Filmmaker “shocked” at how good iPhone XS video capture is vs. a $10K cinema camera

Having pitted his iPhone XS versus Canon's C200 cinema camera that sells for $10,000, filmmaker Ed Gregory came away impressed by the quality of video capture on Apple's smartphone and was “quite shocked” at how good the new Apple phone is at shooting video.

Can you spot the difference?

Writing on his blog yesterday, Ed explained he basically took a bunch of videos with both cameras over the course of a few days. He shot everything in the stock Camera app on the XS.

On the Canon side, he used the Canon RAW lite codec and set a similar focal length to the wide lens on his iPhone XS (f1.8). He then attached the phone to the top of the Canon camera and placed them both on the DJI Ronin-S stabilizer.

You can see the results for yourself on the comparison images and the video below.

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Follow along for a few notable observations.

The best smartphone camera there is

Ed was “actually shocked” at how good the iPhone footage looked on the phone itself—he'd also watch videos shot on his Canon and questioned which one he liked more. No surprises there because any piece of content displayed on that OLED panel with wide color (the P3 cinema profile), one to million contrast ratio and native HDR support looks great.

PRIMER: How Smart HDR takes iPhone photography to the next level

The iPhone footage took almost no work to color-grade in the Color Studios app, but Canon's required a lot of heavy lifting because the C200 camera was shooting in RAW. The iPhone footage “fell apart” when viewed in fullscreen on a 27-inch iMac due to too much sharpening.

“The details just got lost and all the leaves with details just got smushed together,” he observed, while the Canon footage “still looked great.” He could have gotten rid of sharpening by shooting on his iPhone in RAW using a third-party app, like the excellent FiLMiC Pro.

The dynamic range is “super impressive” on the iPhone XS camera.

Smart HDR steps into the limelight

Thanks to the new A12 Bionic chip powering computational photography advancements such as Smart HDR and real-time processing, Apple's smartphone keeps the highlights on the bright sun while keeping details in the shadows.

TUTORIAL: How to reenable manual HDR on iPhone 8/X/XS/XS Max/XR

“This is some crazy multiple exposure processing thats been done,” he notes. “Considering this is all being done in real time in the palm of your hand. It’s super impressive.”

From the conclusion:

The iPhone camera is a smartphone camera and always will be. It is incredibly small but to be honest give completely mind-blowing results. If you are shooting to video that is intended to be viewed on a smartphone and you don’t want to do any post processing then the files strait from the app are impressive. Apple has done a great job of optimizing the output to make the files look great instantly.

“Is it as good as a cinema camera, not at all,” he summed it up nicely. “Is it the best camera I have ever seen on a smartphone? Hundred percent!”


Apple’s search for top OLED screens hinges on a small subsidiary of imaging giant Canon

Yesterday's report on Bloomberg detailed Apple's search for the best organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) panels on the market. The company's quest to deploy advanced OLED screens on iPhone 8 reportedly hinges on a single supplier in the Japanese countryside, called Canon Tokki, which has been making OLED machines since 1993.

A small branch of Japanese imaging corporation Canon, Tokki has “a near monopoly” on the machines that suppliers use to churn out OLEDs in volume. Although it employs just 343 engineers, Tokki has 20 years of experience developing and perfecting OLED manufacturing equipment.

Apple overtakes Nikon for second place camera brand on Flickr in 2014

Flickr has released its list of camera brands that were used the most to capture photos on the photography website in 2014. The top five were: Canon at 13.4 percent, Apple at 9.6 percent, Nikon at 9.3 percent, Samsung at 5.6 percent, and Sony at 4.2 percent.

Apple overtook Nikon for the second place spot in 2014. The iPhone 5, 4S and 4 were the top three for both 2013 and 2014, with the Canon EOS 7D and the Nikon D7000 unchanged in 4th and fifth place respectively.