iPhones vs Point-And-Shoots

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by paultanderberg, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. paultanderberg macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2012
    I know, I know. This might have been discussed many times before, I apologize. I'm just wondering if technological advances in mobile phones have made iPhone specs above point-and-shoot specs. I don't know much about cameras or photography in general, but from what I can see, the f/2.4 of the iPhone seems so be preferable to the f/2.8 on my point-and-shoot (Powershot SD1100 IS) and has the exact same megapixel specs, but is there something to be said about image sensor size that still would make point-and-shoot a viable, portable option when there is no DSLR around? Or is it superfluous in today's world dominated by mobile phones with the specs they have?

  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Keep it mind that F2.8 is "fast" which makes sense for handheld. But that speed comes at a price of thin DOF. Thin DOF is usually not what you want for most landscape work. If my wants to take a serious shot, and does not have her DSLR, she uses her S95, not her iPhone.
  3. axiomission macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2007
    in a nutshell,

    Having an f2.4 aperture on a camera lens does a few things:
    - More light is able to be exposed than on other camera lenses with a high f stop. this means you'll have better low light exposure.
    - Has a shallower depth of field which means you'll have a tighter area of focus before you start to see lens blur or "bokeh"

    The sensor though has much more to do with what you speak of. Having an f2.4 lens has little relevance on say a wide landscape at noon. But the sensor is more important. For one, Camera sensors in dedicated cameras tend to have better/more accurate color reproduction, as well as better dynamic range which gives you more shadow/highlight detail. Most sensors on a dedicated camera are also larger than the tiny tiny one that is fitted on phones. Thus they are also more sensitive to light and can theoretically take better night shots.

    I personally think that while the new iPhone's sensors are absolutely amazing, (and I would argue that for day shots, it's actually good enough) If I had to choose on what would take a more reliably better shot, I'd choose a dedicate camera. Just my two cents.
  4. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio

    I agree that my iPhone camera is not replacing an slr or a p&s any time soon. The cell phone manufactures market their cameras like they are the second coming of photography. It's more like another accessory or an extension of my photography. I use my iPhone camera regularly and achieve average results at best. I plan to use my phone mounted on some sort of mini tripod or what have you. It will be a pain to carry around a mini tripod, but if I want better photos, that's what I'm prepared to do. Furthermore, the more I use my iphone camera, the more I appreciate dedicated cameras. Just my .25 though!
  5. loybond macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The True North, Strong and Free
    Actually, I think it's better off than many p&s cameras.

    Sensor size is around 1/2.4" or so if I'm not mistaken (which is the same as many p&s cameras)
    Maximum aperture of f/2.4 is alright
    Can now go to ISO 3200 with lower noise levels
    Fast, shot-to-shot
    Takes 1080p video with continuous autofocus
    Built into a phone with good battery life and sharing capabilities

    Aperture is fixed
    No other controls either, e.g. ISO or shutter

    If you're comparing to $100-200 cameras, might as well just use the iPhone IMO.
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Sensor size is far more important than aperture at such small sensor sizes.

    An f/2.4 lens on your iPhone is obviously not going to be like an f/2.4 on a DSLR or ILC/EVIL/CSC/whatever you want to call a micro-4/3, NEX, Fuji, Samsung NX, or Nikon 1 series camera.

    And since the large majority of your photos at f/2.4 are going to have an infinite depth-of-field anyway due to the small sensor, it's not really about reducing DOF. Achieving shallow DOF would have more to do with (close) shooting distance than f-stop.

    So really, if you want to shoot in a darker situation without using high-ISO, you'd increase aperture size. However, if you had a larger sensor, then a smaller aperture would be acceptable.

    Given the option, I'd rather have a 1/1.8", or 1/1.6" sensor with a f3.5 lens in a good point & shoot, than an iPhone with f/2.4. Having said that, I don't think anybody makes a sensor where the sensor is 1/1.6" and the max aperture is f/3.5. ;)
  7. wolfpuppies3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2012
    Virginia, USA
    The camera that takes the best images

    is that which is with you. I have a number of Canon DSLRs as well as Canon Point and shoots including the S95 which is quite small and pocketable. A G1X always lives in my briefcase, a G10 in my car's glove box. I am a photographer.

    Still, many is the time when my iPhone does just fine. Because it is always in my pocket, the camera might not be.
  8. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2011
    What axiomission said is quite accurate. One thing that's important when looking at tiny compacts (which is what cell phone cameras are) is that it's ill advised to judge based entirely on specs. Yes, the iPhone has an f/2.4 lens, but it's also tiny compared to, even the smallest, compact. This makes for more barrel distortion (fish-eye effect) and less detail, color saturation, and contrast then you'd get on a larger lens using the same sensor. Barrel distortion also occurs on wide shots with point and shoots as well (much more controlled though), but point and shoots have something that the iPhone doesn't have........OPTICAL zoom. Ever used digital zoom on a cellphone? Terrible. For me, I'm used to shooting with primes (fixed focal length) so it doesn't bother me so much, but occasionally I REALLY wish I had an optical zoom as an option.

    Sensor size and mega-pixels are also deceiving. The new iPhone may have a great new sensor, but I bet that if they used the same style of sensor with a lower pixel count (say 5MP) its low light performance would probably be quite improved since the size of each pixel would be larger (provided they design it that way). Per pixel detail would also be much better. It's also missing RAW capability for the more serious photographers.

    Don't get me wrong. I LOVE shooting with my iPhone because it's always with me and "good enough" that I don't yet feel the need for a dedicated point and shoot..........yet. Don't kid yourself though, while it's improving every year, it still has a looonnnnggg way to go until it can TRUELY replace a point and shoot.
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    The answer to me is very, very clear: the iPhone wins out, but for reasons other than what you may think. While it is true that P&S have better image quality (the more expensive ones, especially), the gap isn't large enough to make most people care, people unlike us.

    The biggest advantage the iPhone has is that it is always in your pocket. Most people don't leave the house without their cell phone, so whenever you've got your cell phone, you have a decent camera. You can also easily share your photos, Facebook and Flickr are only a few clicks away. With a P&S, you have to make a conscious decision to put it into your backpack (they're usually too small for your pants pocket) and sharing photos invariably involves a computer.

    While I have a dslr and my next purchase will probably be a Fuji X100 or X200, I use my iPhone for »curiosity snapshots« even if my dslr is with me.

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