The iPhone 5 Shoots Video in Same Resolution as a $900 Canon Camera?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by VideoNewbie, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. VideoNewbie macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2009
    Everyone is saying how the Canon t4i ($900) or t3i ($600) is the best thing for vlogging videos but im a bit confused and i obviously have a lot more to learn but how is it that the canon t4i produces a better quality video than the iphone 5 when both shoot in 1080p?

    i know that there are certain lenses and such to use with the canon to make for a better video but im still debating a bit whether its even necessary for me to buy a canon when i have the iphone 5.
  2. Jman13 macrumors 68000

    Aug 7, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    The sensor in the Canon is very large. The sensor in your phone is the size of your pinky fingernail. BIG difference. Cell phone cameras don't have full resolution of usable pixels. Those 8MP stills? a 3MP DSLR from 2001 will blow it away in true resolution and image quality, because all the pixels are actually recording true data...while the cell phone cam is recording a lot of noise mixed in with that signal. Same thing in video, though for the casual user, you're unlikely to see the difference in good light. (the iPhone 5's video is pretty good, actually).
  3. lookn4wifi macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2012
    I have found the iPhone 5's video camera audio to be excellent. The 3-mic system has done a great job in my applications (drum / band recordings). Handles the volume well without clipping.

    I like the Canons too. We have a T1i.
  4. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    It's true. My 2002 4MP camera is better than the iPhone.

    Regarding the T4i, I recently got one.
    If you're tracking moving objects the focus hunts a lot. Also, you need an external mic to eliminate the focus noise.
    You'll do fine with the iPhone.
  5. travis.hansen macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2012
    I used to shoot videos on my iPhone, then I went and bought the newest model of the canon EOS T4i. My videos are a million times better on the Canon. This claim is simply not true in the least bit.
  6. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    It's an excellent pocket video camera but it can not compete with a DSLR. The sensor size and the lense options on a DSLR crushes the IPhone cameras. Further, if you are really serious about video, you wouldn't use a built in microphone. Give me my T2i any day over my iPhone 5 camera.
  7. Minhimalism macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2012
    Hehe, we have the same combination :D But yes, totally agreed. The T2i/T3i/T4i and probably all of the other Canon DSLRs outperform the iPhone 5 by far. ;)
  8. Radiating, Nov 9, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012

    Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    I consult for reviews on professional photography equipment so maybe I can shed some light on the differences with some technical info.

    While both cameras record in a resolution that is 1920x1080, that is completely meaningless.

    You will not get 1920x1080 resolution in quality video without spending at least $7,000 +lens. Period.

    All produmer/consumer 1080p cameras either do not record true 1080p or record the actual resolution with noticeably terrible quality in other areas (color,moire,calibration, etc).

    The iphone does not even record 1080p video. It's closer to 720p, due to lens constraints which is fine because the T4i records what most people call 720p and then upscales it to 1080p. So in the end they are both 720p (keep in mind good 720p is better than bad 1080p and many tv shows are shot with DSLRs that shoot upscaled 720p )

    Anyways the first major advantage of a dslr vs an iphone is the sensor size. Large sensor size means less noise, in fact at identical apertures the iPhone 5 has 800 (eight hundred) times more noise than a T4i. Of course you don't often shoot at those apertures so practically speaking you'll have around 40 times more noise which is still a lot.

    The other thing a large sensor does is enables a shallow depth of field.

    Next there is the lens of the iphone. Besides having very poor resolution (but still very very good for its class) it has tons of bloom and very low contrast. What this means in practice is that you will have a grayish washed out video with an iPhone and you can't just up the contrast as the contrast is unevenly distributed through light bleed and hazing (though high end DSLRlenses aren't immune to this they have it under control thousands of times better).

    Next you have the video compression which washes out the detail of iPhone videos.

    Also don't think that noise and resolution aren't related and that you're getting a 720p video camera still compared to a DSLR. Every time you halve the amount of light going into the camera after base ISO you will also reduce the linear resolution by around 3% due to the fundamental way which the physics of light and image noise work (when you have more noise you can make out fewer details). What this means is that when the T4i is shooting 720p at base ISO. You will only have 54% of that resolution on the iPhone at the same aperture. Which should happen every time it's fully overcast or darker with the iPhone.

    On top of that you cannot mechanically zoom (digital zoom is actually just cropping so if you zoom in x2 you get a quarter of the resolution, the iphone has a fixed lens).

    The iPhone 5 doesn't have issues with color accuracy though which is nice.

    So as long as you plan to shoot video exclusively at one focal length and aperture (iPhone has a fixed aperture) on bright sunny days and don't mind terrible bloomy lack of contrast and lots of video compression the iPhone will be as good as the T4i. In the 99.99% of situations that don't meet those standards it will be much worse.

    Hope that clears things up.
  9. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2009
    First, who says either of those consumer cameras is better than a 5D Mk2 or a Nikon D800?

    Second if you think pixels means anything at all, go ahead and use your iPhone, but when your your pictures are noisy, blurry, mis-exposed crap, don't complain.

    A real cam gets you a larger sensor, larger pixels = more photons per pixel = less noise and more accurate colours, greater bit-depth in each pixel, decent optics (you can't get around physics and 2 pounds of glass is way better than 2 grams of plastic), a decent metering and focusing system, color-managed sensor data.....etc.

    A 13 year old Nikon D1 at 2.7 megapixels will destroy the iPhone 5 on image quality in every way. And this is not apple bashing, any cell phone cam is a cheap toy.

    But the fact that you ask the question means you'll get the same quality out of an iPhone.
  10. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    A $400 GoPro Hero 3 shoots 4K video, exactly the same as the $10,000+ RED Scarlet camera. Doesn't mean it'll be anywhere near as great. Resolution is only a small part of the story.

    If all you're doing is posting casual vlogs in broad daylight on youtube or something like that I suspect the iPhone will do fine- please invest in a decent external mic though.

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