Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:44 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

For a show overrun with various visions of smart drones and smarter homes for the future, the present of CES was remarkably uniform. I saw more iPhones in the hands of CES attendees than I did Android phones across the countless exhibitor booths. From the biggest keynote event to the smallest stall on the show floor, everything was being documented with Apple's latest smartphone, and it all looked so irritatingly easy. I don't want an iPhone, but dammit, I want the effortlessness of the iPhone's camera.

I really don't give a rat's bum about my phone's camera (does it take pictures? Yes? Okay I'm good), so I'm about as interested in this as watching grass grow, but it's a consistent iPhone strong point according to iOS and Android users alike. Since I like science: are there any proper tests concerning this?

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Steve Litchfield
by davidiwharper on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:55 UTC
davidiwharper
Member since:
2006-01-01

All About Symbian and All About Windows Phone editor Steve Litchfield has been a long standing proponent and critic of mobile phone based photography, particularly since Nokia started to really push the boundaries with the N8, followed up by the 808 PureView and the Lumia 1020.

You can get the flavour of how he goes about comparative pieces by reading his latest article, which compares the 1020 with a newer Lumia, the 830, at http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/features/item/20363_New_guard_vs_ol...

Reply Score: 5

The camera is my biggest pain point
by CaptainN- on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:55 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

When I got my first smart phone years ago, it was an iPhone 3GS. I didn't know it would happen, but it caused the retirement of my DSLR. It's so easy to take simple family pictures with the tiny pocket device, that I rarely ever remember to even bring my DSLR with me anywhere.

Subjectively, with each new iPhone I've purchased, I've always found the camera to be leaps and bounds above whatever my friends and family members have in their Android phones (and they always want copies of my photos).

That's not science, but for me the camera has been a huge sticking point. I was almost tempted by that ridiculous Lumia phone a year or so back, but it ran Windows Phone (before Cortana) and from what I read, the night shots still weren't as good as iPhone. So I still prefer my iPhone.

That said, I did pick up a Moto X for some Android dev work last year. I don't mind it mostly, and the camera isn't half bad (still not as good as my wife's iPhone 5s though). I got Moto X specifically because it as the only Android phone on the market without a noticeable input lag (some of them still have it - STILL!). As I type this comment, I'm still stuck on Android 4.4. I also can't stand most of the text/email/calendar apps - they are all simply not as good (or maybe, not as easy) as the Apple alternatives. For games it's mostly the same as iPhone, so that's a wash. Texting sucks compared with iMessage because carriers suck (at least here in the US).

Reply Score: 2

vnangia Member since:
2011-08-08

In my case, it didn't kill my DSLR, but it certainly relegated it to the infrequently used pile. I now generally use it only when I'm traveling to specific events or locations, or astrophotography. I can't think of the last time I used my Canon S100, though my buddy has the Sony RX100M3 and swears by it.

What did me in was a visit to the Natural History Museum. I spent literally 4-5 minutes trying to snap the perfect photo with my Nexus 5 when a pair of hands - my wife's - pointed at the same object, snapped it, and off she went to the next exhibit. After 5 years of waiting for "the next Android flagship phone will have a fantastic camera," I pre-ordered my iPhone 6 on the very first day it was available, and picked it up on launch day. iOS generally feels very primitive and limited compared to Android and iOS 8 specifically feels like a bugfest, but I will live with all of that for the beauty that is the camera. This is the first Verge article in a very long time that's exactly right.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I saw someone showing off an ipad 2's camera at a funeral (no kidding). That was probably similar dim lighting as in a museum. I found the adhoc photos taken there were quite blurry. The owner was praising the photos and was happy, but I'd be disappointed if it were my camera. I'm sure it works better outdoors, or in very low motion scenes, but the action shots are important when you have kids. We invested in a semi-pro camera, and boy does it make a difference in harsh conditions. We don't have to worry about photos being ruined because it's too dark or something is moving in the shot.

Then again, most people who are using their mobile devices are undoubtedly doing it for convenience over other factors. Ie we've gone to shows where people were taking snapshots with their mobiles, and yet we did not have a camera. I can't imagine many of their photos were very good, but at least they got them.

Reply Score: 3

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Then again, most people who are using their mobile devices are undoubtedly doing it for convenience over other factors.


When the final destination is a Facebook page that restricts photos to a max resolution of 504x504, and that will appear as a 2" x 2" picture on peoples' mobile devices... The quality of the image is rather unimportant.

Reply Score: 3

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

The ipad 2 has a pretty crappy camera. That is well known. I own one and it's on a par with the iPhone 3G... okay, not spectacular. On the other hand, the iPhone 4 has a (subjectively) better camera than my Nexus 4 and it is 2 years older hardware wise. That and the fact my Nexus 4's camera regularly reboots Lollipop and even refused to even start up the other day (Android told me there was no camera when I opened the Camera app.)

Reply Score: 2

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Weird. The iPhone had a downright shitty camera, even for a mobile phone, until the 4S. I have no idea what you were doing with a DSLR if you thought the 3GS was a proper replacement.

Reply Score: 4

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Its not that it was better than the 3gs (the iPhone 4S is generally better, even under low light), it's that it was good enough and convenient enough that I started just leave the DSLR at home much of the time. But you are right, I really didn't completely abandon the DSLR until I upgraded to iPhone 4s. Also, the DSLR (a Rebel - I don't even remember what model) was already pretty old when I got the iPhone 4S.

I have been eye balling some of those interesting gadgets that you stick on to the back of a smartphone. They look neat.

Reply Score: 2

Sure
by krakal on Wed 14th Jan 2015 21:02 UTC
krakal
Member since:
2015-01-03

The "science" is incredibly subjective, but you have some parameters:

- The tonal range. This is incredibly hard to measure accurately.

- White balance. This is where digital cameras rock, and many camera phones does a good job at doing the necessary compensations automatically.

- Color accuracy and perceived purity

- Resolution. Probably least interesting, yet most widely marketed.

- ISO range. Incredibly important in terms of versatility, yet no understood by most camera phone owners. Alas.

Reply Score: 2

v RE: Sure
by ezraz on Wed 14th Jan 2015 21:27 UTC in reply to "Sure"
RE[2]: Sure
by krakal on Wed 14th Jan 2015 22:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Sure"
krakal Member since:
2015-01-03

Oh my did you say the science was subjective?


I used quotes for a reason ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Sure
by tf456 on Thu 15th Jan 2015 00:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Sure"
tf456 Member since:
2015-01-07

We're talking about two very different modes of subjectivity however.

In audio (presuming we are talking about recorded audio, how it is reproduced, and not whether or not a particular artist sounds good in a particular venue with particular equipment with a particular crowd, etc), you can control for how the audio is produced, reproduced, and then transmitted, and then you are left with the test subjects personal subjectivity which may be very real to you but which can be factored out with sampling using blind AB testing.

With the metric described here, there is greater difficulty in designing objective testing and even if that were possible, you are still left to aggregate several different scenarios into a single "best, easiest" score.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sure
by WereCatf on Wed 14th Jan 2015 23:52 UTC in reply to "Sure"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

One thing I, personally, want very much is low-light performance; most mobile-phone cameras are designed and calibrated for operation in brightly-lit areas, but Finland is most of the year quite a dark country and as such it kind of matters here. Oh, and image-stabilization: my hands shake like there was a 24/7 earthquake going on underneath me and I just can't get good images without good, optical stabilization.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Sure
by shotsman on Thu 15th Jan 2015 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Sure"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

You make some very good points.

Holding a tablet at arms length and expecting to get sharp images without decent image stabilisation is a foold errand. This is even truer if you are taking piccies in places where the lighting is challenged. e.g. Findland at this time of year.

When I was a student in London in the 1970's I was taking pictures of bands in places like the Marquee using my Praktika-LTL SLR. I'd push Tri-X to 1600 iso. The results (after 45 mins in the dev tank) for the day were judged to be pretty good. By todays standard they aren't.

Nowadays, I can use 6400 ISO on my DSLR (D750) plus a decent VR (24-120 F4) lens and do street photography at night without the need for flash. I've still to find a cameraphone that can get anywhere near matching the DSLR especially if you try to print at 50x40cm (The size of an IKEA frame).

However if all you want to see if those images on a phone or tablet then maybe what is available today is good enough. Only time will tell.

Edited 2015-01-15 06:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sure
by leos on Fri 16th Jan 2015 17:21 UTC in reply to "Sure"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

The "science" is incredibly subjective, but you have some parameters:

- The tonal range. This is incredibly hard to measure accurately.

- White balance. This is where digital cameras rock, and many camera phones does a good job at doing the necessary compensations automatically.

- Color accuracy and perceived purity

- Resolution. Probably least interesting, yet most widely marketed.

- ISO range. Incredibly important in terms of versatility, yet no understood by most camera phone owners. Alas.


You forgot the most important part: Speed. Wakeup to photo, focus time, shot to shot. Traditionally a huge downside to point and shoot and cell phone cameras, the iPhone 6 is extremely fast there.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by stestagg
by stestagg on Wed 14th Jan 2015 21:08 UTC
stestagg
Member since:
2006-06-03

This isn't scientific, but:

A colleague got a sony z3 'because of the camera', and loved it, until he tried to take a group photo at a work event in-front of everyone, after about 3 minutes of blurry/dark/smeary takes, he deferred to someone with an iPhone, which worked first time.

A week later, he sold it and switched to an iPhone 6.

Reply Score: 2

pwjazz
Member since:
2006-07-29
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

That seems pretty accurate, although I am disliking that they have 1 ranking that mixes photo and video.

My personal opinion is that the camera is VERY important in a smartphone. It is one of the most used functions for me and the main reason to keep my phone charged at all times during vacations.

I am using a 1020 that I love for pictures, but I would like to see it have the iphones speed and slowmotion features.

Reply Score: 3

tf456 Member since:
2015-01-07

This is really insufficient for what is being asked to test however.

Yes, you can use controlled, blind test shots and analyze the results with hardware and software for qualities like color range, dynamic range, focal depth, contrast, artifacting, etc... when all subjective factors are isolated out. However, the question is: what is the highest-quality, easiest to use camera under any and all circumstances (not idealized, controlled lab scenarios).

These tests are limited under some very obvious scenarios: how do you create a well-controlled motion shot for example? Or how do you create a controlled test shot for highly variable lighting? (Since different cameras have different focal depths, it's virtually impossible to design a controlled test shot, for example, for a low light shot with an extreme light source or glare in some portion of the camera's field.)

Then you have the fact that most smartphone cameras are doing some color balancing and other tricks in software to not necessarily create the most accurate reproduction but the most "pleasing" reproduction for various scenarios (portraits, low light, high light, macros, motion, etc.)

This is even before you consider issues like speed and UI. That is, a camera can perform fairly well in controlled lab scenarios, but do you actually get the same results if you are in a live scenario and are going from shooting people close up to a low light scene to a well lit scene (consider shooting at a concert, shooting your friends in a crowd with you and the stage in low light scenarios and in scenarios where the light show is affecting the shot), or does it perform worse or slower? Or you don't even have to consider issues like speed to focus for a particular shot or when moving from one type of shot to another — do you simply get the same performance in a real, live scenario as you do in a controlled, lab scenario.

Then you also have to consider still photography and video (which has its own host of other criteria) — for example, the Lumia 1020 is good as a still camera, but very poor as a video camera.

Obviously, trying to analyze the full range of measurable variables and testing each one individually in the most objective manner possible and then looking at the aggregrate scores of all possible quality tests will give you a decent sense of what is likely to be the "best" in uncontrolled scenarios, but it's not a simple thing. And these tests completely (as far as I can tell — the methodology for DSLRs and lens is a bit more clearer and transparent than it is for phones) completely miss the issues of speed and UI that the original article is clearly stating are paramount to his standard for "best,"

Reply Score: 2

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

DXOMark is pretty much the gold standard of camera, lens and sensor testing for anyone serious about photography. I consider myself fairly serious about photography, I have as my 'serious' camera a Nikon D800 plus half dozen pretty good lens. An investment of about £5000.

I love the images the D800 produces but it's big and weighs a lot and carrying it around is not a casual thing, so I have always tried to supplement that with some sort of compact camera. In my opinion currently the Sony RX100 range (I have the first generation) is by far the best small compact camera out there, you can do amazing things with this small device.

I also have an iPhone 6 and previously an iPhone 4s. Both in my opinion have camera that are good, but the iPhone 6 is seriously good. The 4S could take pretty good photos under the right circumstances. The iPhone 6 is a big step up and I am constantly delighted with the results from this camera, if Apple take it up another notch (which I seriously expect they will given their commitment to developing the camera) then it will be hard to justify using any compact camera, although the big powerful DSLRs will continue to have a special role. Meanwhile I am happy to know that every where I go I have pretty decent camera in my pocket.

It's not just the gorgeous image quality it's all the other stuff the iPhone 6 camera get's right that's important. Built in HDR, built in pano shooting with smart image stabilisation, super fast start up (don't miss that shot), fast shooting, rapid fire continuous shooting, very high quality videos, time lapse video, slo mo video. This is a powerful piece of kit. My latest add on gadget for iPhone photography is the clever Nova off camera flash with which you can do some creative lighting effects.

Here are some photos I shot with the iPhone 6

http://tonyswash.com/Tony/tonys-photos?wppa-occur=1&wppa-cover=0&wp...

http://tonyswash.com/Tony/archives/2728

Edited 2015-01-15 01:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Sample bias?
by jessesmith on Wed 14th Jan 2015 23:33 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

I have a low end Android phone and don't notice anything that separates its camera from an iPhone camera. The quality seems to be about level and taking a picture/video is as easy as tapping the camera icon and then tapping the screen. I don't think it gets much easier than that.

I have to wonder if there might be a sampling bias at CES. I mean, a lot of the people there are media/artistic/video reporter types and, in my experience, they tend to lean toward Apple products. (iPhone, Macbook, iPad). They're usually selecting by brand rather than technical capability.

I'm not saying the iPhone camera is bad, I'm just thinking that taking a sample of people at CES (and how they are using their devices) is probably going to yield different results than a random sampling of the popular.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sample bias?
by tf456 on Wed 14th Jan 2015 23:44 UTC in reply to "Sample bias?"
tf456 Member since:
2015-01-07

I don't want to presume, but maybe YOU aren't discerning enough to be a very good evaluator of cameras. Your simple statement of: "taking a picture/video is as easy as tapping the camera icon and then tapping the screen. I don't think it gets much easier than that." suggests you have very little concern for quality. That is: most people I know can see a significant difference between various phone photographs and can actually see a difference in different scenarios for photos on their very OWN phone. Do you think all of your photos are consistently good in all scenarios? Do you think your photos are consistently as good as those from another phone? Do you never notice that some scenarios take more time to focus than others? If not, you probably aren't the person to be making this evaluation because I can assure you there are most definitely differences.

It certainly seems patently absurd to claim that someone who vehemently, even virulently, does NOT WANT an iPhone but does envy its camera capabilities is making that claim based on fanboyism for Apple's brand rather than a desire for quality photographs to accompany his professional work. (But, hey, you probably didn't read the article at all, right?)

Edited 2015-01-14 23:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sample bias?
by WereCatf on Wed 14th Jan 2015 23:49 UTC in reply to "Sample bias?"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I have a low end Android phone and don't notice anything that separates its camera from an iPhone camera.


You may need to have your eyesight checked.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Sample bias?
by jessesmith on Thu 15th Jan 2015 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Sample bias?"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

Yes, because insulting my eyesight is such a great counter argument.

Further down in the comments section there is a link to camerashowdown.com where you can select two phone cameras and then take blind tests to see which device takes pictures you find more appealing. I ran through the test, pitting a Samsung Android phone against Apple's iPhone. The result was that Samsung produced the preferred images 60% of the time. That's almost an even split between the two.

Put another way, however good or poor my eyesight may be, the test shows I see almost no quality difference between an Android phone and an Apple phone camera. If there is a difference, the Samsung camera is slightly better.

Now other people may get different results, but based on the testing I just went through there is no practical difference, which was the point I was raising before in counter to the original article.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Sample bias?
by tf456 on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sample bias?"
tf456 Member since:
2015-01-07

"Put another way, however good or poor my eyesight may be, the test shows I see almost no quality difference between an Android phone and an Apple phone camera."

That's nonsense. You just said you preferred the Samsung 60% and you preferred the Apple 40%. Even if it was 50/50, that doesn't equal to you seeing no quality difference. The fact is: you can discern a quality difference EVERY TIME.

Saying you don't care about quality is one thing, but saying you can see no differences in quality is an entirely different thing.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Sample bias?
by jessesmith on Fri 16th Jan 2015 18:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Sample bias?"
jessesmith Member since:
2010-03-11

No, that's not what it means at all. Besides, you're overlooking the key point here which was that, overall, one camera wasn't better than the other.

As an additional test I got a professional artist to take the test, pitting a random Android phone against the latest iPhone. The results were 6/10 in favour of the iPhone. Again, that's nearly an even split in a blind test, making me think that (overall) there isn't a strong insentive to pick one camera over another based on picture quality.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sample bias?
by Carewolf on Thu 15th Jan 2015 00:53 UTC in reply to "Sample bias?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Depends on iPhone generation. The first ones had BAD cameras, 3 and 4s had average cameras, and the latest iPhones have above average cameras with top camera software.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sample bias?
by viton on Thu 15th Jan 2015 03:04 UTC in reply to "Sample bias?"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

Which phone do you have? Can you post an examples?
Low-end Android phones in my experience had serious trouble with colors (washed out/low detail) and bad autofocus.
Reading bayer pattern from camera is only a small part of work. Digital image processing is a king.

Here some random "point and shoot" at challenging lighting conditions:
http://instagram.com/p/tdOa5KiMwa/
http://instagram.com/p/iwEsDmiM9m
http://instagram.com/p/rhr726CMyI

iPhone6 camera might be much better at low-light situations.

Pretty good depth of field of iPhone5 cam w/o filters (at sunny day):
http://instagram.com/p/nxqKA4CM9e/
Smooth gradients and precise details is required for heavy color correction like this
http://instagram.com/p/w1HkzjCM3-/

Edited 2015-01-15 03:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

This seems relevant
by signals on Thu 15th Jan 2015 01:30 UTC
signals
Member since:
2005-07-08

I've been consistently impressed with the pictures my Nexus 6 takes, and it looks like I'm not the only one:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nexus-6-beats-the-iPhone-6-Plus-by-a...

I guess this qualifies as "subjective science." It was a blind test, so the respondents did not know which phone they voted for and had to subjectively evaluate the end-results. The Nexus 6 wiped the floor with the iPhone 6 Plus.

But, that's only half of the story. The real advantage that iOS devices seem to have is one of UI. The iPhone camera app is faster and more capable than my N6. Hopefully with Google exposing a RAW image API in the new Android, we'll see some 3rd party camera apps come along to fix the issue, but only time will tell.

Reply Score: 4

consumertization
by grat on Thu 15th Jan 2015 02:46 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

Since I use a DSLR to take real photos, where I care about such obscure concepts as depth-of-field, exposure, circle of confusion... and frequently work with RAW images, really, all cell phone cameras are the equivalent of an instamatic or polaroid (look it up, kids) to me.

Even the nifty HTC One/M8 duo lens only works in bright light-- trying to invoke some of it's voodoo on a low light or flash photo results in an error message (it can produce some nice snapshots, though).

The more megapixels you cram into a tiny sensor, the crappier the result is, because there are only so many photons to begin with, and the more work the CPU has to do to fix the photo-- and it's guessing (much like a 16 bit digital audio converter. Ha!).

Don't get me wrong-- if I want to document something, or record information in a hurry, I reach for my cellphone.

However, if it's something I'm serious about photographing, I'll either reach for the compact superzoom or the DSLR with the right lens.

Generally speaking, cell phone cameras are another example of consumers being told that less is more (well, in this case, more is more, but more is less, because more megapixels does not equal more light).

Reply Score: 4

My 2 cents
by dvhh on Thu 15th Jan 2015 03:08 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

In my opinion,
the iPhone camera has a great default settings (for the US users, and only the US count ), and that is really all that count for 95% of people that take picture with their phones.
And android suffers from the "I need feature to differentiate from the others" so we end up with with tons of unused and unaccessible settings, with default settings selected most of the time by a Product manager (probably not a US one). Including that there is not guideline for camera application usability on Android, so camera application for each phone model differs from each others in the way you take picture and the way you access settings.
So yes I would agree that on that point Android is a mess.

My suggestions for fixing it, none, or at least only offers different image tweaking default for each country. Android camera apps might be a mess, but in most part I love the innovations and dislike stagnation.

Reply Score: 3

RE: My 2 cents
by signals on Thu 15th Jan 2015 03:56 UTC in reply to "My 2 cents"
signals Member since:
2005-07-08

And android suffers from the "I need feature to differentiate from the others" so we end up with with tons of unused and unaccessible settings


Have you used the stock camera app in Android 5.0? There are no features, and very few settings. The few settings it has are hidden away so that the average user probably doesn't even know they are there. It's pretty much a point-and-shoot affair, but it takes pretty good snapshots.

The tons of unused and inaccessible features you speak of tend to be added by the likes of Samsung and HTC. So, it's really not an Android problem per se. But, it is a good example of why "fragmentation" is still a problem in the Android world.

Edited 2015-01-15 03:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Camera comparison - blind test
by Bobthearch on Thu 15th Jan 2015 05:07 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

Anyone who thinks a cell phone can take photographs as well as a DSLR or even a point-and-shoot camera should check out this website and decide for themselves. Maybe they're right?
http://camerashowdown.com
The website displays photos side-by-side and readers blind-vote for which photo they prefer.
It doesn't have the new iPhone 6, but it does have the iPhone 5.

My own results comparing an obsolete entry-level DSLR to the iPhone 5; the DSLR 'won' in 9 out of 10 shots. The results comparing the iPhone 5 to various point-and-shoot models were more mixed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Camera comparison - blind test
by nicubunu on Thu 15th Jan 2015 08:25 UTC in reply to "Camera comparison - blind test"
nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

But the quality is "good enough" for a lot of people with the added benefit they don't have to carry a large and heavy real camera.

Reply Score: 2

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I agree, and there are times I only carry a p&s due to environmental factors, size, or convenience. And as long as a person realizes the limitations of whatever device they're using, and works within those limits, their typical photos could be quite good. And it's likely that even an experienced photographer with expensive equipment still takes a foul shot now and then.
But when someone says their cell phone has replaced their DSLR completely, or that their cell phone pics are "just as good," well... Maybe they can't tell the difference or they just don't care.

Reply Score: 3

nicubunu Member since:
2014-01-08

As a professional photographer, usually I can tell if there was a DSLR or a phone camera, but a lot of people who are not trained, most likely won't be able to tell the difference in some cases.

Reply Score: 2

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I think that's true considering the final destination for most photos, crappy low-resolution websites (Facebook, Photobucket, etc.). But I suspect nearly anyone could tell the difference if the photos were displayed side-by-side on high-resolution computer monitors or printed to a typical wall-hanging size. The difference between a 'real' camera and a cell phone would be especially obvious if only a portion of a photo was cropped for enlargement.

The biggest peeve of mine with cell phone cameras, using them for close-up portraits. Because of the wide (and non-adjustable) angle-of-view of most (all?) cell phone lenses, the end result is a person's head that resembles an over-inflated balloon. I don't know how anyone could think that's a good representation of a person, but millions of these crap pictures are out there. It's even worse than going into a pub and seeing a match on a tv screen with a misconfigured aspect ratio. Ugh.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Bobthearch,

...I don't know how anyone could think that's a good representation of a person, but millions of these crap pictures are out there. It's even worse than going into a pub and seeing a match on a tv screen with a misconfigured aspect ratio. Ugh.


I completely agree with everything you said. And while O/T, I prefer the standard 4:3 ratio over anything widescreen. My camera defaulted to widescreen photos, WTF is that about?? I'm left wondering if the sensor is physically 4:3 or widescreen. I guess people want to take widescreen photos that fit on their widescreen monitors...bleh.

Reply Score: 2

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I prefer the standard 4:3 ratio over anything widescreen. My camera defaulted to widescreen photos, WTF is that about?? I'm left wondering if the sensor is physically 4:3 or widescreen. I guess people want to take widescreen photos that fit on their widescreen monitors...bleh.


I try to intentionally overshoot everything (although sometimes I forget) so that most photos can be cropped to a variety of aspect ratios without losing any of the subject. Website headers, squares, 16:9 widescreen televisions, 8x10 prints, 5x7, 3x4... I rarely know what the photos will be used for when I take them, and many end up being used multiple times at different ratios.

Not all camera sensor have the same aspect ratio either. The popular Nikon DX ratio is 3:2, which is sort-of standard for photography. The iPhone sensor is an odd 4:3, but their camera app displays in standard 3:2. I challenge anyone to explain why Apple did that.

Everyday cameras that offer a "widescreen" option work by simply blocking out the top and bottom of the sensor. I have no idea why people would prefer to use that function on the camera body instead of just cropping later. ???
For me, trying to edit or crop any photos on a tiny camera back or mobile device screen is a futile waste of time.

Reply Score: 3

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

When was the last time you saw a non-photographer print out an picture at 8 x 10 and put it in a frame and hang it on a wall? That was so 1990s if not 1980s. People rarely do that anymore. They put them on websites (I'm not going to plug any) but that's where are going. You don't need a DSLR for that.

As for someone trying to say that the best thing for a camera is more megapixels they don't know what they are talking about. That's like saying the best thing for a race car is wide tires. If you don't know anything about race cars (no knowledge of engines, suspensions for instance) that might seem to be the most important thing. The key words here being "best" and "most".

There is no -one- aspect of a camera that makes one the best. However one bad part, like the lens, will surely make the camera suck.
Usually the whole is bigger than the parts including the interface and the speed of the camera.

A great camera that is slow when other cameras are slightly less good but a lot faster will find itself put in a drawer and used sparingly if at all.

Again, the sum of the parts equal the whole. If you are lacking in one thing you are out of the running.

I have DSLR (and SLR) cameras as well as smart phones with good enough cameras for anything small than a 3 x 5 picture. Below that you don't need a DSLR. It's like taking a semi to pick up a car trunk full of wood.

Reply Score: 0

smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

When was the last time you saw a non-photographer print out an picture at 8 x 10 and put it in a frame and hang it on a wall? That was so 1990s if not 1980s. People rarely do that anymore.


young parents and their relatives love A4 and A3 pictures of the baby...

Reply Score: 3

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

There's always a line of people at the self-serve machines at the local "discount department store." What sizes are they ordering, I have no idea.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

nicubunu,

As a professional photographer, usually I can tell if there was a DSLR or a phone camera, but a lot of people who are not trained, most likely won't be able to tell the difference in some cases.


Well, if they can't tell, then it's surely good enough for them. Even if they CAN tell, but they have to look at two images side by side to be able to do so, then it probably doesn't really matter either.

Glancing at the photo comparison sites linked earlier, it appears that the iphone produces a yellowish tint, but I would not have noticed if I hadn't been paying attention. Also who knows if the white balance was even calibrated?

In my experience even a "bad" camera can take good still shots with a sturdy tripod. However they all seem to suffer from the same basic weaknesses when not enough light is reaching the sensor. This necessitates higher amplification (graininess), longer exposures (motion blur), and more software compensations (lost pixel definition). I find graininess to be visually displeasing, and motion blur even more so, but those are contradicting goals for a camera has a fixed amount of light coming into a tiny aperture. That leaves no choice but to capture a grainy image and use software to fix it.

I think most photographers find it unfortunate that we've been getting insanely high megapixel cameras that require lots of software post processing rather than lower megapixel cameras that can capture better quality raw photos and don't need software to compensate for the lack of sensitivity.

Reply Score: 3

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I think most photographers find it unfortunate that we've been getting insanely high megapixel cameras that require lots of software post processing rather than lower megapixel cameras that can capture better quality raw photos and don't need software to compensate for the lack of sensitivity.


I think that has a lot do with the sensor size. And sensor size is largely dictated by the size of the device.
For example, cramming more megapixels into a low-quality miniature sensor usually results in a poorer photograph. But modern DX- or FX-size sensors seem perfectly capable of handling 24-36 megapixels.
But good luck try fitting a 35mm sensor into a cell phone... ;)

Edited 2015-01-15 18:19 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

But the quality is "good enough" for a lot of people with the added benefit they don't have to carry a large and heavy real camera.


Fortunately many DSLR features are being integrated into some smaller-format cameras. RAW shooting, long optical zooms, user control over aperture and shutter speed, optical image stabilization, and even manual focusing... The overall result is a reasonable photographic compromise in a body that's not much larger or heavier than a cell phone, and less than half the price of an unlocked iPhone 6.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Camera comparison - blind test
by juzzlin on Mon 19th Jan 2015 11:22 UTC in reply to "Camera comparison - blind test"
juzzlin Member since:
2011-05-06


My own results comparing an obsolete entry-level DSLR to the iPhone 5; the DSLR 'won' in 9 out of 10 shots. The results comparing the iPhone 5 to various point-and-shoot models were more mixed.


All these "DLSR vs phone" comparisons are fundamentally wrong, because the point of an DSLR is to enable the use of different lenses and focal lengths. I'd like to see a "DSLR vs phone" comparison in something DLSRs are commonly used for, like bird or sports photography.

Edited 2015-01-19 11:24 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Nearly got a Moto X
by REM2000 on Thu 15th Jan 2015 08:10 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

been said many times before in this topic, i also was close to getting a moto x, i liked some of the accessories such as the Moto 360, the whisper and fast charging, the always on google now also appealed, but like others i didn't because of the camera.

My camera regardless of what one it is, be it my iPhone or DSLR is the most important piece of tech in my life, i love taking pictures and i love looking back, although slightly off topic it's why i also brought a narrative (life logger / camera) because it's so nice to look back after a year and remember all the experiences youve had with the people that matter.

For that reason i kept to the iPhone as the App ecosystem between the two is pretty much on par.

Couldn't be happier the camera on my iPhone 6 is excellent just like my 5 was, everytime it's fast to take the shot and is 90% of the time sharp and well balanced, even in low light conditions.

Reply Score: 3

Android Camera
by Anonymous Coward on Thu 15th Jan 2015 13:33 UTC
Anonymous Coward
Member since:
2005-07-06

When it works, I'm happy with the Google Camera under CM on my Moto Droid Razr Maxx (not even the HD).

On the other hand, it regularly locks up and crashes.

I hope the Droid Turbo is down to a reasonable price by my upgrade date. I know the camera has some issues, but for a camera I use because it is conveniently always in my pocket, it should be good enough...as long as it doesn't crash and lock up.

When I plan to take pictures, I usually take my regular camera with me.

Reply Score: 2

Still love my Nokia 808
by winter skies on Thu 15th Jan 2015 14:55 UTC
winter skies
Member since:
2009-08-21

I for one bought my Nokia 808 for its camera, which still has the largest sensor of all smartphone cameras (bar the Panasonic DMC-CM1) and the Pureview technology enabling "lossless digital zoom" (I'm oversimplifying things, but if you like you can read a well-written summary of how it works here: http://i.nokia.com/blob/view/-/1486928/data/2/-/PureView-imaging-te... ).

Apart from the noiseless, high quality results you get when you don't need the "digital zoom" thanks to oversampling information from a 33-38 MP sensor area, what I find most valuable is being able to properly compose and frame a shot. That's something I would have never been able to do with any other smartphone camera before, and something I can't part from.

The Lumia 1020 builds on that, adding optical image stabilization, but its shot-to-shot times are intolerably long for me.

The iPhone 6 plus pairs an average-sized sensor with OIS and best-in-class image processing, so results are very good. But not outstanding. Excellence is elsewhere.

Reply Score: 2

phones are phones
by bnolsen on Fri 16th Jan 2015 03:16 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

and as long as the camera doesn't suck it's okay. Meaning that if you take a photo and someone looks at it and says it sucks that might mean your cell phone camera isn't competitive.

Reply Score: 2