The first two CHA's I strictly used my DSLR (Nikon D40x). I made the mistake to only take my 35mm fixed lens the first day. I thought this was a logical choice because it took the best photos in low light and had the best stabilization and less chances of noise and blur. I quickly learned a lens that can zoom is a must; especially when THE Donna Martin (aka The stubborn virgin on 90210, aka Tori Spelling) was premiering her new line of assemblage jewelry and I couldn't get a good shot at all of her! The next day I switched to my 18-55mm, which is your standard kit lens, but also carried my 35mm and 55-200mm just in case I had any celebrity sightings. I was fairly happy with my photos. The colors were still weird in some because of the bijigitty lighting and all weren't perfectly in focus even though I tried to adjust the ISO and exposure.
Here's a Heidi Swapp display I took at the first show (Winter 2012) :
The second show (Summer 2012) I brought my SB-600 giganto external flash with me. I was hoping this would help with some of the lighting issues. I packed all of my lenses to take with me but I mostly used the 18-55mm. I didn't have a fancy phone yet, as I didn't at the last show. This was kind of a pain when I was trying to tweet updates from the show floor. I had my iPad at this point now, but those photos were just terrible. I even purchased an eye-fi card that was *supposed* to automatically send photos from my DSLR to my iPad but this never worked for me.
Here's a Heidi Swapp display where I used the external flash at this show:
So here's a photo of a Heidi Swapp display using the iPhone (unfortunately I didn't get a full-display photo this time):
Like I said the first day of the Winter CHA 2013 show was the only day I had my DSLR. Here are some photos I took and comparisons with the iPhone.
The DSLR's photos are better in each example, in my opinion, but the iPhone 5 isn't far behind. Even though the DSLR is better, I still can't justify carrying and risk losing or damaging my camera equipment anymore.
Here are some pretty good shots I was able to get using the iPhone of different samples at the show:
With super-fantastic online stores and blogs like photojojo that offer some pretty amazing phone accessories and even "phoneography" classes, I think the iPhone is definitely a formidable competitor when it comes to convention and trade show photography.
(Just don't take your Christmas card photos with an iPhone.)