DSLR or smartphone? It’s an age-old debate that photographers, enthusiasts, and journalists have been waging ever since phone cameras started getting ood. Among gadget nerds, the addition of advanced lenses or improved camera software are often used as reasons for justifying a phone upgrade—perhaps before you actually need to. However, many of the winning photos in the 2021 iPhone Photography Awards were taken on older iPhones and still look pretty dang amazing.
The grand prize-winning photo, “Transylvanian Shepherds,” was taken by Hungarian photojournalist Istvan Kerekes on an iPhone 7. And that’s not an outlier, either. Several winners throughout multiple categories were taken on iPhones that are several years old. The rules of the competition also state that photographers can’t use desktop versions of photo-editing software, though mobile versions are allowed.
Here’s a collection of some of our favorites, and you can check out the full list of winners here. Remember: The best camera is the one you have with you.