When I look at the comparison shots I offered up in my last post, I can see where someone might say, “Meh. The iPhone looks close enough to the other camera; I’ll just stick with the iPhone.” And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that wide-angle shots look really good on an iPhone – within reason.
However, here is where the rubber meets the road.
Yesterday I went on a photowalk during my lunch break and took some comparison shots at a nearby pond using the iPhone 4S and the Sony NEX. The photos posted below were taken just seconds apart, from the same standing position, from the same distance to the subject, using the same focus point in the frame, and applying the same exact Adobe Lightroom settings in post-processing so both examples are offered up to look at their best. None of the images have been cropped; these are all full-frame, as seen on the camera screens at the moment of pressing the exposure button.
The big difference? The NEX has had a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens mounted on it, along with a helicoid adapter so I can get extreme close focusing; all of the NEX shots were taken wide open at f/1.4. In this series, the NEX shots are presented first and the iPhone shots are second.
The iPhone could not focus on this shot. I tried repeatedly to get it to focus on the thistle head like the shot above, but it refused to cooperate. I decided to include the resulting shot it in this series so you can see the limits of what the iPhone camera can do.
For the shot below, the focus point was the grass in the shady area of the lower left. The intent was to throw the far background gently out of focus.
This concludes the series of comparisons. I could do another to illustrate what happens with a telephoto lens on the NEX, but that wouldn’t even be remotely fair to the iPhone since it doesn’t have that capability.