Comparison between Smartphone and Mirrorless for Street Photography (1)

Meilisa Dwi N
5 min readJul 2, 2020


Disclaimer: I write here as a fun, it’s only my own opinion and maybe it can’t be 100% true. Have a nice reading!


I often find that people is wondering, is a smartphone camera enough for doing a random street photography? I say it because once my friends said they actually wanted to join me walking around and taking some photos on the street, but then they never really turned it into reality. “I don’t have any camera,” is the most reason I heard. Beside, I often meet such reasons in the social media. Sometimes, people feel so pessimist because of the gear they have. In this first part, I want to show you the main differences between the pictures I took by my smartphone and my mirrorless camera.

So, based on the background above, a few weeks ago I took some photos with 2 different gear in the same place and (almost) the same time. Ah ya, I must explain first, these two gears actually are not equivalent to compare. But since I found something interesting with them, I think I must write it here. The gears are my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy M20) and my camera (Sony A6000).

  1. Samsung Galaxy M20 has 13MP primary camera, and a 5MP ultra wide angle secondary one. The main shooter has a 1/3.1" sensor with 1.12µm pixels and a narrow-ish 31mm-equivalent lens with an f/1.9 aperture and phase-detect autofocus. (I copy it from a smartphone reviewer website, sorry if you’re confused so do I haha)
  2. Sony a6000 has 24.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. I used the kitlens, that can be zoomed from 16–50mm and had an f/3.5–5.6 .

The main difference is the pixel, my mirrorless camera is better. So, if then I want to crop my picture, of course the picture from my camera would be much better since it has larger pixel. But nowadays (in 2020), there are so many smartphones which have larger pixel than the mirrorless camera. For example: Samsung Galaxy A51 which has 64 MP primary camera!

Let’s compare!

Here I attach the pictures which are not edited (from the original file). Can you guess which one is taken by my phone, and the another one by my camera? Or maybe for you it looks same?

Which pictures do you think were taken by phone? The 1st (left) one? Or the 2nd one? Which one do you think better? Or do they look the same?

Well, the answer is: I took the first (left) pictures by using my smartphone camera (Samsung M20) and the second (right) pictures by using my mirrorless camera. Is it the same with your prediction?


A few days ago I made a quick polling in my Instagram Stories. I asked my followers the same questions like you read before. And the here’s the answer:

I got 48 voters, and 23% chose it’s almost the same while 77% chose it’s different.

For the questionnaire, I got 36 respondents. About 38.89% chose the 1st pictures better, 50% chose the second pictures, 8.33% being neutral (saying both of them are good), and 2.78% had invalid answer.

Oh ya, for another disclaimer: it’s not a valid data because not all people who vote for “Different” answer the question (which is the better one?). Otherwise, some people who answered the questionnaire also did not vote.


  1. One of my friend, Achmad Rio, can guess what gear I used (I didn’t mention it before). I thought it was because he also has Sony A6000. And that’s right, he said he can guess it because he was familiar with the color from the photos.
  2. Some of my friends who chose the 2nd pictures can guess that the second picture has more detail (higher resolution) than the first picture.
  3. Some of my friends who chose the 1st pictures said that the color from the 1st pictures are much better than the 2nd pictures. The color is more natural and vivid.

My Own Opinion

In my own opinion, they’re not significantly different if the purpose is only for having fun and social media content (this is my purpose when doing street photography). Of course, it will be another story if the purpose is for working or commercial one, the better gear is needed for professional job.


Here I made the conclusion from some aspects:

  1. The quality. Of course the camera has higher resolution, but I think my 13MP smartphone camera is enough if I took picture with the close view. It means, if I want to capture a picture of an object, I must come closer. If I shoot it from a long distances, then I crop it or zoom it in, of course the photo will become a low resolution one. (But if you had a good smartphone which has ability to zoom in, I think it’s not a big problem).
  2. The tone / color. In my own opinion, I like the original color from my smartphone. I think it’s more natural and brighter than my camera (I use the auto for white balance). I think I need a little retouching with photo editor for the pictures from my camera to make ’em better.

Last words: I think smartphone camera is enough for doing street photography because the most important thing while doing it is having fun. And also, actually the best camera is the one you have. Go on and don’t stop making great photos!

That’s my 1st chapter of the comparison between Smartphone and Mirrorless for Street Photography. Feel free to discuss anything and thanks for reading!



Meilisa Dwi N

Meilisa is a photography enthusiast who has interest in agriculture.

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