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Does a Phone Camera Work for Landscape Photography?

There is a saying in photography circles that the best camera is the one you have with you.

For most people, most of the time, that camera will be on our phone.

There are many who say that the top phone cameras can rival DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for image quality, while others believe that phone cameras still have a long way to go before they can produce images that can truly rival those of ‘real’ cameras.

I have used my phone camera on many occasions for both street photography and general images of subjects that caught my eye, and I have been pleased with the results.

I previously wrote a post on why I think phone cameras are good for street and urban photography.

I am not a professional photographer therefore I don't have top of the range camera equipment. And while I agree that a phone camera is a good option in some forms of photography, my question is whether the phone camera can be used in landscape photography to take photos that can match those of entry level or mid-level cameras used by amateur photographers.

Does a phone camera work for landscape photography?

I set about finding out.

Reeds under the sky

By the lake

Mist over the mountain

Horseshoe lake

Mullaghmore beach

Mullaghmore mountains


While the image quality of these photographs is not terrible, and while a more skillful photographer might have created better compositions regardless of the equipment used, I do see a few issues with using a phone camera for landscape photography.

Firstly, the colours are often very saturated and tend to look unrealistic. In addition, phone camera images are difficult to edit as they are effectively already processed by the camera software. Unfortunately, the images are not all processed in the same way so the results can be unpredictable.

Thirdly, there is obviously a limit as to how far the phone camera can zoom, which imposes restrictions on the composition from the outset.

That being said, I did enjoy the process of capturing these images. I was still able to use photography skills such as surveying the scene and picking out my composition, trying to catch the best light and looking for an interesting perspective from which to shoot.

Leading to the cottage

Seat in the park

Into the woods

Grasses up close

Phone cameras tend to produce better quality images close-up, as seen above, which leads me to conclude that they are perfectly adequate for many types of photography. However, I have to conclude that, while they can offer an enjoyable photography experience, and often produce pleasing results, they don't quite rival a DSLR or mirrorless camera for traditional landscape photography.

You might like to watch these recent videos on the topic from two well known YouTube photographers

iPhone vs. DSLR 2023: Is Your Big Camera Obsolete? from landscape photographer Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography

The iPhone Camera is Actually Rubbish from photographer and film maker Rick Bebbington

The two photographers reach a slightly different conclusion about the adequacy of phone cameras for landscape photography.

What do you think?

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