Deciding Between iPhone & DSLR

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I LOVE TAKING PHOTOS! A real shocker, right?

If I was limited to just one camera, I would pick my DSLR ( + an awesome prime lens like the 50mm or 35mm).  But if I was limited to two, I'd pick my DSLR and my iPhone.

This past weekend I found myself snapping photos of my boys playing bubbles with both cameras and it made me think about the different reasons I choose one or the other.

Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR

The biggest advantage the iPhone has over my DSLR is size.  I can slide it in my back pocket.  I have a small, easily accessible pouch for it in my purse.  And it's small enough that I can snap a photo with it using one hand.  That last one was the biggest reason I opted for the iPhone 6 instead of the 6+ last year.

And guess what, the iPhone takes some pretty decent photos these days!

Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR

The above photo was snapped with my iPhone, and because I typically shoot with a low aperture (creating a shallow depth of field) with my DSLR, I would not have snapped anything similar with my "fancier" camera.

Another reason I sometimes choose iPhone over DSLR is the ability to hold the camera away from my face.  If I don't want to put a lot of effort into crouching down to the level I want my photo to be taken at, I can lower my arms, or reach to the left or right, and snap away with the iPhone.

In the photo below, Alwyn was having fun blowing bubbles toward me.  Instead of having them pop in my face, I opted to lower my iPhone and avoid being in the line of fire.

Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR

But there are some disadvantages to the iPhone.

That shallow depth of field is sometimes too good to pass up.  The photo above is "made" in my opinion, by having the focus be almost solely be on Ephram's face.  The background is blurred, Alwyn is blurred on the left side, and my eyes immediately jump to his happy expression as he popped a bubble.

Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR

The deciding factor on this particular day to grab my DSLR was that I couldn't get the iPhone to focus on what I wanted.  I spent a few minutes tapping the screen, trying to tell it to lock focus on this floating bubble, but it kept insisting that the rest of the yard was far more interesting.  Or maybe it was telling me to pick up the kid's toys and stop snapping photos.

Taking a photo with the focus on the bubble took a matter of seconds with the DSLR.

Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR
Benefits of iPhone vs DSLR

Ultimately, my camera choice comes down to how important I feel the image I want to take is, balanced heavily with which camera is most convenient.

If I'm away from the house and I only have my iPhone, obviously it's the best choice.  But if I have both available, I need to ask myself some questions.

Will the iPhone capture the subject matter efficiently or would it be easier with the DSLR?  Is this an image that quality will matter?  More specifically, will I just use it for Instagram or Project Life (iPhone will do), or will I want it framed someday (run inside and grab that DSLR and don't forget the memory stick!)?