Can iPhone XR take better photos than a $5,000 full-frame Canon?

Oct 30, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Oct 30, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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We are witnessing the rapid improvement of smartphone cameras (and more of them being added to each new phone that gets launched). But have we come to the point where smartphone cameras can take better photos than full-frame DSLRs? Tyler Stalman tested the iPhone XR against the Canon 5D Mark IV. And when it comes to dynamic range – the smartphone sure does a pretty impressive job!

YouTube video

Smartphones and DSLRs have been compared numerous times, and they’re evidently getting better. For example, Jolyon Ralph was pretty impressed by Huawei P20 Pro smartphone compared to the Canon 5DSR. In Tyler’s video above, you can see how Smart HDR in the iPhone XS and XR performs. According to Tyler, it’s “doing crazy things with dynamic range.” And indeed, photos straight out of camera preserve a lot of detail in smartphone photos when Smart HDR is on.

On the other hand, there are some situations when the Smart HDS feature overdoes it. It ends up creating the end result that looks rather unrealistic. Still, in most cases of Tyler’s test, the smartphone SOOC shots are pretty impressive when it comes to dynamic range.

There’s no doubt that computational photography is on the rise, developing incredibly fast. But still, I believe that dedicated cameras are still optically better than smartphones, and will continue to be. Allen Murabayashi discusses this in one of his articles, and you can read it here. Still, when it comes to the dynamic range, do you think that the iPhone XR has outperformed the Canon 5D Mark IV?

[Why is my iPhone XR Taking Better Photos Than a $5,000 Canon? via ISO 1200]

 

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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17 responses to “Can iPhone XR take better photos than a $5,000 full-frame Canon?”

  1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    lol … seriously? we do compare a 35mm sensor and a lens of 52+ mm diameter (with its own optical resolution) …… to the sensor of iPhone and its lens? When would you guys stop correlating unrelated categories?

    1. Kambis Avatar
      Kambis

      What’s the problem? You can take the same picture with both so you can compare them. In fact if you want to be objective you should forget all you know about the two devices and compare the result without knowing which camera took which picture. It is a fair point that phones often do a better in camera raw processing than dedicated cameras. Does it matter? Well not to photographers I guess but to some people it does.

      1. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
        Tj Ó Seamállaigh

        Comparing pictures is something, comparing gear or specs is something else. No, the comparison here is not objective at all. To be objective you have to get into the specs and the potential for each; Not just scratch the surface with the colors and exposure. Just to note, a matter like the “color space” is discussed in books. Yes, it’s true that some (and a lot of) people do care about the final outlook of their images because they are phone-shooters and not into being professional. That’s very true. But please just don’t tell me that it takes “better” photos; And better than what? a Full-frame camera? There is so much technical talk underneath that.

        1. HyperJ Avatar
          HyperJ

          But is IS an image comparison, not a spec comparison. (which is the only thing you seem interested in)

          But since specs matters to you, effective dynamic range on these new phones is far superior to “real cameras”. To accomplish the same, you need to do HDR bracketing and spend some time processing the image. Why should this be necessary? Why can’t my DSLR take multiple shots and merge them in camera into a single HDR DNG file?

          You should be venting your frustrations again the camera manufacturers who are letting phones with tiny sensors catch up and in some cases pass them – instead of at venting at this review.

  2. HyperJ Avatar
    HyperJ

    Great video. Computational photography is taking great steps, and I find less and less reason to go out with my big camera.

    Which is sad… The optics and sensor are undoubtedly superior, but the big camera software development moves at molasses speed. You can achieve much of the same as modern smartphones with HDR bracketing, but why can’t a DSLR (or mirrorless) do the same as a modern iPhone or Pixel?

  3. veryferry Avatar
    veryferry

    The articles here are really getting more and more ridiculous by the day…
    Up till a point that it starts to become somewhat annoying even

  4. rifki syahputra Avatar
    rifki syahputra

    the future is here, old man

  5. Chainsaw Charlie Avatar
    Chainsaw Charlie

    Another iPhone on the market, another “The iPhone can outperform a $5000 DSLR” article.
    I wonder why all those photographers still use DSLRs, if an iPhone can outperform their DSLRs?

  6. cbenci Avatar
    cbenci

    I love tech but I’m sick of these ridiculous comparisons.

    Outside, in sunlight, infinity focus and stopped down, the iPhone will likely look better because of the post processing happening and the HDR thing it’s doing. In any other situation the DSLR will better it every time.

  7. UP Avatar
    UP

    compara it in insufficient light conditions
    any modern mobile phone camera is great at good light conditions

  8. Paul Tobeck Avatar
    Paul Tobeck

    Yes, another “iPhone vs DSLR” article, and the expected kneejerk reactions. Instead of complaining about the article itself, we should be asking why the big camera manufacturers aren’t proving the kind of in-camera processing that the top smartphones do? Everyone focuses on the hardware, sensor size, pixel density when we should be seeing remarkable advances in the in-camera process. It’s about getting a better result, more options and spending less time in post.
    The article should be titled “Why a $50 smartphone component and some clever software are producing great photos and why aren’t camera manufacturers doing anything about it.” Yeah, kinda wordy…

    1. Madara Avatar
      Madara

      I came here to bitch about the premise of this post, but your comment is more valid than the post itself and asks a great question.

  9. Michael Reynolds Avatar
    Michael Reynolds

    Just an opinion. I love my DSLR however, if for what ever reason I decide to put my DSLR in Auto, the picture quality should be just as good if not better than any camera phone. Why are the camera manufacturers not keeping up with this?

  10. Original VH Fan Avatar
    Original VH Fan

    I have a Canon 70D and shoot portraits for this one company (mainly their new employees) and lately I have been shooting extra shots with my iPhone 7+ which has Portrait Mode, just to see how it looks. One of the last ones I did she chose the photo from my iPhone, and later I was thinking about it, I think she chose it because of how great it looked on the screen, the screen on the Canon is really low-res, wish these guys would at least try to keep up with the smartphone market, they are falling behind in many areas! None of these though can compare to the Superman power you feel with a RAW file.

  11. Moises Cortes Pacheco Avatar
    Moises Cortes Pacheco

    Que estupidez