Camera Shootout: Can an iPhone 6s Plus beat a Nikon DSLR?

“To see whether smartphones are good enough to compete with DSLRs, we put our top-rated camera phone, the iPhone 6s Plus, up against our favorite sub-$500 DSLR, the Nikon D3300,” Sam Rutherford writes for Tom’s Guide. “”

“The iPhone 6s Plus starts off with a pretty sizable disadvantage, and we’re not just talking about the device’s higher price tag. Starting at $749, a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus costs $300 more than a Nikon D3300, which goes for about $450, and that’s with the Nikon’s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens,” Rutherford writes. “Of course, the iPhone offers more than just its camera features, which helps put the price difference in better perspective. But Apple’s phone also suffers from a lack of resolution when compared to the D3300, as it features a 12-megapixel sensor versus 24-MP for the Nikon.”

Rutherford writes, “In the end, though, it comes down to one simple question: How do the photos look?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The performance of iPhone 6s Plus is amazing and the quality of the photos it can produce would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago. We can’t wait for the iPhone 7!

24 Comments

    1. If you read the actual article, which I did, you find yourself disagreeing with the author on two of his judgements. He found the DSLR better than the iPhone 6 out of 10 times, and the iPhone better 4 out of 10 times. However, from my looking at his pictures I make it out to be more 50-50. Pretty impressive for a tiny camera on a phone!

      1. If you’ve ever actually used a smartphone to take photos before you’d be well aware that these photos that they present as being representative of the ASTOUNDINGLY HIGH QUALITY of the smartphone camera are, somehow or another, simply lies.

  1. Well was going to read this but. The ads keep
    popping up over the articals at all zoom levels.
    Used to be able to download the articles also. Not anymore. This app sucks worse than the last.

    1. Be careful about complaining about MDN ads, they ban you if you complain about the onslaught of ads. I’ve been banned 3 times, but you can’t block a savy internet user.

  2. iPhone 6 and 6s photos are great and I use my iPhone for pictures a lot. However, it can’t come close to matching my 6D and lenses and it never will. There are physical limitations of a small sensor.

    However, the best camera is the one that you have with you.

      1. You don’t want the sensor to reduce in size. A bigger sensor has its advantages besides image integrity. Since a small sensor needs to be magnified more than a large sensor, it can tolerate less blur. A small sensor therefore has less depth of field than a larger one. Meaning you won’t get any blurry background with subject in focus kind of shots.

  3. That’s why on my next trip, I’ll be taking my Oly OM-D and my iPhone 6 plus. They’re not the same, but the iPhone does an incredibly admirable jobs in many situations. Not so hot if you plan to enlarge the final print to 20×30 or larger.

  4. The iPhone is great for lots of simple photography, but can’t compare to a large sensor with a zoom or fixed prime telephoto.

    For still shots I sometimes use CortexCam. It takes a hundred or so images and averages them to greatly reduce noise. Especially helpful in low light situations.

  5. I use my Nikon D5500 much less now that I have a 6s Plus. The iPhone really does take remarkable photos for some situations. It doesn’t do well with some kinds of landscape shots on bright sunny days, the proper lighting situation is critical for a good shot. But there are a lot of photos that actually come out better than with my Nikon, so the iPhone is pretty amazing, considering the technology.

  6. These articles are so dumb IMO. I mean, there’s so much more to it than even the dimensions he examined it by.

    For example, the iPhone is the “camera you have with you,” so by that metric it wins. However, let’s say I was on vacation, and knew I’d be taking pictures for hours and hours. A DSLR because of the optical viewfinder can be ON, and take over a thousand images over many many hours. An iPhone because of the screen could be dead in a relatively short time.

  7. Totally useless comparison. It is only for those people who take “snapshots” and never post-process. And, if you always use the “auto” settings on your camera. And, if you only use the crappy kit lens that a cheap DSLR includes.

    This is NOT a pro-DSLR vs smartphone comparison, but if you’re an amateur photog who thinks using a cheap DSLR with cheap glass on its auto settings is better than just using a smartphone, then you’re wrong.

    Besides, after the intro where the Tom’s Guide writer wrote:
    “But Apple’s phone also suffers from a lack of resolution when compared to the D3300, as it features a 12-megapixel sensor versus 24-MP for the Nikon.” I knew he wasn’t a pro. Any professional photog knows that resolution is not measured by megapixels.

  8. Any camera is just a tool.. They all have their limits, it’s knowing what they are and working within there realm and what they are capable of doing.. As a photojournalist, I am constantly hearing people say, ” if I had a camera like that, I could take great photos”. Van Gogh, Picasso and all the great artists were great because they bought expensive brushes?
    I can shoot circles with iPhone 6 plus around the majority of people…

  9. The best camera is the one you have with you. Unless you’re a pro photographer your DSLR is sitting at home 99.9% of the time when there’s something worth taking a photo of, while your iPhone is in your pocket always.

  10. These articles are idiotic. The iPhone6 cameras are just bad.You may be able to coax a useable photo out of them, but it works. Just look at FB with all the blurry photos people post. First and foremost its about the GLASS you use on a camera, cell phones DO NOT have good glass. A cell phone will never be able to reproduce an image quality glass can. Putting up an iPhone6 against a kit lens(garbage) and it still can’t compete. Put on a $100 25year old Nikon 50mm prime and it will destroy an iPhone in all photos, simply because it’s quality glass. Please people who don’t know how to use cameras shouldn’t put them in rigged tests to make the iPhone camera look better to the Facebook “photographers”.

    1. Just bad?? Hardly. Maybe you should read why pro photographers like Jack Hollingsworth has to say about them. We’re all entitled to our opinions but I think you’re well wide of the mark. At the end of the day if folk want to use an iPhone then let them. Mobile photographer is growing at a rate not seen before.

      1. I have to agree that the iPhone camera is bad. Can you get useable images out of it? Yes, but it’s not easy. There is no substitute for exceptional glass. iPhone images, even in the hands of a pro, tend to be soft. You’re not getting tack sharp images, lack of dynamic range, lack of depth of field, lack of native ISO, lack of raw images, just to name of few. There is a reason they always run these tests against DSLRs that are the bottom of the barrel ,with a kit lens and shoot in an automatic mode. Just bad? Yes. Junk? No.

    2. >The iPhone6 cameras are just bad.You may be able to coax a useable photo out of them, but it works. Just look at FB with all the blurry photos people post.

      Exactly. This is my experience too. I got a new smart phone a while back and had been reading about how incredible its camera was supposed to be, but then I tried to take a picture in any setting that didn’t have 100% perfect lighting and the pictures were terrible. I’m half convinced they take pictures with a DSLR and then claim that they took them with an iPhone.

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