Canon M50 vs The New Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Tips & Advice
Travel Photography

Gear Focus

May 14, 2020

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The availability of a camera lens on nearly every mobile phone has allowed nearly anyone to become an amateur photographer in an instant. Packed with features, the latest phone cameras can often shoot pictures and videos that are hard to tell apart from dedicated cameras. However, when put side by side, can mobile photography really keep up with a DSLR?

In the digital media world, can mobile photography really keep up with the tried and true? If you are looking to have a travel-friendly camera option that doesn’t require a travel bag, you may be inclined to lean towards simply using your phone’s built-in lens. However, are you losing quality when you lean on your cell phone to be your camera?

Special thanks to Dave Maze for putting this awesome video together! Dave does a great job laying out the side-by-side comparison for this review.

Be sure to subscribe to Dave Maze's Youtube channel Kinotika Subscribe to Dave Maze's youtube channel In this article, we will compare the photo quality of the Canon M50 to the iPhone SE. The M50 is a mirrorless budget DSLR, while the iPhone is the latest phone from Apple.

Outdoor Photography

So how do the two hold up when taking pictures outdoors? If you are going to be traveling or spending time outside, the selling point of having a great mobile phone camera is the ease of use. It’s way faster to snap a photo with the phone in your purse or pocket than carrying around a DSLR. With the M50, you get a great depth of field and sharpness. The default kit lens which features an f/3.5 aperture. However, the M50 does struggle a bit to capture the full color due to the dynamic range and the standard profile setting. So you will likely need to edit your photos to get that perfect look. The iPhone SE’s 12MP lens captures the same photo with sharpness and focus that is almost identical to the M50. Where the SE stands out, though, is it's smart HDR exposure. This automatically analyzes the shadows, highlights, and mid-tones to bring out more details without having to work with settings. iPhone SE 2020 for mobile photography The SE’s default photos will miss the depth of field that the M50 captures. However, the iPhone’s "Portrait Mode" may allow you to achieve that look. Winner: iPhone SE with the HDR exposure at the moment of capture. This saves you editing time to capture outdoor colors.

Closeup Photography

When shooting objects at close range, the M50 stands out. With it's ability to give the true depth of field feature that you expect from a DSLR. When shot with the iPhone, the closer the object is to the lens, the more blurring behind the subject. However, this becomes a limitation if the object has to be extremely close to the sensor. Winner: Canon M50. To this day you still can’t quite get the same DOF and focus quality with a phone as a DSLR. If you are shooting products or wanting to capture high-quality objects at close range, stick with the M50.

Low-Light & Indoor Photography

 When it comes to shooting indoors and in low-light settings, the iPhone SE attempts as much noise reduction as possible. The photos are automatically sharp due to the iPhone’s built-in features that automatically adjust to low-light levels. The SE doesn't have the “night mode” feature that the iPhone 11 uses, so you do lose some quality in the dark. When shooting with the M50 at an iso of 1500, the image comes through clean. But it does not feature the same noise reduction and lighting levels as the iPhone’s photo. To do this you will want to adjust your settings to ensure you are capturing the right amount of light. Winner: iPhone SE. If you aren't knowledgeable of a DSLR’s settings, you will find the iPhone’s built-in leveling and noise reduction helpful. Especially in taking good pictures in the dark.

Our Verdict on Mobile Photography

 When it comes to comparing the Canon M50 with the iPhone SE, it may seem like comparing apples to oranges. For one, you are comparing the M50 - a piece of technology that is built to be a camera - and the iPhone, which is just a smartphone with a camera feature. However, as photography continues to go mobile, more and more photographers are utilizing the iPhone’s camera. These are becoming hard to tell apart from more traditional cameras. Apple continues to pack their cameras with features and upgrades that keep pace with traditional DSLRs in most common photography settings. Canon EOS M50 The biggest factor between the two is the price. In essence, you are comparing a budget iPhone coming in at around $400 to a budget DSLR that is priced around $600-$800. If you want to shoot great photos that keep up with a DSLR’s quality but aren’t looking to buy a full camera set, then the iPhone SE is a great choice. However, the Canon M50 is a great choice if you are looking to learn more about photography. If you are willing to put into practice the skills necessary to shoot great manual photos.

Learn More With Gear Focus

At Gear Focus, we are always looking for unique ways to compare and contrast the latest in photography trends and equipment. Head over to our website to find more great content like this, as well as a full product catalog to help you get started shooting great pictures and videos.

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