iPhone 5 vs Budget Compact

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

  1. kofslinky

    kofslinky Mouseketeer

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    I agree with this post! I was looking at the picture options, and occasionally I thought the 1st one was better and occasionally I liked the 2nd one better. I found the 2nd one was brighter most of the time- be that a good thing or a bad thing seemed to depend on the picture. Both "cameras" can take a decent picture when the settings are understood and played with I'm sure. Would I want to use either for once-in-a-lifetime pictures? Probably not. Would I use either of them (once I learned the settings) to take regular, every day pictures? Sure. Would I use either of them to take pictures at Disney? Well it would depend on what I wanted from the pictures. Great pictures of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities? I don't want either. Pictures from the upteenth trip? Sure, why not.

    That's my opinion.

    popcorn::
     
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  3. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Agreed 100%. There are times when one might want the convenience of a super zoom. Or the portability of a high end compact. (I used the Sony rx100 on my last Disney trip).

    But what would you say to someone who already owns a good smartphone, who just wants basic good snap shots, and doesn't want to spend more than $100?

    At current prices, you need to spend a minimum of $150-200 before you are clearly upgrading from a good smartphone. ( and even at that price point, many consumers will prefer the conveniences of the smart phone).
     
  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    The answer I would give would depend on the individual in question and their wants, needs etc of what they want to capture.

    I'll share. A friend of mine went to Japan purely with his iPhone 4S, which also has a reasonable camera. We DID have this conversation and given the individual he was, I suggested that he try only his iPhone for a bit. Afterall, he was going to Japan, the land of electronics, and if he didn't like the snaps from the iPhone, he could walk into any store and have his pick of cameras.

    Needless to say, for the type of photography he was after, the iPhone was more than adequate for his needs.

    If my friend had been a different personality type, I may well have changed my answer.

    But really - unless you're going to Outer Mongolia - most destinations these days will have a camera store that you can go into and get a camera with a bunch of functions and zoom. I think the discussion is moot....as the decision can always be rectified with a walk into a camera shop.
     
  5. MolonLabe

    MolonLabe DTOM

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    The price is built into the contract, you're still paying for it, be it up front or over a 2 year contract.

    I get your point but buying a phone off of amazon with similar capabilities to the iphone 4/s ( save the camera) and putting the rest towards a decent point and shoot is going to be a wash.

    I won't argue the convenience factor obviously.
     
  6. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    I tried bringing up a few of the images in their original format and I gave up when a bunch of them were upside down and appeared to be corrupted. I know which cam is the iPhone and which is the Sony based on the resolutions. I will say that your P&S is horrible. It is soft, it is noisy, and it shows a lot of CA.

    Is your iPhone a better imaging device than your Sony P&S? Maybe under certain circumstances. Your Sony appears to be pretty bad. Your original statement was "IMHO, the iPhone 5 kicks the pants off any p&s under about $150.". I still don't agree with that.

    My P&S collection includes a bunch of pocket models in the $150-$200 range, none of which are advanced models with a "large sensor". Half of them are megazoom models with 10x, 12x, and 20x optical zooms. All of them take higher quality pictures than my iPhone, but I still use the phone often because it is so convenient.
     
  7. photo_chick

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

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    It really depends on what the person's needs are. If they want a camera for snapshots that has easy, instant sharing then a phone is totally the way to go. It's why when I don't use my DSLR I only use my smartphone. But if there are many other reasons, the least of which is optical zoom, why someone would want a dedicated camera. ANd I strongly disagree that you have to spend $150 or more to get a better camera than what's in a smartphone. Better is subjective and if the camera in a smartphone doesn't meet your needs then that $100 could be very well spent on a cheap p&s. To say that a smartphone is the right solution for everyone who wants an under $100 camera is very shortsighted.
     
  8. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Not quite sure I understand... From the consumer standpoint, the iPhone 4S is $50-$100. Yes, you could get a lesser phone for $0... But you're not going to get much of a camera for $50-$100.

    I totally agree that a -good- camera is worth the investment. I'm not suggesting a phone camera is a replacement for a separate camera for all people.
    But for those who want extreme convenience, decent snapshots, at a very low price --- if they already own iPhone or galaxy siii, etc, then they are already covered.
     
  9. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    I never said -everyone.-
    In fact, I've repeatedly stated that if optical zoom is a priority, that's a big reason not to rely on your phone.
    There may be a few other reasons for some cheap compacts. (Such as a cheap waterproof model to use in the pool). But for the most part, if you're just looking to shoot snapshots conveniently, the good camera phone can serve very well. The image quality can surpass a cheap compact, with lots of other "extras" such as touch screen, high resolution screen, GPS, wifi, etc, that can't be found in a cheap camera.
     
  10. MolonLabe

    MolonLabe DTOM

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    You misunderstood me, the price you pay for the phone ($50-$100) doesn't include the costs of the contract you have to buy to get the discounted phone.

    i.e. You either pay the $400-500 for the iPhone up front or you pay $50 now and the rest built into your two year contract.
     
  11. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    At least on my verizon plan, the monthly price doesn't change whether I have a subsidized phone or not. (Just can avoid the commitment of a long term contract).
    So the monthly price is the same. Only way I know to save significantly on the monthly cell bill, is to skip the data -- skip a smart phone altogether. But I need a smart phone and a good data plan, regardless of the camera.
     
  12. photo_chick

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

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    The data plan is required for most smartphones. That's where they're subsidizing the cost of the phones. Sure, it costs the same weather you have a subsidized phone or not. They make more money that way.
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Most people are not photo-nuts like us. Most people would spend $300 - $700 for a smart phone - and this is the true retail cost of a smart phone; not what you might see as a headline subsidised number by your service provider. Remember that your service provider is in the business of selling air-time; not handsets, and definitely not cameras.

    Most people will have a cell phone with a camera these days. They would have bought the cell phone because they wanted to make calls or to have a smart phone for data roaming. The fact that the phone makers are putting in better cameras in them these days means that most people now have a reasonable portable camera at their disposal. And as they upgrade their phones to more recent models, they might well have a better portable camera than anyone of us could have imagined some 3 - 4 years ago.

    But a standalone camera? They would probably consider that a luxury. Its highly likely that most people would not want to spend $150 - $200 on a P&S. Afterall, a standalone camera does not allow them to access FB; nor listen to their music or even make a basic phone call.

    However, I wanted to clarify something. What is your reason for this thread and your question?

    I don't believe that there is a right or wrong answer to your question as I truly believe that the individual needs, wants and wallets will factor into the decision making. Whilst interesting and amusing to discuss, what difference does it make on which device takes a better picture? As your pictures demonstrate, both take pictures that would satisfy most people. I would guess that most people would want to take a picture and share on twitter, FB or MMS to a friend/loved one. If that is their need, a standalone camera just adds additional time and effort to load up.
    And remember, most people are not photo-nuts like us (and there is nothing wrong with that).

    The bottom line for me is that at the end of the day, as long as no one asks me to buy them a camera or a smart phone, I'm cool with whatever they choose to use to take their pictures and their memories.
     
  14. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    The reason for the thread was discussion. Prompted by a debate in another thread about whether a standalone is always better than a smartphone. Thus, I tried to perform an objective test. Personally, I found the p&s perform better in 1 or 2 shots, they matched in 1 or 2, and the iPhone won out in 6 or 7 shots.

    As to a conclusion, I think you voiced a conclusion very well, and I agree with you.
     
  15. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    I stayed out of the first 'discussion' (ie: argument) and was hesitant about getting into this thread. It's generally civil, so I figured I'd offer my analysis since there is at least an attempt to compare two cameras and asking for true input from others.

    First - in many cases, a normal glance at the two sets of photos has #2 looking better than #1. However, there are a few caveats. In several of the photos, the background or foreground blur is downright ugly on #2 - the colors look peppier, and the exposures sometimes are better, but some strange things are going on with motion blur, or doubling/tripling of lines and outlines. Ripples and other odd effects in backgrounds which do not look very good. The cases where #1 looks bad to my eye appear to be due to severe underexposure, or poor WB choices. So part of the analysis might be that camera #2 might be capable of creating peppier, happier looking photos without close analysis and with less or no actual input from the shooter, ie: better for a total amateur uninterested in learning anything about photography. The colors, while brighter and peppier, are often not as true-to-life looking, and the highlights are almost always clipped. Better technique and a little more input from the shooter on shutter speed, WB, and focus would likely yield better results with camera #1 in all cases above.

    Second - all of this requires ignoring the relevance of a zoom lens - as soon as the variable focal length capability comes into consideration, the P&S camera has significantly more overall versatility and can often get shots that will not be possible or at least will be quite poor due to high levels of cropping with the phone. Even a simple 3x zoom that can get you to 105mm or 110mm for a shot to fill the frame better will improve your results for something on the other side of a fence where you can get no closer to the subject.

    Third - I find it's all a matter of how much (or little) effort one wants to make towards taking a photo, and whether they want the presentation to have maximum pop and presentation for normal small print viewing or TV slideshows with the family, versus achieving realism in color and saturation. If one wanted the peppier look, the phone camera defaults to precisely that - whereas with the P&S camera, MOST of them have the option to tune the JPG output to something more like this - Vivid modes, amp up saturation and contrast one or two notches, and increase sharpness. This will deliver that more dynamic looking photo that looks better from a normal distance, but might not hold up to closeup scrutiny as well. But even a very basic P&S camera, that has no true manual controls, and shoots mostly in auto, can still be better controlled and manipulated by someone who is interested in photography and learns the basics of exposure...so in the long run would still be the better camera choice...being able to change focus area, metering area, white balance, set drive mode, even very basic controls like that can be used to force a mostly 'automatic' camera to do what you want. Most of the shots in this thread that were badly underexposed would have been easily adjusted by choosing a different metering mode, or by adjusting EV up +1 or so. The bad WB shots could have been adjusted manually with the camera's WB controls. The motion blur shots could have been fixed by a steadier hand, a faster shutter speed by metering differently or manually controlling the ISO level, etc. Yes, this would require actually having some input regarding your output, and if not interested in that, an iPhone can probably produce shots that look prettier with less involvement in the shot taking process.

    The big problem is when in boards like this one - not camera-specific enthusiast forums - where many people just come to the 'photography' forum to see photos from Disney but really have no interest in becoming a 'photographer'...because some of us here are actually camera-enthusiasts, and are camera nuts...so when making comparisons, recommendations, etc, it's hard for us to put aside our enthusiast side and consider that others may not have any real interest in knowing how or why an exposure did something, or how to override a camera and force it to do something else - they just want to point in the general direction, press a button, and get the prettiest photo they can share on Facebook or in a low-res television slideshow...with as little effort or knowledge on their part as possible. IPhone has developed a simple camera in their phone that produces what many non-enthusiast consumers want to see - bright, happy, colorful photos that look good at normal viewing distances. Realism, pixel-peeping, blown highlights, etc are not part of their expectations or desires.
     
  16. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Great post. But just to comment on these notes, for this little experiment:
    The P&S used has virtually no manual controls. Cannot change the EV, cannot change the white balance.
    The only manual modes on this camera are: Macro focus or regular focus. And flash on, flash off, flash auto.
    And of course, a 3X optical zoom.

    Other than that, absolutely no manual control. (And as you noted in another paragraph, the type of users who are looking at the cheaper budget cameras versus iphones, aren't those with an interest in learning how to use manual controls). I found this to be a pretty fair test, as other than turning on and off the flash, I wasn't choosing any options.

    Now, more manual control is coming down the compact camera ladder. Where 3 years ago, most compacts had only minimal manual control... Now advanced compacts have as much control as a dSLR, and even mid-level had substantial amounts of manual control. Meanwhile, something like the iphone doesnt really offer manual control of the exposure, but allows for tons of processing options with different apps. And even some pretty basic cameras have some basic scene modes and control.

    What I find interesting..... for someone with a low interest in photography... who already has a smartphone and likes the convenience of the camera, what is the approximate price point where a separate compact camera gives a significant upgrade and reason to switch.
    Now, the answer to that question is largely driven by the individual needs. As fully acknowledged, if optical zoom is important, than even an ultra cheap compact camera could be useful.
    But for someone who is happy with the fixed lens/digital zoom of the iphone, what is the price point where image quality started to undeniably surpass the iphone, and the extras start to compete with the convenience of the iphone?
    This number is changing as technology evolves and becomes cheaper.. but right now, I peg this number at about $150-$200 plus.

    For example... I've played around with the Canon SX line... The current model, the SX260 goes for about $200. Now, putting aside price, some people might still like the convenience of photo sharing on their iphone. So the iphone still has some advantages. But the Canon SX does start to offer significantly better image quality, manual control, with a huge zoom. So unless someone is completely and totally hung up on the convenience of the iphone, I'd strongly recommend they go with the SX260.

    On the other hand, if someone were to say, "I already have an iPhone 5/Galaxy 3/etc, Best Buy has a 10mp 4X compact camera on sale for $75, should I get it?"
    To that person, I'd personally recommend they consider just sticking with their phone unless the zoom is a big selling point.
     
  17. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    I bought my A570is in 2007 and it has manual control:

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A570IS/A570ISA.HTM

    In the past the Canon A series always offered manual, but I think that stopped recently. The Canon SX series has been offering manual control for many years now, so have many Panasonic Lumix travel zooms.
     
  18. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Exactly! That camera was about $250-300 back in its time.
    Nowadays, you are seeing at least some level of manual control even on some budget compacts.
     
  19. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    I got it on sale at Staples for about $150 and the deal included a free Epson PictureMate photo printer. It was not considered to be a high-end model at the time.
     
  20. hakepb

    hakepb DIS Veteran

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    Canon has really watered down their A series..its both sad and deceiving. At best you now get scenes and a P mode to go with Auto. And why does a new A2600 have a 16mp sensor when their top of the line SX50 and SX260 only have 12?
     
  21. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    The 12MP sensor is cleaner and faster. That is more than enough MP for a 1/2.3" sensor.
     

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