Phone vs. Camera Setup

Phone Setup:

Bare Phone:

Cost: Minimal to none if you already own a smartphone.

  • Example: Using the phone’s built-in camera app without additional accessories.

Rigged Phone Setup: 

Cost: Varies based on the accessories you choose.

  • Gimbals ($100-$200)
  • External microphones ($50-$150)
  • Lighting kits ($50-$200)
  • Tripods ($20-$100)
  • Lens attachments ($50-$150)
  • Total Estimated Cost: $200 – $800 for a complete rigged setup.

Professional Videography Setup:


  • Cost: $500 – $5000+ for professional video cameras.


  • Tripods ($100-$500)
  • External microphones ($100-$500)
  • Lighting kits ($200-$1000)
  • Additional lenses ($200-$2000)
  • Total Estimated Cost: $1000 – $7000+ for a professional setup.

Quality Difference?

Phone Cameras:


  • Ease of Use: Intuitive interfaces and automatic settings.
  • Portability: Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Versatility: Ideal for quick, spontaneous shots.
  • Software Enhancements: Built-in filters and editing apps enhance video quality.


  • Limited Manual Controls: Less control over exposure, focus, and zoom compared to professional cameras.
  • Low Light Performance: Generally inferior to professional cameras.
  • Sound Quality: Built-in microphones usually offer lower audio quality.

Professional Cameras:


  • Image Quality: Superior resolution, dynamic range, and colour accuracy.
  • Manual Controls: Full control over all shooting parameters.
  • Adaptability: Can handle a wide range of shooting environments.
  • Audio Quality: Higher quality audio with external microphones.


  • Complexity: Steeper learning curve and more complicated settings.
  • Portability: Bulkier and heavier equipment.

Unpolished or Raw?

Social media platforms have changed the way audiences perceive video content. Raw and authentic videos have gained popularity for their relatability and personal touch.


  • Raw and Authentic: Audiences appreciate content that feels personal and less produced.
  • Viral Potential: Unpolished videos often go viral due to their relatability.
  • Platform Specific: Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Storeys, and Snapchat favour more casual, off-the-cuff content.


Determining which types of videos to film with a phone and which to use a professional setup for can help maintain a balanced content strategy.

Phone Camera:

Best For:

  • Social Media Storeys and Reels
  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Event coverage
  • Quick updates and announcements
  • Content Focus: Authenticity, spontaneity, and engagement.

Professional Videography Setup:

Best For:

  • Commercials and advertisements
  • High-quality branded content
  • Corporate videos and presentations
  • Interviews and documentaries
  • Content Focus: Quality, professionalism, and detailed storytelling.

 Beyond Phone vs. Camera

Given the advancements in phone camera technology, it may be helpful to categorise based on content purpose and technical capabilities rather than device type.

Content Purpose:

– Engagement: Use devices and setups that encourage interaction and real-time engagement (e.g., phones for live streams).

– Production Quality: Choose based on the desired quality level and brand representation (e.g., professional setups for brand-defining videos).

Technical Capabilities:

– Feature-Based Comparison: Compare based on specific features like stabilisation, resolution, manual controls, and audio quality.

– Hybrid Approaches: Utilise both phone and professional setups based on the context and requirement of the content.

Why video companies use cameras

Despite the advancements in phone camera technology, professional video companies generally prefer not to use phones for filming. Here are the reasons why, considering aspects from filming to post-production workflow and even for simple shoots:

 1. Filming to Post-Production Workflow


  • Consistency and Control: Professional cameras offer more consistent quality and greater control over settings like exposure, white balance, and focus. This consistency is crucial for ensuring that all shots match in terms of lighting and colour, which can be challenging to achieve with phone cameras due to their automatic adjustments.
  • Interchangeable Lenses: Professional setups allow the use of various lenses, providing greater flexibility in achieving different visual styles and effects. Phone cameras are limited in this regard, even with attachable lenses.
  • Sensor Size: Professional cameras have larger sensors, which capture more light and detail, resulting in better image quality, especially in low-light conditions. Phone cameras, with their smaller sensors, often struggle in such environments.


  • File Formats: Professional cameras often record in formats that offer greater flexibility in post-production, such as RAW or ProRes. These formats retain more information, making colour grading and editing more precise and effective. Phone cameras, while sometimes capable of shooting in RAW, typically use compressed formats that limit post-production capabilities.
  • Workflow Integration: Professional video production workflows are designed to handle large files and complex projects efficiently. Integrating footage from phone cameras can disrupt this workflow due to differences in file formats, resolutions, and frame rates. Additionally, professional setups often sync seamlessly with industry-standard editing software and hardware.

 2. Even for “Simple Shoots”

Quality Expectations:

  • Client Expectations: Clients expect a certain level of quality and professionalism, even for simple shoots. Using professional equipment signals a commitment to quality and can justify higher production costs.
  • Brand Image: Maintaining a high production standard is essential for brand consistency. Even simple videos reflect the brand’s overall quality, and using professional equipment helps uphold this standard.

Technical Limitations:

  • Audio Quality: Audio quality is often as important as video quality. Professional cameras can be paired with high-quality external microphones, ensuring clear and crisp audio. Phone microphones, even with external attachments, generally do not match the audio quality achievable with professional equipment.
  • Stabilisation: While modern phones have impressive stabilisation features, professional stabilisation equipment (such as gimbals and tripods) used with professional cameras provides superior stability, especially in dynamic shooting conditions.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Adaptability to Different Shooting Conditions:Professional setups can handle a wider range of shooting environments and conditions, from bright outdoor scenes to dimly lit indoor settings. This adaptability is critical for ensuring that the final product meets high standards, regardless of the shooting conditions.
  • Redundancy and Reliability: Professional cameras are built for reliability and offer redundancy features like dual memory card slots, which are crucial for preventing data loss during shoots. Phone cameras typically lack these professional-grade features, making them less reliable for critical projects.


Professional video companies avoid using phones for filming due to the need for consistency, control, and flexibility from filming to post-production. Professional equipment ensures high-quality results, meets client expectations, and maintains brand image, even for simple shoots. While phone cameras have their place, especially for quick and spontaneous content, they generally do not meet the rigorous demands of professional video production.