My iPhone 6 is better than my X100F

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57even Forum Pro • Posts: 11,312
My iPhone 6 is better than my X100F
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Yes, well that's what a young friend of mine said after buying one (against my recommendation) because he wanted to look hipster.

He complained bitterly that the colours, focus and exposure were all better on his iPhone 6 and send me the JPEGs to prove it, so I invited him over yesterday evening to look at what the problem might be.

Firstly, he was viewing the imageson his iPad (he didn't have any software at all) at screen size. When I opened the files in Photoshop, and we looked at the details at full size, he was slightly more convinced. Esp. when we took some images at ISO 800, and played around with DOF.

However, iPhones do lots of elf-magic under the covers it seems, include content sensitive tone curves, saturation, shadow recovery, sharpening and noise reduction. I have to admit, it's all quite well judged, given the confines of small sensor performance.

I did some fiddling with his camera settings, and then in PS, and the images looked about as good as those as those from the iPhone, but they were not a whole lot better when viewed at screen size (he does not intend to print images).

I then showed him the difference with RAW files. I took an image with his camera and iPhone, using raw on the Fuji. I then processed the raw to optimise the tone curve, and then replicated, more or less, the iPhone colours, sharpened the image and viola. The result left the iPhone for dead. There was far more tonality in the Fuji image, far more detail in the shadows, and no NR smearing. But, on an iPad, the differences were not obvious.

His biggest issue was that he only uses a PC at work, and uses an iPad at home. He's really not computer savvy at all, and not interested.

Like most, he thought spending more money on a camera would create better images, whereas in fact the iPhone has a much better JPEG processor that really squeezes the most of the files. Same is true for most smart phones. They are just about foolproof.

You can easy exceed smart phone performance with a bit of work, but most cameras still don't have very smart JPEG processors. They use the same tone curve irrespective of the dynamic range of the scene. The iPhone seems to manage this quite well, producing blue skies and a decent foreground, even if the NR is obvious. DR settings on the Fuji help, but they are crude by comparison.

The default settings on most cameras do not guarantee the same pleasing balance in so many conditions. The don't have ARM quad core processors with 2GB of RAM and an army of programmers.

But it did bring it home to me how far the phone camera generation are from the realities of real photography. They have no idea what is going on under the covers, and it seems, they don't want to know either. This is entirely fair enough, but if this is the case, they are better off with an iPhone.

For them, it really is better than an X100, a lot of the time.

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 57even's gear list:57even's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Fujifilm X100F
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