The biggest difference between a smartphone camera and a dedicated camera is the ability to use different lenses. The importance of good glass cannot be understated. High-qua lenses produce unparalleled sharpness and image quality. These photos look crisp, detailed, styled, and hyper-real. They look like photographs instead of snapshots.
There are external lens attachments that you can add onto your iPhone, these are an improvement over the default lens in the iPhone… but the quality cannot compare with a DSLR lens.
With a smartphone, you may experiment with framing, which is very important, but you won’t really be able to experiment with light, exposure and depth of field.
If you want the camera just to take the usual this and that photos, you are probably not missing out very much. The computational support in the phone has come quite a way.
However, you will notice some limitations: Due to the small sensor, the performance in low light is limited. The phone’s image enhancement will do its best, but it cannot completely negate the limitations of the small sensor.
Things you can do with the phone, you probably cannot do that easily with the entry level DSLR:
- Filming without knowing what you do, including slow motion
- Carry it around you ALL the time
- Photos in very wet environments
- Automated panorama
Things that are hard or impossible with a phone:
- Low Light Photography
- Anything that needs long time exposures or filters (like ND filters for landscape)
- Anything that needs a flash (you will have to use continuous light for any elaborate lighting, but then might suffer again from more noise and you cannot easily freeze action with continuous light)
- Zoom lenses; The best phones have a 5x optical zoom lens, equivalent to ~130mm. With a DSLR you can get a 400mm-equivalent lens cheaply (250mm lens on a crop sensor).
Now you can rent various Phone accessories like tripods, cage, gimbals and lenses from Paxton Equipments.