iPhone 5 vs Budget Compact

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

  1. hakepb

    hakepb DIS Veteran

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    Exactly. Canon is going for "bigger specs" at the expense of IQ in their cheap line...which makes the iPhone vs bargain camera argument more equal...
     
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  3. photo_chick

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

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    All but one of my point and shoots, and they date back to just before the turn of the century (it sounds so cool to say that LOL), have the same level of manual control as my DSLR with the exception of focus. Meaning I can control shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance. They are not advanced or high end point and shoots as I was still mainly shooting film and couldn't justify the cost of more back then. From what I've seen the last few years have seen small point and shoots take a step away from having manual controls as the line between causal cameras and enthusiast cameras has become better defined.

    That one point and shoot that I have that doesn't have manual controls was a $20 Vivtar in 2004 that I bought for my daughter to play with when she was 4.

    Not too long ago that price range was budget for a digital camera. My first p&s was considered cheap and low end at $500.
     
  4. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg WEDway Peoplemover Rider

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    My P&S camera, which I rarely ever use, is a 3-year-old Sony - it's a slim credit-card style, internal folding lens design with a tiny sensor and no manual controls. It does have some moderate settings accessible in P mode (It's either P or Auto or Scene modes)...such as White Balance, ISO, EV, metering mode, and focus area. That's it - no actual control over shutter or aperture. However, the fact that it has a center-weight meter and a spot focus, plus EV, allows one to control the exposure to a fairly high degree...I can adjust the shutter and aperture by metering off lighter or darker areas in the frame, lock down with a half-press shutter, and adjust the exposure under- or over- using the EV. So despite being a mostly automatic slim pocket camera, I can still exert photographic control over the shot by limiting the metering and focus areas and using that for exposure control. Even such a tiny amount of control makes a big difference for me as a photo enthusiast, and part of the reason I haven't warmed to phones as cameras. Not to mention the fact that when I'm in a place inspiring enough to make me want to take a photo of it, the last thing I want to be doing is chatting on a phone, so in most such places my phone is turned OFF! I can't even imagine how annoying it would be if I was lining up a beautiful shot, and suddenly my camera started ringing and flashing caller ID! I prefer to keep my phones and my cameras as far apart from eachother as possible. ;)
     
  5. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    There really is no definitive answer as to which is "better" any more than which camera is "better", which is what this is actually about. If a phone takes photos that are acceptable to us then we should not need another camera, if the phone does not deliver then we need something else. Funny enough, when I posted two images of the same scene taken with iPhone5 and Panasonic G3 side by side (both in HDR) over half of the viewers chose the iPhone image as the best even though I found it to be poor.

    This may explain the high level of acceptance of phones as cameras, the average viewer is not looking for the same things in an image that photographers are looking for. I have met several people at WDW who were taking photos with their phone but left their dSLR back in their room. Again, it may be that that non-photographers do not look at a photograph in the same way in which serious photographers do. The phones provide a crisp punchy (but harsh, in my opinion) image compared to the more subtle tones of an enthusiast camera and many people seem to prefer the phone images.

    As an engineer I like numbers to quantify things and consider DXOMark a good guideline for sensor performance. Still, the numbers do not measure everything (more accurately, we do not know how to measure everything that matters). This is similar to audio where equipment that measures the same can sound quite different.
    Bottom line: my iPhone5 does not deliver what I need (not even as well as an inexpensive camera) so I will continue to carry a real camera. That and what ZackieDawg wrote, I too prefer to keep devices separate. ;)
     
  6. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    lol.... That's a funny picture. But, you can always put your phone in airplane mode...
    And truthfully, the iphone can exert the same level of control, probably a bit easier than the compact you're talking about. With the iphone, you can also select a focus/metering spot, using the touch screen. So arguably, slightly easier than on the basic budget camera.

    Of course, in terms of exerting control and final image quality.....
    A photo enthusiast will want/need something very different than a total layperson.
    For an enthusiast -- They can exert control in the manner you suggest. But for the total layperson, they wouldn't understand "spot metering."
    The "aps" on a smart phone can enhance photography for enthusiast and layperson alike.
    It's pretty telling, IMHO, that you see many professional photographers embrace the iphone as their "back up." Personally, I prefer the Sony RX100 as my backup.... but even for me, there are times that the iphone is a nice addition to the camera lineup.
     
  7. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Very good point. And this is true in both directions.
    There are reasons the "average" viewer may prefer the iphone and the enthusiast would prefer a separate budget compact, and there are reasons where the average viewer may prefer a separate compact and the enthusiast is happy with the iphone.

    For example -- Seen some people bemoan the weak flash in the iphone. But a real enthusiast, is generally not happy with built-in flashes regardless.
    Similarly, while all users may consider zoom, it seems to be a higher priority for the average user, while the advanced photographer is more understanding of the need to zoom with your feet. (I think many "average users" would take a $200 Canon SX260 with super zoom, over the $2800 fixed lens Sony RX1, purely based on the zoom. But no enthusiast would make that choice if they could have either camera for the same price).

    On the other side, the iphone does seem to produce bright and less subtle images... which are often preferred by the "average viewers" as you were talking about.

    Of course, a lot of "bad" iphone photographs, are simply because they are taken by people with absolutely no knowledge or intuition for photography.

    Take the smart phone and put it in the hands of someone who knows photography... and you can get impressive results. And the same can be said for a "budget" compact as well.
     
  8. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    On that topic, the main use of a zoom lens may be to compensate for distance but zooming with our feet is still not the whole answer. The primary reason for choosing a focal length should be to set the size of the subject once we have established a position that sets the desired relationship between foreground and background items.

    This is not often done but I see it in many of the best photos on this board.
     
  9. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    All true. Particularly, if you are trying to achieve a bokeh effect. (I love to use my 210mm zoom lens, for semi-macro shots)

    But I don't think most lay people are using such considerations. How often do you see "good zoom" as the top priority for a layperson shopping for a camera. And that is usually not the top priority of a photo enthusiast. I'm not saying zoom is unimportant for an enthusiast, just saying it doesn't have the same priority and often has a different use. (Would a layperson rather have a superzoom lens, or a series of prime lenses at different focal lengths? Which would the enthusiast prefer to have most of the time?)
     
  10. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    Umm, ok. I guess that is a jab at the iPhone pics I posted. GMAFB, your samples were nothing to look at either. :rolleyes2
     
  11. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    Truthfully, the best of these 3 images is the first one. The only negative with it, is the resolution is quite low -- It appears that it was ripped off a facebook page, explaining the low resolution.
    The second group shot is very poorly composed, and the resolution appears to be reduced by ripping it off facebook. Would need the full resolution image to judge.
    The 3rd image is the only 1 posted at full resolution. It's sharpness is ok (probably better than the 2nd image, but can't really tell without seeing the full resolution copy of the second image), with some bad glare, shadows and red-eye from the flash.

    The first image is the sharpest with most even lighting. The full resolution version of the picture is likely the best of the 3.
     
  12. photo_chick

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

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    Just considering depth of field is a little oversimplifying things when you start talking about spatial relationships in regards to focal lengths. There's also perspective and compression which are arguably bigger considerations much of the time than depth of field.

    But I agree, for most casual shooters who just want to pick up a camera and go on auto zoom is all about reach. Really, most enthusiasts only consider reach and maybe depth of field when they are deciding what focal length to use. Spatial relationships are advanced aspect of photography that many just don't think about. But it can make a huge difference in some images.
     
  13. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    A 1280 pixel wide image is not full resolution. I am not going to address your other comments as you have already made up your mind on this topic.
     
  14. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    I can't see the pixel count. But quite clearly, the third image is posted at a much higher resolution than the other 2.

    The iPhone 4s.. as an 8mp camera, should be able to produce good resolution shots at normal print sizes. Those shots appear to be greatly reduced resolution.
     
  15. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    It is as simple as right-clicking the image in your browser and then clicking properties. The top two are 960 and the third is 1280. You could also just download the 3 images to your local drive. I can understand why you favor the Phone if you think the first two are 'reduced' and the third is 'full sized'.
     
  16. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    As I go off on a tangent again, to paraphrase Alain Briot: talent or intuition may count for something but the harder I work at this and the more time I spend trying to improve, the better my talent and intuition become. ;)
     
  17. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    You have obviously studied this. :) It is an advanced topic but a key part of photography where a small change can make a big difference in the photograph. It is harder to sell than megapixels and zoom range so we don't hear much about it. ;)
     
  18. havoc315

    havoc315 DIS Veteran

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    I don't get an option for properties when I right-click those photos..... But if your numbers are correct, then the third picture has a 30% greater resolution, that's a very big difference at the photo sizes you posted. It's also a matter of the image being degraded by posting on facebook.
    I'd be interested in seeing the "originals" of all 3 images, but truthfully, it's really only helpful if the images are taken at the same composition, by the same photographer.
    The first image is the sharpest, with the most even exposure.
    But if you disagree, it does show that different people will judge image quality differently.
     
  19. rossb

    rossb Mouseketeer

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    I have IE and Firefox on my desktop. Both let me right-click images and view either 'Properties' or 'Image Info', which returns the image dimensions.

    Downsizing is very kind to iPhone images, they will look much worse in full resolution. You already decided that photo 1 is best and I don't think the full resolution versions will change your mind. Photo 1 is from the phone, so I guess the phone can be declared the winner of this comparison.
     
  20. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    That has been my experience as well, iPhone photos look good on an iPhone display but on a large monitor they don't hold up well. In low light it gets worse very quickly. I took some in Be Our Guest ballroom, the noise is bad and the detail is gone but on the iPhone display they look pretty good.

    The lens is about 6mm diameter and the sensor is 1/3.2" afaik. It is really good for what it is but it isn't powered by pixie dust! ;)
     
  21. photo_chick

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

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    Are you sure that's not noise you're seeing? Looks a lot more like noise and not low resolution to me on those first two. But what do I know. I'm just a girl with a camera.
     

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