iPhone vs point and shoot

Started Feb 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Beach Bum Senior Member • Posts: 1,055
Big difference actually

hnease wrote:

My son is going on a work trip to Italy and Spain for several weeks
this summer, and I was encouraging him to get a camera since he should
have some goOd photo ops. He has done some photography in the past,
but not in some years, and he does not want to carry a big camera, or
spend a lot of time learning about one. He says he'll just use his
iPhone(4) for his pics.

Here's my question - what kind of quality can you get using an iphone,
and how does it compare to a compact point and shoot camerA? He wants
something very compact, so I don't think the nikon j1 or v1 would be
ideal. Any thoughts?


It's been my experience that the standard 1/2.3" sensor of compacts produces much better results for still images than the standard 1/3.2" sensor of phone cameras, which is actually half the sensor area.  IOW, I believe that a 1/2.3" sensor is the minimum required to produce an objectively crisp still image, and I believe it was chosen for a reason by camera manufacturers many years ago.

I'll explain why I believe this to be the case. If you read up on equivalence online, you would expect both of these sensors to be able to produce the same results provided you give the 1/3.2" sensor a larger aperture (lower F-number) to compensate for the smaller sensor size. IOW, based on the theory of equivalence, two cameras produce eqiuvalent images if they have the same entrance pupil and the same 35mm equivalent focal length, assuming equally performing sensors.

Based on my experience, it doesn't matter what F-number you use on a 1/3.2" sensor or how many pixels you pack on it, it just doesn't have the same look or the same crispness of the larger sensor. I think the reason is that you're running into lens sharpness issues at this sensor size. A lens for a 12MP 1/3.2" sensor has to be much sharper than a 12MP 1/2.3" sensor to resolve all of those pixels, and I believe this is the bottleneck.  That's not to say that a 1/3.2" sensor couldn't do better in the future, but I wouldn't use one.

There are some larger sensors on phone cameras, but they generally have an elevation for the lens to accommodate the longer focal length (e.g. Nokia 808).

Also, with phones, you have to deal with the lack of zoom and poor image stabilization. Seriously, just buy any mainstream camera, and it'll outperform a typical camera phone. I personally like the Sony rugged, flat profile compacts. They generally begin with TX.., such as the DSC-TX66 or DSC-TX200V. These are pretty much the best you can do for the form factor IMO.

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