Today’s smartphone cameras are ridiculously good, a better investment than DSLRs

The phones we carry in our pockets today are absolutely amazing. We tend to lose sight of this  because they’ve been in our lives for more than a decade...

The phones we carry in our pockets today are absolutely amazing. We tend to lose sight of this  because they’ve been in our lives for more than a decade now, but those annual iterations have delivered us to a place where the cameras, in particular, are producing some absolutely stunning results.

One of the product categories impacted by the convergence of multiple technologies into a single device, dedicated cameras, now represent a shrinking market.

A few years ago, you couldn’t go to a wedding, birthday party or Christmas gathering without multiple DSLR’s popping off their lens cap and firing the shutter to capture the special moment. Now, attend a similar event and it’s completely dominated by smartphones capturing those memories.

Ultimately the reason for this is the amazing quality of photos and videos made possible with today’s smartphones, particularly the flagship devices. Holding the top spot on DXOMark’s leader-board, the best smartphone for photography is the HUAWEI P40 Pro with a score of 128 and it’s easy to see why.

Multiple lenses

The best smartphones today don’t just ship with a single camera lens, instead, they offer an array of lenses that combine to capture amazing photos in any situation, all in a single device.

The HUAWEI P40 Pro features an Ultra Vision Leica Quad Camera which includes a 50MP Ultra Vision Wide Camera, a 40MP Ultra-Wide Cine Camera, a 12MP 5x Optical Telephoto Camera and a Time of Flight (ToF) camera.

  • The Ultra Vision Wide Camera features a 1/1.28-inch RYYB sensor with 2.44μm large pixel and supports Full Pixel Octa PD AutoFocus and optical image stabilisation.
  • The Ultra-Wide Cine Camera features a 1/1.54-inch sensor and lens that has an equivalent focal length of 18mm. When taking videos, the camera adopts the 16-in-1 SedecimPixel Fusion Technology to reach the pixel size of 4.48μm and the max sensitivity of ISO51200. It also supports a max rate of 7680fps.
  • The 12MP 5x Optical Telephoto Camera adopts an innovative periscope design and RYYB CFA, supports OIS, 5x optical zoom (125mm equivalent focal length) and 50x digital zoom.
  • The ToF Camera collects accurate depth-of-field information, achieving extremely accurate segmentation and progressive Bokeh effects.

If you find yourself at the snow this winter and want to capture the whole ski run or a snowball fight, then changing lenses is as easy as tapping or sliding the zoom control.

Imagine you then head to the bar after a long day on the slopes and are enjoying a drink to relax. You notice the light is reflecting nicely off the ice cube in your tumbler. You whip out your Huawei smartphone, hold it close to the lip of the glass, tap to focus and snap the image, capturing the moment in stunning detail despite the room being dimly lit.  the P40 Pro is incredibly capable of shifting between day, night or shadowed light to give you that perfect artistic shot.

Now that your expensive DLSR and all its lenses are safely back home in your office drawer, you start thinking about the thousands of dollars you invested while your smartphone just took an absolutely amazing photo that you’re about to share with the world.

In many ways, it’s almost an unfair fight. Smartphones like the P40 Pro are leveraging AI to do things like remove reflections from photos. If you’re snapping photos through a retail shopfront, museum casing or through a car window, reflections can ruin an otherwise great photo. With Huawei’s AI Remove Reflection, it analyses numerous frames to identify and remove the glare to generate an image that is reflection-free.

Huawei AI is also found in a feature called Huawei AI Remove Passerby. This technology works to remove people in the background of your photos. This magic happens on the phone and leaves you with a photo that appears as if your subject had the entire location to themselves.

Good luck doing that with your DSLR.

Sample photos

The amazing camera systems in the P40 Pro, didn’t just happen by accident, it’s the result of as much as 18-months of R&D, to deliver these amazing results.

Huawei have launched NEXT IMAGE 2020. The photo competition encourages mobile photography and videography enthusiasts to explore different perspectives to discover the diversity and beauty of life. Just enter your best shot, for a chance to win incredible rewards, including the latest flagship, the Huawei P40 Pro.

Connected photography

Most of us take photos and share them online with family, friends and the world. Having a device, like the P40 Pro, that’s connected to the internet and ready to share your amazing photos in seconds, is really hard to compete with.

My typical DSLR workflow is to shoot to a 32GB SD Card. My PC and most laptops in 2020, I don’t have a card reader, so I insert the card into a 5-in-1 adapter and connect it via USB to transfer the photos to my desktop. These photos are usually large in terms of filesize, so need to go through an optimisation step before most social media services will accept them.

After copying the files to a folder on my drive, then opening Photoshop to batch process that folder, I’m finally ready to add them to a new post in Tweetdeck.

Compare that legacy workflow with the super simple workflow of that of the P40 Pro. Snap the photo, tap the share icon and choose the social app I want to publish to. The optimisation is taken care of for me, I simply add a description and tags, hit publish and I’m done. Even adding a step for some basic editing is nothing more than a few seconds extra, tapping edits, dragging a couple of sliders and tap save.

DLSR’s are no competition when it comes to the speed of publishing.

Playback display

When you snap a photo, you’ll want to review what you just captured. Reviewing your photos on a 3″ display, versus a 6.5″ device like the HUAWEI P40 Pro, is a night and day experience.

The number of pixels crammed into today’s smartphones far exceeds anything on a DLSR’s read display. This means zooming in on detail (usually with pinch and zoom over some clumsy zoom stepping), offers up dramatically better quality, so you can ensure your perfect image is indeed captured, before moving on.

The same is true of video, with smartphones, like the P40 Pro, now capturing the world in 4K and up to 60 frames per second. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also slow-motion capture, something that used to require another separate, dedicated camera entirely.

Save your DSLR dollars and invest them in a smartphone

I’ve been to events throughout Australia and across the world and when you travel, the portability of your equipment is really important.

Increasingly I’m finding that my DLSR is staying home, and I’ll capture the event on my phone, as the camera is really good at capturing stunning photos for use on the web, even if you want to print your smartphone photos as a poster, there’s loads of detail on offer.

What used to be considered the domain of the DLSR, is now being replicated in a device that fits in your pocket. Depth of field and impressive zoom capabilities are here and only set to get better with software updates.

There’s a famous quote that says the best camera is the one you have on you and I couldn’t agree more. I’d suggest you strongly consider saving your dollars from a potential DSLR purchase and invest them into a top-end smartphone, such as Huawei’s P40 Pro.

Say goodbye to your DSLR and hello to professional photography at your fingertips by taking advantage of Huawei’s EOFY deals on the P40 Pro: save $200 off the P40 Pro (RRP AU$1,599) until June 30 from Huawei directly, or JB HiFi, MobileCiti and eBay.

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Mobile

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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