When is the smartphone good enough for you to drop your FF gear?

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
techjedi
techjedi Veteran Member • Posts: 4,087
Re: When is the smartphone good enough for you to drop your FF gear?

lattesweden wrote:

Smartphones develops in a very fast pace now and image quality, both due to larger sensor size and also improved optics, paired with even better and better computational photography also adds to better and better end results in various shooting conditions.

That combined with the much better on the field editing and publishing makes it a potential replacement for many use cases, even professional ones.

At the same time, the development of computational photography like night time hand held shooting is not coming to free standing FF cameras, nor an easy way of editing and publishing on the field.

We have on the smartphone side seen some 1-inch sensored attempts in the past such as the Panasonics CM1 from 2013.

And now, with most likely the new 1-inch Sony sensor specially made for smartphones, Sharp/Leicas co-developed smartphone from earlier this year and it now also seems Sony themselves will be launching a new Sony Xperia Pro smartphone which has a 1-inch sensor and a f2 24 mm equivalent lens and more: https://www.sonyalpharumors.com/leaked-stunning-new-sony-xperia-pro-i-features-an-impressive-1-inch-sensor/
(1-inch sensors are typically, give or take a little, three stops behind on DOF and noise levels and about two stops behind on DR vs FF).

How long will you hold on to your FF gear? What would it take for you to use a smartphone as your prime shooting device? Do you use a smartphone already today? In such a case what for? Only for personal use or also for pro use?

For me, smartphones are not ergonomically reasonable replacements for a FF camera.

That said, if I was trying to be objective, I would consider it when:

  • The smartphone can dock into a body that is the size/shape of a full frame camera and provides physical button controls commonly found on full frame cameras.
  • The smartphone OS should have a camera optimized mode that disabled all phone/text/notifications so that the interface for taking photos allowed for the same specs as a pro camera (e.g. 10 fps, instant focus aquisition, etc).
  • The docked body should include a mount for attached lenses of the usual variety found on professional cameras. They can be equivalent focal lengths for the sensor size, but there would need to be computational features to simulate something like a 85mm f1.4, etc.
  • The smartphone can trigger a complex set of remote strobes with TTL support. This could happen through the docked body having a hotshoe with a trigger, etc, but needs to tie into metering with TTL.
  • The quality of the result would have to be significantly better on the smartphone since I prefer FF camera ergonomics and I would rather keep my phone in my pocket to answer calls while I take pictures with my camera. Using the smartphone as a main camera just seems awkward and the quality would have to be so good that you could not reasonably still go with the traditional tech.

Further, if I am on a shoot where I would normally have a second camera to optimize lens swapping quickly, would I bring another smartphone?

If someone's shooting genre is limited to wider angles at narrower apertures with ambient light (e.g. landscapes), then I think smartphones can already displace a FF camera. If you require any kind of telephoto capabilities at wider apertures with strobes, I don't see how a smartphone can compete.

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Sony a7R III Sony FE 70-200 F4 Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony RX100 Sony RX100 VA +21 more
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