iPhone 5 vs Budget Compact

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by havoc315, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    After a discussion in another thread, I thought I would try a blind "taste test."
    There is no question that a dSLR will give better image results than an iPhone. Same can be said for a mid-level or high-level compact camera.

    But if you already have an iPhone 5, or Galaxy III, or one of the other top smart phone cameras, should you spend another $50-$100 just to have a seperate compact camera?

    For this test, I used my iphone5, and I used a 2-3 year-old Sony Cybershot that we bought for my son when he was 6. It was about $100 at that time., it's 10mp and 3 or 4X zoom. The iPhone 5 is 8mp, and has no optical zoom. (obviously, if optical zoom is a big priority, its a reason to get even a cheap P&S). I did absolutely no post-processing or editing. Everything is straight out of the camera. For the iphone though, I did try out some of the picture-taking apps -- not editing apps. Just camera apps. But no further editing after taking the pictures.

    I'll leave this comparison "blind" for a few days, and then I'll un-block the exif data.

    First, an oil painting of a tulip, without flash. Camera 1 and camera 2:

    [​IMG]
    flower1 no flash by Havoc315, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Flower2 without flash by Havoc315, on Flickr
     
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  3. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  4. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  5. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Just a wooded area on a cloudy day.... Sharpness of the tree? Dynamic range?

    [​IMG]
    woods1 by Havoc315, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    woods2 by Havoc315, on Flickr
     
  6. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  7. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  8. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    An outdoor water scene, some grass. Which camera better captures the lighting and the colors of the grass?

    [​IMG]
    water1 by Havoc315, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    water2 by Havoc315, on Flickr
     
  9. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  10. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Now the bottle of wine with flash. Probably best to judge all 4 of the pictures (without and with flash together). With flash, 1 camera lost the shadows and the other camera lost the highlights.


    [​IMG]
    bottle1 with flash by Havoc315, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Bottle2 with flash by Havoc315, on Flickr
     
  11. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  12. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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  13. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    I should have created a poll but oh well...
    So comments on camera1 versus camera2?
    Overall, which camera is the better performer? Or about the same?
     
  14. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

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    My guess would be that camera 2 is the iPhone.

    Based on these, I think camera 2 did better overall.
     
  15. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    I just came from a family party. Two of these pics were taken with an iPhone 4s (not mine). The other was taken with a $185 Canon SX260 pocket Megazoom. Both images are sized down, the iPhone pics were downloaded from a post to Facebook.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
  16. Gianna'sPapa

    Gianna'sPapa DIS Veteran

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    Call me picky, but I do like to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. You're using the latest cell phone technology to technology that is 2-3 years old. I don't know which one is which, but #2 seems to perform consistently better. I just question your methodology. Some of the photos appear to be at different focal lengths which can also affect the image. You would have been better served to use a stabilizing platform to better replicate the images. I think you need to improve your testing methodology.
     
  17. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    I tried to use the same focal length. The iPhone is 33mm, I believe. The compact had to be zoomed in slightly for this focal length. Did my best to get them close.

    Yes, the compact is old. I wasn't going to buy a new compact just to run this test. But I still think its a fair test for the question presented. As people with smartphones do tend to upgrade every 2 years or so. While most people keep their cameras around longer.
    And I certainly believe a new, mid level compact will match or exceed the iPhone. But the question is really, how does it compare to a "cheap" camera.
     
  18. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Once again, ignoring my under $150 challenge ;)

    But Ross, of the 10+ images I posted, which camera did better?
     
  19. MolonLabe

    MolonLabe DTOM

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    Am I the only one who finds it ironic someone is willing to spend a few hundred dollars on a phone but not on a camera?

    Personally I'd say they both are sub par and you should get a Samsung S3 which is going to be superior to the Iphone 4 or 5.

    As to the question of which *one* is best, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Which camera *consistently* takes better pictures is something I'd be much more interested in.
     
  20. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    That's why I posted 10+ samples, to judge consistency.

    An iPhone 4S is $99 on contract, $50 at some retailers. And it does a lot more than take pictures.

    Now, if you put a high value on your photography, then I absolutely agree -- set aside money and invest $$$ in a good camera. I certainly place such a value.

    But for others who put less value on their photos... (Who already own a iPhone - galaxy siii- etc), they better off spending $100 on a cheap camera, or just sticking with the convenience and features of their phone?

    My in-laws just got back from a 2 week trip to Israel. They projected their photo slideshow onto our 50inch HDTV. They stuck 100% to the convenience of their iPhone 4. (Not even 4s-- really a pretty poor camera ). I offered to lend them my Sony Rx100 -- but they weren't looking to put a priority on pictures. They wanted to stick to easy, simple, a device they carry anyway, and a device where they could easily share pics without having to upload to a computer.

    Anyway, the point-- even with a "bad" camera phone, many of the pictures were interesting, sharp, and a pleasure to view. And they satisfied my in-laws quest for convenience.
    As a photo snob myself, I would have wanted better pictures.
    But for my Inlaws, and millions of people like them, there was simply no reason to use anything other than a smartphone.
     
  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    I'll play.

    I liked some of the images from Camera 1 better in some of the situations and the images from Camera 2 better in others.

    Despite the questionable testing methodology, both cameras probably served the purpose of capturing a snapshot in the situations that you presented. And snapshots will probably suit a number of people in terms of what they wish the snapshot to represent when they come back to look at the picture in the future.

    I haven't seen the other thread or discussion that kicked off this one, Havoc.
    But you asked if we would spend extra money on a separate compact if I had an iPhone 5 or budget compact?
    My answer is yes - providing I had a specific need or use for the separate compact. And the answer is yes irrespective of what dSLR and lenses I currently have in my bag. The snapshots for the budget compact and the iPhone 5 you've shown will not suit my photography needs in every situation. And the photographs I get out of my dSLR is great; but there will be times when I will need a separate high-end compact for specific situations.

    But that's me.


    Nice thread, though.

    princess::upsidedow
     

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