Two Images, Two Cameras: Was it Worth the Time and Money to Leave the Phone at Home?

Yesterday I briefly discussed the Modern Point-and-Shoot Camera’s on the market, versus the most popular modern camera on the market… the smartphone. While my point behind this post was more about how I wanted to take a trip, and leave the phone behind to pseudo disconnect, it led to an interesting experiment that I’m just now getting to look at the results of. While you’re more than welcome (and encouraged) to read that here, I wanted to take a moment to follow up on that, and demonstrate what I meant when I said that I believe that a smartphone camera is better in its image quality and usability. Below you will see two images, both of which were taken at (roughly) the same time – one on a Canon pocket camera, the other on an iPhone. Which one do you think is which?


Well if you guessed that the top one is the Canon, and the bottom one the iPhone, you would be correct! While each image has a nice quality to it, the top one just doesn’t quite have the same focus points, or color saturation as the bottom does. The Canon image does a nice job at defining the lines of the trees on the water close to them, however it doesn’t quite carry the reflection to the same distance, or the vibrance of the clouds, or the definition of the ripples on the water. It also seems to just be pushing the brights too much, where this particular landscape is more about the balance between the lights and darks… not to mention that the trees in this photo are a little blurred in the camera picture, as the lens was trying to compensate for the darkness by staying open longer (utilizing the auto mode), instead of having the same shutter speed.

I think that this is where a lot of these modern camera’s miss the mark. Sure, this is a place where we used to have to do some actual work to get a quality image by adjusting the exposure settings, however in a lot of cases an automatic focus could still be used to gain a quality image. I discussed my Powershot A520 yesterday, well, I still used an auto focus on most images with that, and an image like this, while it would have been at 4mp and a little pixelated above a 4×6 size, it would have maintained a clear focal point. A lot of these settings are defined by software in the modern smartphone camera, and also offer a manual focus option for those looking to dabble in more advanced looks to their images..

Let me make sure and define this for you too… I’m using a top tier Smartphone like the iPhone XS or XS Max, or a Galaxy S10, or a Pixel 3, I’m using a two generation old iPhone 8… not dual lens 8 Plus, but just the regular old 8 with a single lens. And I guess this is the point that I’m trying to make with these complementary posts, while it’d be nice to be able to leave the phone at home, and just run around with a dedicated camera to take nice photos – unless you’re looking to buy a nice SLR, skip it. They’re not worth the effort of going to the store, or the money you’re going to spend on one, when the device you have in your pocket is going to allow you more versatility, and higher quality, in a package that allows you to do more.


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