Thursday, 24 November 2011

Can the iPhone 4S replace a 'real' digital camera?

Infinite Loop have prepared a compare/contrast review of the image-taking performance of an Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot, a Canon 20D DSLR with EF-S 10-22mm lens, an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy SII.

Edited summary:

"In real life use, each camera has a mix of benefits and drawbacks. The iPhone 4 was our previous favorite in smartphone cameras, and the iPhone 4S improves on that. The lens is a bit sharper and the hybrid IR filter seems to improve color rendering and possibly white balance. The new sensor also seems to have slightly less noise, better dynamic range, and three million more pixels to work with."

"The combination of an updated sensor and the dual-core A5 processor also make the iPhone 4S much faster to start up and take pictures. It was nearly as fast at launching, focusing, and snapping sequential images as the Olympus XZ-1, and certainly faster than previous compact cameras we have used."

"For snapshot purposes, the iPhone 4S is comparable to the 8MP Canon 20D when it comes to image quality. But that comparison is a little unfair — you can easily achieve better results with newer DSLRs in terms of exposure, noise, and megapixel count. What you can't do with any DSLR, though, is (again) slip it into your pants pocket. Lenses that have as bright an aperture as the iPhone 4S's f/2.4 will also either be limited to a single focal length or generally be much larger and heavier than the lightweight kit lenses that many users have."

"As we said at the outset, every camera choice comes with its own set of compromises and won't suit every individual photographer. Still, we have no qualms recommending the iPhone 4S as great alternative to compact, point-and-shoot cameras. It can take great photos when travelling or out with friends. Since it's also your phone, you'll always have it with you, so you may be able to grab shots in situations when you might not be able to otherwise take pictures at all."

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