Smartphone cameras have never been better. The technology has come a long way. They’ve been used by professional photographers to shoot magazine covers. Apple has built a billboard advertising campaign around photos taken with the iPhone. Obviously smartphone cameras can be used to take good photos in the right circumstances, but how good is the actual camera? Let’s find out.
Before digging in to any comparisons, let’s have a look at what we’re working with. For this article, I’m going to use the camera in the iPhone 7 as the base for a smartphone camera. It’s one of the best available, although most high end Android have cameras that are as good, or almost as good. Mid-tier Android phones are only a year or two behind.
The iPhone 7 has a 12MP camera with a fixed focal length lens that’s equivalent to 28mm on a full-frame camera, with an aperture of f/1.8. The camera has a shutter speed range of 1/3rd of a second down to 1/8000th of a second. It’s got an ISO range of between 34 and 1500. The sensor is 6.25mm by 5.16mm.
We’ll come to what those specs really mean in a moment, but let’s set a baseline to compare them to. Compact cameras are pretty much dead, so we’ll use an entry level DSLR. This DSLR is obviously going to be better, but that’s the point: we’re just interested in how much better it is.
The Canon EOS 80D has a 24.2MP sensor and can use any of Canon’s EF and EF-S series of lenses. It has a shutter speed range of 30 seconds (even longer with Bulb mode) to 1/8000th of a second. The ISO range is 100 to 25600. The sensor is 22.5mm by 15.0mm.
In the right conditions, smartphone cameras are great. To anyone who’s not a professional or zooming in incredibly close to inspect every, they’ll be difficult to tell apart. Look at the two photos below, can you tell which one was taken by a $5000 camera and lens and which one was taken with an iPhone 7 Plus? I can barely tell, and I took them! There are obviously some slight differences in color and framing, but that’s just in how the cameras handled different things. Neither photo is clearly superior to the other.Read More...
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