Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apple iPhone 4s Versus Feature Phone, Panasonic LX-5 and Nikon D7000

You might have heard that the camera in the Apple iPhone 4s is better than the one used in its predecessor. How about comparing it to a dSLR? This one isn't even close in terms of comparability. You already know how this will turn out, don't you...? For this post, we won't be delving into 100% crops or EXIF data. The typical phone camera user isn't that concerned, and must people don't need to pixel-peep to know that the D7000 will win this on an objective basis. However, each tool has it's use, and it's interesting to see how each of this handles a similar situation. Click after the jump to see how four different photographic tools pan out.

Nikon D7000 with 50mm AF-D at f/1.4 and ISO 25,600

Yesterday and last night we had a fairly lengthy power outage. So after wandering around and gabbing with the neighbors, I grabbed my gear out of the closet to see what the D7000 could do with an Nikon 50 f/1.4 AF-D opened up all the way. Just my potted palm and candlelight. This wasn't meant to be a scientific test. The out of camera pictures shows you why this is not such a great idea. This is as high as the ISO will go on the camera, and it's shot with a lens that isn't the greatest wide open. You can see that there's quite a bit of blue channel noise, much more than previous Nikon cameras. There's a fair bit of a blue cast as well, but that's down to auto white-balance and the moonlight coming in through the blinds. But this being a Nikon, the noise pattern is still fine and speckled, not mushy and blotchy. And to be fair, the 50mm AF-D f/1.4 is soft in the corners, but still has reasonable resolution in the center. In this type of shot, you can see that it doesn't matter... the corners of the picture are dark and devoid of detail. Having said that.... come on people, it's ISO 25,600! When I was a kid, ISO 800 film didn't look this good.