Apple iPhone 6s vs DSLR camera: video comparison (4K vs 1080p)

Which one records better video: a DSLR or a smartphone?

Well, that's a dumb question, you'd say: a DSLR has got the much larger sensor which is a huge advantage in low light and it has interchangeable lenses. Plus, it depends on the DSLR, of course. And you'd be right in all those considerations, but let's make a quick reality check: we've got the iPhone 6s with its new 12-megapixel iSight camera that can now record 4K video, on one hand, and the Canon Rebel T4i (aka EOS 650D), an entry-level DSLR released in mid-2012 that shoots 1080p, on the other. 

We've chosen the Rebel T4i for a couple of reasons: it's a popular entry-level camera and a good representative of the DSLR class. It's what many people have bought to capture better looking photos and videos. So despite the difference in resolutions, we were curious to see what is the difference between the Canon DSLR and the Apple iPhone 6s.

Our setup on the DSLR included a Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC lens (priced at around $600) and if you add the price of the body, you end up with a total cost of around $1,000. The iPhone 6s is definitely cheaper with its $650 full retail price. Keep in mind that we have recorded all footage using automatic settings on both devices.

So what are the results? Take a look at our iPhone 6s vs DSLR video comparison right below to find out.



1. Doctorluv unregistered

Sorry but tht Canon is bad ass...

12. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Come on phonearena, Canon is for pictures, not for 4k video recording... Enough advertising... It is a good camera phone, but not match to DSLR in photo shooting. Also in video - can someone still shoot videos with mono sound?!? And it is worst even in noisy environment, can't even imagine on concerts... Great phone with great power and design, for women, but far away from DSLR.

22. Subie

Posts: 2378; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

They like to pick camera's not designed for quality video for the comparison. They should try this with the Panasonic GH4, but I already know what the result would be. I can take better quality still pics with my 7 year old Pentax k-20 digital slr then any phone on the market. The only professional that uses an iPhone or any phone is when it's a publicity stunt. These tests are done deliberately in a way to kiss the ass of the phone manufacturers!

38. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Also DSLR in automatic mode? really? if you get a DSLR to take pic in automatic plz plz shoot yourself in the head because you are a moron... If you want to compare 4k video take a 4k camcorder... bye bye iphone!

35. uggman

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

i really dont understand this comparisons between iphones and DSLR cameras, when there is really none, this cameras that are being compare are not great at video, if you want to caompare something it has to be on a leveld field, this is 1080P vs 4K, thats not fair, why didnt they compare the pictures better on all lighting conditions, and why dondt they compare the 4K video of the iphone 6S with a IMAX 4K camera, that would be a good comparison.

53. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

and iPhone is made for video recording?

64. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

How is comparing DSLR video recording capabilities versus a phone an advertisement? Would you also consider this an advertisement if we used the Samsung Galaxy? Because we have done that also and an article is coming up.

66. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Reasons? 1. You chose a very outdated DSLR, not to mention an entry level one. Should've picked a 2015 model and a sensor whose in leverage of the iPhone 6s. And it's not just a good representative of the DSLR class! 2. You nerfed the DSLR capabilities by using automatic. Might have chosen a decent point-and-shoot camera if automatic is the camera criteria for settings! 3. There are lots of DSLRs that can shoot native 4K; why choose this? Im quite disappointed here. At least compare the iPhone 6s with a DSLR with the same specs.

68. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Keep shut buddy :) Just accept the fact that such a tiny sensor on a phone can match or outmatch a full fledged DSLR( Cameras dedicated only for photography nothing else) Look at the size of the whole DSLR camera vs less than half an inch sensor of a phone. Was that even fair in the first place? PRO camera vs a sensor which is tinier than ur nails? You guys should probably stop complaining and trolling around with your comments.

70. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

But DSLR is still producing a great detail in auto mode. Only problem is over exposure in sun light. Which can only be corrected in manual mode. PA is a site about phones, so nothing wrong to compare a phone's capability with an entry level professional cam. It is surely not about kissing any brand. It is about showing, how vastly, phone cameras has improved. A quick request PA! Please conduct same test with multiple major brands to calm down the critics. Let's say LG, Nexus, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Huawei or some more

75. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

It doesn't matter. The article isn't fair. you can go find the crappiest shooting 4K enabled phone and compare it too a 1080p video from a DSLR, and the 4K will still look better. I'm not a camera pro, but if you buy a DSLR; do those people use automatic settings? If you do an article with the S6 vs a DSLR where you choose 4K on the phone and 1080p on the DSLR, its still unfair even if the S6 happens to look better which it certainly will. Its not about who wins, its about whether the comparison is fair. It is quite possible that even at 1080p the iPhone will probably beat this camera, but that doesnt mean we shouldn't see them compete on equal ground.

78. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Nope the crappiest 4K phones cannot win over DSLR with 1080p :) Any samples?

80. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Yes, it is an advertising of iPhone. Almost every article for this product sounds like there is no other option. Why not compare real deals - iPhone vs. Sony Z5, or vs. Galaxy Edge? Because you already know the results and they are not in favor of Apple. IPhone is quality and productive phone, but your articles are always with preferences to this company. Just rename the site - iPhonearena and will be clear for all. Are you shame of that to admit it? Look the score that your reviews gives to Chinese phones - from 4 to 6, even when most of other sites give relatively 7-8. And in the same time give to iPhone 9.3 or 9.4?!? Even with low screen resolution on iPhone 6s compared to all other, or heavy 6s plus? Body to screen ratio? You blame other companies for big Basel's but not Apple? Why only your site give such amazingly strong battery life of iPhone 6s, when all other said it is the same? Why blame dxomark that the camera review isn't fair when even Verge admit that Samsung and Sony are better? Think!

47. JakeG

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 14, 2015

Clearly, DSLR wins. It captures far more light and dynamic range than iphone's tiny sensor could ever do. This is not an equal comparison.

62. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Agreed. It's really embarrassing that the iphone failed to completely beat an older AND cheaper device.


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

iphone records mono sound, it's terrible we live in 2015! iphone color is way out of line!

76. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Check this out. This is a fair comparison of the S6 vs the iPhone 6S recording 4K. I dont care which one won, I posted this so you can hear the audio of the 2 phones. The S6 sounds like iys theater sound while the iPhone sounds like its recording from under water.

3. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

DSLR was better in every case. The only thing worth noting is that the audio is better on the phone.


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Yes audio from the iphone was slightly betetr but still mono.....which is crap!

4. patrickf3

Posts: 43; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

Both look great, it's crazy to think that a smartphone can keep up with a dslr, even if it's from 2012, it's still impressive. But to think a smartphone, with its tiny sensor, can look so good is great.

6. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014


7. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

Iphone audio sounds damn bad.

8. dazed1

Posts: 805; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

What? are you on drugs? i dont like apple at all, but the iPhone killed the DSLR in terms of video.

9. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Why not compete is against a Sony DSLR, PA? because the iPhone's footage will suck balls in comparison. meh... iWorshipers everywhere.

17. pwnarena

Posts: 1129; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

they can't afford

10. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Why not do it against a Sony DSLR, PA? because the iPhone's footage will suck balls in comparison. meh... iWorshipers everywhere.

11. zig8100

Posts: 243; Member since: Dec 13, 2012

Wheres the Note 4 and 5 and S6 / S6 Edge? Thats some BS!

54. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

it's hard to compare, when you can only shoot 5 mins..

65. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

Next week, we'll compare the iPhone against the Note 5, stay tuned!

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