This comparison from Lee Hitchinson makes me think Apple might be working on an ubercamera. Here’s a comparison of a $3,400 Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR to Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.
The idea here is that the person, not the gear, takes the picture. And there is a (likely apocryphal) story that tells the tale of an encounter between famous novelist Ernest Hemingway and famous photographer Ansel Adams. In the story, Hemingway is purported to have praised Adams’ photographs, saying, “You take the most amazing pictures. What kind of camera do you use?”
Adams frowned and then replied, “You write the most amazing stories. What kind of typewriter do you use?”
Interesting anecdote, but what about the comparison?
A true apples-to-apples comparison would be a lot more difficult to pull off than simply shooting a few sets of images under a few different lighting regimes, and it would likely yield a lot more objective data. However, what matters in a lot of these cases isn’t megapixels and histograms in a vacuum, but how the images look to your eyes. We’ve definitely got enough here to show that under many conditions, a smartphone that costs a few hundred dollars is mostly as good as a DSLR that costs eight-to-ten times as much.
So raise your iPhones up high and snap away—unless you need to spend a lot on a camera, you’re almost certainly fine. Step away from automatic shooting and learn the camera’s settings a bit, maybe, but don’t feel like you need to spend thousands to take better pictures. Instead, remember this photography aphorism: “Amateurs worry about gear; professionals worry about money; masters worry about light.”