I could get away with just using the phone, sacrificing quality but have a camera on me all the time to practice more. But I do like shooting with an actual camera more, framing with the view finder, quick manual controls, capturing motion, stability of 3 contact points to name a few.
 
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Lee_Bo

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Mar 26, 2017
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Greenville, SC
I have never considered giving up my Canon’s, and I never will. While the camera on my 11 Pro Max is phenomenal, I’ve only used mobile devices for 60-70% of my photography. The rest I have to use f-stops and zoom lenses for sports/wildlife/action shots.
 
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maflynn

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I went the other way, in all honesty. I have a OMD EM5, but I was in using my iphone in many situations where I didn't want to lug that around. My iphone Xs, did a nice job, but I found it lacking on a number of fronts. Instead I opted for Canon G5X II, and I'm really enjoying that. I have more zoom then the iPhone, a larger sensor, and the ability to shoot raw. I have more flexibility in shooting and in post to produce some nice images.

I'm not knocking the iPhone's photographic chops, but I think for my expectations, its too limiting. YMMV, and for most people the iPhone is more then enough.
 
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Shanghaichica

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Sort of...

I thought about doing it two years ago when my son was born. My DSLR was outdated and I had been on a hiatus from photography for a few years, and the iPhone 7 Plus with its dual-lens system seemed versatile in ways that smartphone cameras hadn't been before. I used the iPhone like crazy, but ultimately upgraded my DSLR. At first it didn't seem like a huge deal, but it quickly became clear that in anything but absolutely perfect light the iPhone's photos appeared a bit blotchy, lacking fine detail and tonal transitions. I regret that the only newborn photos I have of my son are iPhone photos. They're better than nothing, but when my second child was born I brought the "real" camera with me, and comparing the two, it's a night-and-day difference.

I still use my iPhone very heavily, but it has become my dedicated video camera instead... and that's largely due to the H.265 compression on the videos. If my "real" camera did H.265 as well there's a good chance that it would be my primary video camera, too.

The iPhone 11 Pro looks very nice, and I am very tempted to upgrade my 7 Plus for the video options that three lenses would afford. I have no doubt that the phone also handles better in less than perfect lighting, but honestly I'd be shocked if the photos didn't lose detail quickly once lighting became less than perfect. I do not intend to replace my camera with it. I don't mind carrying my camera with me to most places; I would hope that the iPhone 11 Pro would make me feel better about leaving my "real" camera at home a bit more often, but I wouldn't hope for more than that.

But as usual, YMMV and all that. Most of my photography is done indoors these days, in fairly poor lighting. I also have a toddler, and rely on extremely quick autofocus. I'm fairly certain the iPhone won't perform well for me - not for the quality I've come to expect from my photos. But if you're primarily photographing in bright conditions, and/or you find it a hassle to take out your camera (whether due to size/weight or workflow), then it's just a waste. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. I'd add, "the one you end up using" to that saying as well. The 11 Pro is easily the best camera system Apple has included in their portables, and three lens options are incredibly nice.
Don’t they take pictures as the hospital that you can purchase?

I haven’t had a dedicated camera since 2012. I moved and my husband didn’t pack the charger for our dedicated camera. I didn’t bother buying another one and have just stuck to using my smartphone. We do professional photoshoots from time to time and my dad is a wannabe a mature photographer so he takes a lot of pictures of my children. However for the day to day shots the iPhone has been good enough.
 
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