1080p video from the iPhone 4S compared to a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR side-by-side

1080p video from the iPhone 4S compared to a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR side-by-side
With the iPhone 4S, Apple entered the era of 1080p HD video recording that most dual-core Android handsets have been into for a while now. There have been shootouts between digital SLRs and phones like the Nokia N8 with its large for a smartphone 1/1.83" sensor, but now for the first time an iPhone has been pitted against a Canon 5D Mark II, which arguably is one of the SLRs to beat in terms of video capture.

Both devices have been fastened to a camera rig side-by-side to shoot the same scene, and the resulting 30fps videos have been synchronized, so you can stop and examine the resulting footage frame by frame.

The final outcomes are actually pretty close - of course, even the three-year old Canon 5D Mark II with its huge sensor is much more adept at low light than the iPhone 4S. For all practical purposes, however, you would most likely carry a smartphone with you when an opportunity to shoot footage arrives, so the old saying that the best camera is the one you have with you fully applies here. It works the other way around, too - if you are in for a studio shooting session, you'd laugh at the imaginary choice between a digital SLR or an iPhone 4S.

via Crave


Related phones

iPhone 4s
  • Display 3.5" 640 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A5, Dual-core, 800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB

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25 Comments

1. android_hitman unregistered

close my ass!!! how in the world can some compare something like THIS?? REALLY? The cannon is a 5000$ piece of professional equipment and Iphone4s is a mobile phone!!! (not to start bashing it, i don't want to go there) is apple really paying you that much to advertise a stupidity like this? they are not pretty close at all if you pay attention! this f**ked my day!

12. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

The Canon is obviously amazing but iPhone 4S is actually close to it. Colour do seem a bit off on the scene of the road but other than that it's pretty nice.

19. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Of course, iPhoneArena will never post an article about this: https://plus.google.com/111962077049890418486/posts/EJxn8T21H5o I'm starting to really doubt the integrity and objectivity of their "comparison tests" now.

25. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

2. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Realistic color reproduction on the iPhone my ass. Look at the difference there.

3. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

Those cameras were not shooting at the same rate... go to that 3 test local at around a minute and look at the video billboard in the upper lefthand corner. You can definitely see some refresh effect on it on the 4S screeen that's not on the 5D screen.

4. Eingild

Posts: 203; Member since: Apr 19, 2011

C'mon guys. Don't hate the 4s. 5D Mark II is the obvious winner here. The point of the article is that camera sensors on mobile phones are continuously improving which, of course, will give benefit consumers who are looking for a decent standard point and shoot camera/videocam. Take things positively. ;)

5. sarb009

Posts: 322; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

that was close ??? i think the person who did this comparision was colour blind.

20. NeXoS

Posts: 292; Member since: May 03, 2011

Not color blind, just stuck in a distortion bubble.

6. DIYguy

Posts: 190; Member since: Feb 27, 2011

relistic color production on iphone? ha look at 41 seconds the trash bins are grey when they should be green... lol

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i think the point was that cameras on cell phones are taking their baby steps into real camera realms. for every day use that wasnt a bad camera. It was noticeably less detailed, slightly over saturated, and didnt have nearly the frame rate as the SLR (check the billboard and cars passing by), but for your "every day cell camera", it wasnt bad at all. we are comparing a .. what... $5000 camera against a phone with a $50 camera in it at best? That wasnt too shabby for the parts difference. BTW, PA, Whoever did that comparison did a good job. I'd really like to see more side by side set up comparisons like this in the future. :)

8. kainy

Posts: 165; Member since: Aug 10, 2011

Well comparisons like that will bring only hate on PA :) (see the comments above). There must be comparisons with pocket cams or other smart phones, other than that is pointless. My cousin is a photograph and when he made 30 sec long video late at night in his apartment where the light was ... awful, when I played that video on my 1080i monitor i couldn't see a damn pixel or noise ... how can you compare that to a smartphone? Simply you can't.

15. nak1017

Posts: 328; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

I agree, the concept is good I just wish they'd compare a phone camera to a phone camera, not a phone camera to a piece of professional equipment

9. smartphone

Posts: 160; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

This is just the beginning. Iphonearena is just warming up. From now on for a year you will find iphone 4s in their every camera comparison even if it a 50 megapixel shootout. Mark my words.

10. xenover

Posts: 174; Member since: May 27, 2011

why compair the 4S to it, why not SGS II or HTC sensation. yet another iPhonearena article ...

11. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

The Canon did better of course. But the video taken by the ip4s is nothing to be ashamed of either (or even ip4, or any other top end smartphones out there). And would make you think twice on spending thousands more on an SLR camera, unless of course you're a pro or an enthusiast. But for the average users. Smartphones like the ip4s is more than capable enough to satisfy their needs in taking a video. I don't think this comparison is meant as a contest between the Canon and the ip4s camera at all, but rather to show consumers how far smartphones have gone in the camera department, especially the iphone.

13. Penny

Posts: 1848; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

5D MKII owner here... Well, the iPhone 4S does well for a point and shoot, no doubt. But there are a few points to consider about this comparison: 1. The easiest difference to spot is color reproduction, which is clearly better on the 5D MKII. 2. Another difference, as mentioned by the author of the article, is the Canon's advantage in low light situations. The iPhone doesn't do a bad job, but even the Canon isn't as good in low light situations as say a Nikon D3. 3. Detail/sharpness. The 5D MKII has more detail throughout, especially visible when you look toward the edges of the screen, like with the stairs in the first scene when the camera pans to the right. 4. Depth of Field. Not something most people tend to look for, but the 5D is much better at handling the scene overall. 5. Camera Shake. This article was implying that an iPhone 4S (or equivalent) in your pocket will shoot videos like this. Not unless you have a tripod for that phone, because the phone's image stabilization is not going to be anywhere near as good as that of a DSLR. Overall, a very good camera for a phone. Just not a DSLR replacement. I wouldn't even consider my Canon S90 or G10 as DSLR replacements, much less an iPhone.

14. Penny

Posts: 1848; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Also, considering how good these kinds of DSLRs are, the glass that is used can often be the limiting factor for picture quality. The lens used here is not bad, but it is one of the cheaper lenses. An L-series lens would really show off what this camera is capable of.

16. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

Pretty close my ass. There is an annoying white or contrast issue with 4gs and at the shadows there are some graininess with the footage. Detail is not so sharp and there is an orange tint predominantly present. In photography and cinematography pretty close means pretty close not miles apart.

17. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 2010

Ho hummm, give us a unlimited data deal and we are excited, otherwise its a shiny new paperweight. This artical is advertising disguised as a tech piece... blah blah blah

18. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

First Engadget faking N8 pics to make 4gs look good which unleashed the all of Nokia's pitbulls into a revolt. Now labeling it pretty close against Canon 5D Mark 2 will unleash the photography demons and I feel sorry for who ever is writing this article.

21. Penny

Posts: 1848; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Eh I'm not going to be so mean to the author here. For general consumers, the iP4S video looks pretty good, and overall sharp. Comparable to the 5D MKII. The difference is the way in which the general public defines "pretty close" and the way in which photography amateurs and enthusiasts define "pretty close." You are right, discerning photographers would say the quality is miles apart. But considering we are looking at a high-end dSLR vs. a phone, the difference in quality is expected, and with that in mind the iP4S does at least perform in some comparable league to the MKII.

22. Dark4o90

Posts: 205; Member since: Feb 20, 2011

so what do you want to say when comparing canon to iphone that there is no other phone comprable to iphone hahahaha just ridiculous and when you move the phone by 5 sm in a minute of course it will be smooth and it's fullHD on the half of the screen

23. abish1234

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

really daniel.???.. lol..

24. P-YWS

Posts: 144; Member since: Aug 12, 2011

I always believe that a smartphone should have a micro-SD memory card slot by default. As such, any high-def photos and videos can be easily shared by simply pulling out the card from the smartphone and plugging into any computer or tablet or TV and many people can see what the owner of the smartphone took. This is a always-work-no-fiddle-with-iCloud approach. Costs nothing and always works and does not require Ph.D or engineering degree to work! Steve Jobs doesn't like this approach though :)

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