Can Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro actually compete with a professional DSLR?

Can phone photos actually compete with a professional DSLR? CNET took the iPhone 11 Pro on a road trip through the Scottish Highlands to find out…

Andrew Hoyle for CNET:

CNET considers the iPhone 11 “the best $700 iPhone Apple has ever made.” This enthusiasm is largely driven by the phone’s camera upgrades and the iPhone 11 Pro’s triple-camera array takes that further with the addition of the 2x telephoto lens. It’s why I was so excited to jump in a McLaren supercar, head for the wilds of Scotland and see what the iPhone 11 Pro camera can really do.

My plan for this trip was to see how close the iPhone 11 Pro’s images can get to my professional Canon EOS 5D MkIV DSLR. For the most part I shot in raw format using the Moment app and processed the images in Lightroom Mobile on the phone itself. As this is how I work with my pro equipment, it seemed the fairest comparison.

I set out to see whether a phone camera can capture a journey like this as well as my DSLR could have and I genuinely think it’s a close-run thing. I was seriously impressed with the images I shot with the iPhone and there were many images that I couldn’t tell whether they were taken with the phone or the professional camera. That’s not something I’d imagine saying even a year ago.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s cameras team has really done a remarkable job with the iPhone 11 Pro!

Check out all of the many photos and videos in the full article!

18 Comments

  1. How in the world can a truly valuable comparison of two cameras be made with the web used as the viewing template? When I view the two sets of pics, I can only judge composition. There are waaay too many variables influencing image quality that prevent anything other that a superficial confirmation the iPhone is on par with the “pro” Canon.

    When the author of the article said he liked the reflection on the McLaren produced by the iPh vs the Canon, all authority in his efforts blew…as if the iPh has a unique way to handle reflection. Let’s just call it variables in natural light, photographer’s position/stance and perhaps some camera setting of which he wasn’t aware. He was probably just aroused by the look of the McLaren he preferred.

    From all I’ve read, the iPh 11’s cam is great and industry leading, but these kinds of articles are an absolute joke. Associating such a “clown-show” with a fine piece of technology is round-peg-square-hole-ish.

    1. “When the author of the article said he liked the reflection on the McLaren produced by the iPh vs the Canon, all authority in his efforts blew…as if the iPh has a unique way to handle reflection. “‘
      Unique way is just as good as any way for a preference, if that is what you want. He didn’t say it was better technically but I can well imagine the iPhone’s deficiencies actually helped given that coping with reflections on shiny products, has spawned a wide range of sprays, polishes, screens etc which aim to reduce micro contrast on highly reflective surfaces. The iPhone probably…nay, most definitely lacks the ultimate resolution to make that a problem.
      I have cameras that I use for specific ‘looks’ , not their technical excellence: bent lenses, wonky mounts, film plane misalignment- they’re all unique ‘looks’ I prefer more than a purely accurate portrayal.
      My2c

    2. I make my living as a photographer shooting with a 5DmkIII and MkIV but I also sometimes shoot with my RX100mkII, my GoPro and various other cameras depending on the shot. And yes, iPhone photos can be just as good as those from my 5DmkIV depending on the shot and I’ve had photos published from all of these cameras. No clown show.

      1. One can get images published from a pin-hole camera–lowest quality technical photo image possible. These cameras can “compete” with the highest resolution and most expensive cameras on the planet, as it relates to visual impact, imo. But, I don’t think the article was written questioning if the iPh can create images as artful as a pro cam. I thought it was easily assumed it not the cam, but the eye behind when talking about artful?

        Btw, selling images, or being published doesn’t have anything to do with the premise…which was; using the web to verify image quality (technical) is a joke. Though the image may be technically of a high level, the quality of the viewer’s screen/device and the calibration have to be on the same level to translate quality. Even in the most ideal situation–highest resolution and color balanced screens–the image is still a web image, which means low DPI/pixel count. No RAW image is going to translate RAW nuance and detail on your device. With this reality, to think one is getting a fair comparison of true image quality between two devices, is the clown show.

        Read the post, it was never stated the iPh image quality was lesser than the pro cam. From all I’ve read, I laud the iPh 11 cam.

            1. Right! Also, the wrongful votes of liberals manipulating outcomes of posts they do not like. Sean, KingMel and other liberals lecture us on how low votes are somehow meaningful. NOTHING MEANINGFUL!!! The votes are a clown show and manipulated daily having NOTHING to do with the truth. My votes are consistently low and proud of doing something RIGHT…

  2. No, the iPhone can’t directly compete against a DSLR in terms of photo quality, but most consumers don’t care about things like that. Such silly comparisons are a waste of time.

  3. The iPhone 11 Pro can compete in narrowly defined applications. If I was selling passport photos or documenting small parts for an industrial application both are fine. Of course, the canon is much more versatile with a fantastic array of available lenses.

  4. I got five out of five correct! Yay. Quick way to spot difference is simply the iPhone boki is exaggerated. I think this is a good review, most consumers do not need a DSLR, most phones are now good enough for most stuff. (Spart from Night or fast moving shots). However make no mistake people’s you try shooting your wedding, product or fashion on a phone and you will be disappointed. Professionals will still use traditional cameras. I shoot with a D1X, Fuji X100F, On an old film dslr and my iPhone. Customers pay me most for x100f and film work, corporate stock work needs a dslr and for my kids, I love my iPhone with great composition and the boki turned down!

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