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Battle Of The Flagships - Smartphone vs Hybrid DSLR


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Got bored, so I decided to do a quick comparo of the best smartphone camera tech vs the best DSLR hybrid camera tech. This battle pits the mighty Samsung Galaxy Note 7 up against Canon's flagship DSLR the 1DX MkII.  This is a low light test that highlights the benefits of using the Note 7's  "Pro mode" rather than relying on the default auto setting. I then show the same shots captured with the 1DX Mkii for reference. Check it out to see how the current heavyweights compare.

 

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After reviewing my footage I had a startling revelation... apparently, the correct exposure for a night video according to smartphone manufacturers is the same as for daytime. Night must look like day. I think this was part of the fascination with the A7s. The idea that it could make night look like day.  Personally, if I wanted night to look like day,  I think I would rather just shoot during the day. When I shoot at night it's because I want the look of night.

So what do you think of the current mobile tech? 

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For daylight shots, my old iPhone 5S can take great shots: have used many out-the-window cloud shots from airline flights with great results. Beach shots and other similar bright shots look as good as any camera + Apple has excellent color science (full feature films have been shot on iPhones: Tangerine, 9 Rides (low light too)). Future phone cameras will surpass the best cameras of today, including various light field and multi-lens computational camera designs providing shallow DOF and 'perfect (simulated) optics' etc. 

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For Tangerine, they let the phone's limitations define the style. It worked surprisingly well, and sometimes you could forget it was a phone. Wide angle, steadicam, oversharpened, limited DR. Kind of grindhouse lowfi and in your face. The climax worked out pretty awesome because of it. There also seemed to be quite a grade on it and lens flares. But I only watched it once.. not sure all their tricks.

Anyway, for most stuff, even "worse" image quality is what I'll prefer if it means a bigger sensor, better focal range, better lenses (or worse - some character), easier full manual controls, focus pulling. Not sure what would need to be done for me to use a phone for more than selfies. Not that no one should use a phone for anything serious, but I can't, and I'm surprised when people want to

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I know that when I compare my current smartphone to my old point n' shoot from a few years ago, the smartphone wins hands down. So I agree with what's been said. The need to fit better cameras into a small form factor and to improve image stabilization will yield benefits for both DSLRs and dedicated video cameras. That said, I just priced out a Red Weapon. Then I looked at some footage... should not have looked at the footage.

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I went to a special occasion yesterday and had no regrets about using my Samsung S6. I don't pixel peep or anything but knew as soon as I tried it in the store that it was a major step up from anything else I had used before (iPhone 5s, various Samsungs and Oppo find 7a- which is nearly the same as OnePlus One). I was able to give it various people of all ages to take photos and plenty came out fine. Just wished my new G7 had arrived yesterday instead of today for some bokeh (with my oly 45mm 1.8).

But the S6 did a good job and it is so convenient to carry around. Easy to edit and share too of course. The phone is too big for me so might swap for the 2016 A3 if the camera is just as good (probably won't be, unless the Note 7 and S7 cameras are much better than the S6, in which case the S6 camera might be OK for a mid range phone in 2016 like the perfectly sized A3).

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