When conditions are at their best the latest iPhones are capable of surprisingly detailed, sharp images. Direct sun offers good opportunities for this, but open shade or sundown lighting is sometimes even more successful. Shooting highly detailed objects, that stay still, or under windless conditions, is another factor for success. And shooting multiple exposures, to assure lack of camera shake in at least one of the frames is always recommended. The iPhone’s HDR mode may also assist in creating the impression of sharpness and detail, as long as the subject matter is totally still; any motion can result in the HDR version being less sharp than the single-exposure version of the image.
The iPhone 6 image below follows all the rules above, and results in an unbelievably sharp, detailed image for a phone shot. Click on the image, and zoom in, to get a sense of the actual image detail. While there are some image uses that would still benefit from a higher resolution file, for the vast majority of uses, and many print sizes, this iPhone shot would serve the purpose, making a DSLR version of the shot rather unnecessary.
C. David Tobie