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I know this is a site with very good professional photographers and this might appear like a silly question but I'm just a beginner who loves photography. But I still don't have a camera so all I do is use my phone. I would like to know whether it's OK to practice photography with phone's camera until I buy a camera or buy a camera and go ahead? Thank you in advance.

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  • What problem are you having with your phone's camera that you think will be solved with a dedicated camera?
    – Michael C
    Jun 4 '17 at 1:32
  • @MichaelClark Mostly the image resolution and focusing issues.
    – Curiousity
    Jun 4 '17 at 16:55
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    I note that the question says "camera" but the upvoted answers say "DSLR". Maybe they're stuck in 2010 or something...
    – user29608
    Jun 11 '17 at 2:36
  • "Dedicated camera" or "Interchangeable lens camera (ILC)" would probably have been a better choice of words than SLR/DSLR. But there are still many photographic applications for which DSLRs do an as good as, or even better, job than their mirrorless counterparts.
    – Michael C
    Oct 25 '18 at 20:12
  • @user29608 - I'm sure I saw a new DSLR in the shop the other day. But you make an interesting point - the question says "camera". What's with the "D"? Sep 28 '19 at 10:09
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You should shoot with your phone - best way to get better is to shoot more, which is great if you already enjoy it.

But you should get a dedicated camera if you're interested. They work differently than phones and will let you learn about stuff like focal length, white balance, aperture and shutter speed and why they matter.

My recommendation - buy, borrow or rent a low end DSLR with a 'nifty fifty' – the cheapest prime (single focal length, not zoom) lens made for your camera. Set everything to manual and figure out what everything does.

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  • Oh thank you so much for the answer. Are there any specific brands that you can recommend as well?
    – Curiousity
    Jun 3 '17 at 13:10
  • If you know someone who already has one and can lend you lenses or help you out, get that system. Otherwise I'd probably recommend Canon, but Nikon, Sony or Panasonic are also good options.
    – Jeremy S.
    Jun 3 '17 at 13:19
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    @JeremyS. Don't forget Pentax dslrs or mirrorless cameras
    – Janardan S
    Jun 3 '17 at 15:06
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    It's always worthwhile to ask what problem (that you have) the DSLR is going to fix. I know that is a bit hard to know if you have not used one, but you should (if you practice) start being able to say what problems you have. Photography is about subjects, situations, emotions, colors, framing and composition, lighting (making or finding), and capturing the image. The camera matters only (well, mostly only) on the last part. People worry too much about it and forget the rest (and their work suffers for it).
    – Linwood
    Jun 3 '17 at 20:54
  • @JanardanS If you're buying new gear Pentax has a good cost/benefit ratio. But if you're looking for real bargains you're more likely to find them in the most popular brands because there is simply more of their stuff in the marketplace.
    – Michael C
    Jun 4 '17 at 1:30
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Although a "system camera" (an interchangeable lens camera made to work within a certain system of lenses and other accessories) captures way better pictures than a phone, still the art of photography lies in the person behind the lens. You should first develop the skill of taking good pictures at the right angles and adjusting the light requirements and various other features. Hence a phone with a decent camera is a good way to get started. Keep on practicing with it until you are reasonably good at what you are doing. Then you should buy a dedicated camera if you are motivated. These cameras are really fantastic at capturing truly magnificent pictures if you get the settings right. So practice with it and slowly you will master the art of photography .

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I would like to know whether it's OK to practice photography with phone's camera until I buy a camera or buy a camera and go ahead?

Of course it is. No photographer can take photographs without a camera. And you can only take a photo with a camera you have with you. And frankly, most dedicated cameras outpace their owners by a good bit in capability. :) A phone camera may not be what's holding you back.

You can certainly learn composition with one. Some apps even give you exposure control (on my iPhone 5S, I can adjust the exposure in the camera app just by dragging up and down). And depending on the apps you're using, you may have more control than you think.

But if you want more control, over the lenses you use, over timing, over autofocus, aperture, iso, shutter speed, a dedicated camera may be able to give you that. Move to a camera when you've exhausted everything you can do with the phone or your phone is beginning to frustrate you from the lack of control it provides.

But realize that a lot of us "serious" photographers who own dSLRs or mirrorless or any of the "expensive" cameras--well, we all take photos with our phones, too. Because a phone is always with you, and sharing photos from a phone is really easy. There's no reason to think of this as "camera or phone"; think of it more like "camera and phone".

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First generation DSLRs or DSLMs can be had very cheap secondhand - anything that isn't flagship, special, or above 16 megapixel often goes for ridiculously low prices.

A 10 or 16 megapixel, full featured, system camera will not hold you back seriously just because it is missing 14 or 8 megapixels compared to the state of the art. The more limited lowlight capabilities of older models could be a bit of a limit IF you are very focused on night or non-flash indoor photography.

However, not having the opportunity to practice with semi-automatic or manual exposure modes, or manual focus, or real flash hardware, WILL limit you.

Also, consider getting an old film SLR just for fun - but take someone experienced with that kind of gear along when shopping for one. They can be had for even more ridiculously low prices these days.

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First of all buy a smartphone which have pro mode(which allows manually to adjust all camera features);betterto buy which have stock feature of pro mode in camera not 3rd party.now i would recommend buying a galaxy s7 or higher.it also have dual pixel(100% pixels used for autofocus and capturing) camera apart from conventional style.

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If you love photography, you'll likely see yourself investing more time and effort into it, progressing from creating memories to creating memorable pictures that do more than rekindle your own memories. As you move from documentation of scenes to composition or even creation of scenes and their capture, the tools available to you as a photographer gain in importance. The optics of a smartphone are limited in effectivity regarding some of the expressive tools used in photography, and in the use they can make of light.

As a photographer, you need to develop your photographic eye, both a view on what is making for a good subject as well as in how this photographic subject can be best reflected in your image given the tools available at your hand.

Losing sight of either objective is a possibility, ending you up with either disappointing renditions of great subjects or with technically great boring shots. Either way, you'll need to work on all of your artistic, your creative, and your technical skills and perceptiveness and, in the long run, have the attention span to make all of them count.

You don't need great equipment in order to learn your basics, but you should at least get equipment giving you a good chance at exercising all skills. To some degree this was easier with film since even the cheapest 35mm format cameras tended to have quite wider entrance pupils (and thus artistically operative depth of field) than a lot of the more affordable digital cameras. But even now there are several older digital camera models with comparatively large sensor and useful optics around that are affordable (if not portable) enough to gain a lot of experience before upgrading to something more modern.

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Composition rules (and when to break them) apply regardless of what sort of photographic device you use. Learning to work within the constraints of your equipment is a good skill to learn. The difference between a phone and a dedicated camera will be the constraints imposed on your photography, but all cameras have limitations, just a dedicated camera will usually reach its limits under more demanding conditions than a phone. Phones have small sensors compared to a DSLR or mirrorless camera, so generally they won't cope with low light conditions as well, and images won't enlarge as much without looking 'grainy' or noisy, but if you're primarily intending to view your images on screen, a phone image captured in good lighting can look every bit as good as one from a dedicated camera, as long as your phone isn't an absolute entry level model. If you're wanting to print images large, or want to photograph subjects like wildlife where a long telephoto lens is necessary, then you will need a dedicated camera, but until you can identify specific needs that you can't meet with a phone, then using a phone to learn the basics of photography is perfectly acceptable.

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I've recently been scanning a large collection of photos that we took decades ago. I used a large 35mm SLR with several lenses and filters while my wife used a small fixed lens camera (35mm and before that a 110).

One thing I now notice about our photos is that my best photos are far better than her best (of course, why else would I lug all that heavy, bulky, inconvenient equipment with me?). But, I also notice that I have far more really bad photos.

By good and bad I'm not talking about composition, but about things like exposure and depth of field. I had full control over those aspects, and frequently got them wrong. She had no choice, and given the tiny aperture, especially in the 110, her photos were generally all correctly exposed and focused.

In retrospect it's easy to see that, like far too many other people, I incorrectly thought that a great camera would take great photographs. In a few instances it did. But in most cases all it did was provide me with multiple ways of making a mess of it.

Had I been intending to make photography a large part of my life, spending countless hours processing and printing my own film, practicing with hundreds of rolls, then buying that camera and lenses was a good start.

But that wasn't my intent, and if I had it all to do over again, I'd go with a small and convenient point and shoot camera. Using that, rather than worrying about all the settings, I might have concentrated more on composition, and learned what makes one photograph so much better than another.

That might have led me to be much more interested in the technical details of photography. I would eventually have started stumbling over the limited capabilities of my equipment:

  • "The subject is so small, and enlarging the print only makes it look grainy."
  • "The background is so well focused that the subject blends into it."
  • "Everything else looks okay, but the subject's face is totally washed out."
  • "It's great, but Fred moved his arm and it looks weird."

I'd have learned:

  • why and how a telephoto lens could have been used to zoom in on a distant subject.
  • why and how a large aperture could have reduced the depth of field and blurred the background while keeping the subject in focus.
  • why and how underexposing the image could have provided perfect exposure for the subject making it stand out against the darker background.
  • why and how a faster shutter speed could have eliminated the motion blur. (But that would have needed a larger aperture, which would have reduced the field depth, so perhaps a "faster film" ISO setting would have been better.)

Today, the cost of film and processing is no longer an issue, so it's cheap and easy to take hundreds of practice photos.

I'd suggest that you stick with your small and convenient camera and develop your composition skills. As you get better, you'll start running into "if only I could have …" situations.

If and when this bothers you enough, you'll eventually buy a camera with detachable lenses and manually adjustable settings. And since you'll already have a basic understanding of why you need these extra features, you'll quickly learn to use them properly.

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