Travel Photography: Compact Camera vs iPhone

So when I started up this site (and my Instagram account), I was really set on having a theme, and making sure everything was cohesive… but like most of us, we all have multiple interests right? and even though I’m no expert, I have become incredibly passionate about photography, and in particular travel photography on my dedicated Instagram account. This current climate has called for a massive sort out of our photos (clear that camera roll guys!), so I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you my thoughts on iPhone images vs my compact camera.

Shot on canon EOSM3

Camera vs iPhone

Now this is a tricky one. When I set off on holiday obviously my phone is coming with me (duh!), but I do think it’s really worth investing in a camera if you’re serious about quality. I’m using iPhone in this comparison of course because I can only compare a compact camera to an iPhone 11, the two photo-capturing lovelies I possess. For some hints on where to start with cameras, take a look at these (Professional) Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras which have great photo and video capabilities.

I would also say it’s really worth thinking about the kind of shots you’re looking to achieve. Here is a comparison on iPhone vs camera for a series of situations. Obviously I’m bearing in mind these were taken in different conditions as I’m comparing, and they are also all edited, and it’s just my opinion, I am not an expert! Really covering my back here aren’t I??

Shot on canon EOSM3

Landscape images from a distance

So let’s delve into landscapes, more specifically skylines. The first image was taken on my camera, and even though they were taken on different days, I found myself preferring my iPhone image as it seemed to take in more of the detail.

Shot on canon EOSM3
Shot on iPhone 11

Winner: iPhone 11


FOOOOOOOD. I love capturing really small details when it comes to food and that’s where I feel like the camera really shows the iPhone up. There are far more settings on compact cameras that allow you to get some really amazing close-ups, especially with the right lens. Don’t get me wrong, my iPhone pic is great to whack up on Instagram quickly, but I feel like I can almost taste the bacon from the first image with that close up. (Wait, is that weird?)

Shot on canon EOSM3
Shot on iPhone 11

Winner: compact camera

Landscapes with people in foreground

Landscapes with people in the forefront can make for a tricky shot, so I think both my camera and my iPhone perform well here. I love the magical blur my camera brings, but on iPhone, this can basically be achieved with ‘portrait mode’ to an extent.

Shot on canon EOSM3
Shot on iPhone 11

Winner: This one’s a toughy… but camera just overtakes here. Side note: I added the noise to the second picture to make it more vintage (how edgy) so I’m obviously not taking this into consideration!

Dark images with neon

Dark images in general can be difficult to master, and when you’re stopping somewhere briefly to snap a pic, you don’t want to be mucking around with settings to try and nab that perfect shot. Fortunately my camera has an automatic assist function that gives me a helping hand! The neon appears so much crisper and brighter here!

Shot on canon EOSM3
Shot on iPhone 11

Winner: compact camera, by a mile.


Wherever you go, you’ll always stumble across a pretty building. But how does a camera perform in comparison to the iPhone? I really don’t prefer one over the other here, I think the detail captured in both is super pleasing.

Shot on canon EOSM3
Shot on iPhone 11

Winner: It’s a tie!

My Verdict

If you are thinking about investing in a compact camera (and you already have an iPhone) I would say it’s definitely worth it for those crisp close-ups. An alternative would be to invest in an Android phone with a larger scope of capabilities to the iPhone (which I find limiting at times!), if your budget allows.

In my next post, I’ll be tackling how I edit my photography…read the rest of my travel content here.

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  1. March 27, 2020 / 10:33 am

    I love shooting neon signs with my DSLR. iPhone takes such good photos too but I’ll never give up my Android lol

    • lifewithmariaeva
      March 27, 2020 / 6:08 pm

      Yeah Android just seems to be so much better when it comes to the camera! neon signs look soooo good on DSLRs.

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