DSLR vs iPhone covering an entire wedding on an iPhone.
Wedding photography and wedding highlights video are popular deliverables with most candid photographer teams that I know of in Bangalore.
While it is possible to do both videos and photos with most types of cameras there isnt one single camera that completely gets the job done or is the best one for every job.
While DSLR cameras have large full frame sensors, mirror less cameras and point and shoots cameras go all the way down to 4/3 inch and all the way down to 1/3 inch. What does this mean? As the sensor size gets smaller the amount of light thr camera can capture is lesser and pictures will have more noise in low light and may even result in other distortions and in some cameras less dynamic range. The image dimensions are going to be smaller thereby giving you less sharper images while producing large prints. Another go to feature for candid photography is the depth of field. Candid wedding photographers like to snap portraits with a shallow depth of field creating bokeh effects on the background meanwhile separating the subject beautifully.
By the way if you were ever wondering what DSLR stood for? it’s digital single lens reflex camera.
Sensor size is why you probably can’t get very good candid photos on your iPhone. Another major handicap while using a smartphone camera is that the lenses are relatively wide so you’ll have to get in and up really close to get a good snap which might be awkward at a wedding and would mean that you’d be in the way of the official photographer. Doing good portraits by achieving a shallow depth of field is close to impossible as the sensor size goes smaller and one loses the ability to zoom in because of the fixed lens. You might be able to pull off some good documentary or photojournalistic style pictures. The images might need to be made black and white to work with the noise in low light.
Macro or closeup photography
What is a smartphone camera good for? You could try shooting macro shots by getting really close to objects like rings, jewellery or even the bride’s shoes.
Also cameras seem to perform better in outdoors preferably when the sky is overcast or early in the morning or in the evenings.
DSLRs are also not always the go to cameras for every kind of occasion. A lot of candid wedding photographers are hanging up their expensive DSLRs for macro zoom point and shoot cameras like the Sony Rx10 or even the Panasonic FZ1000 or the Nikon coolpix p900. These cameras have extreme zooms from 18mm up to a 600mm equivavlent and some of them shoot video up to 4k and even provide features like pulling out still images from 4k video and slow motion up to 1000 fps.
What does this do for the candid wedding photographer? With mega zoom capabilities you wouldn’t have to stop and change lenses on a DSLR and wouldn’t miss a moment. The trade off however could be more noise when shooting in low light and a deeper depth of field giving you a flat documentary like image compared to the shallow depth of field of a DSLR. For the fraction of the price of a DSLR camera and not to mention expensive luxury lenses that go along with DSLRs, a mega zoom mirrorless camera could easily be used as a B or C camera during a wedding photography shoot. A lot of wedding photographers are now drifting towards point and shoots. As they say “the best camera is the camera you have on you”.
Coming to video. DSLR cameras give that rich shallow depth of field and are easy to meneuver while shooting wedding highlight videos. The visuals are like moving photographs. However with enough light most of the mirror less cameras are now able to go toe to toe and sometimes even outperform DSLR cameras with superior optical image stabilisation, dynamic range, slow motion and even 4k video. Also the zoom and macro features of the lenses help to capture video from a distance and even from a few inches without having to switch lenses.
Smart phones these days are capable of doing quite well at video but still fail miserably while trying to cover a wedding from end to end. The lack of an optical zoom means that you always can’t get close enough like you’ve wanted and lack of physical buttons to control aperture, shutter speed and ISO makes it difficult to tweak manual settings on the fly. We’ll still have to wait for smartphones to provide tele lens features and larger sensors.
Lenses are a whole new topic, stay tuned for more.