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Thread: How far have phone cameras progressed? (Panasonic GH4 vs HTC U11)

  1. #1
    Large sensor digital imaging can never be overtaken by small sensors in a lot of areas including IQ. But today's advances in computational photography have made phone cameras powerful enough that they can substitute large sensor cameras for a lot of non professional users....and it begs to ask the question, how far have phone cameras progressed?

  2. #2

    How far have phone cameras progressed? (Panasonic GH4 vs HTC U11)

    Anecdotally, I have compared a cheap apsc dslr (nikon d3300) with it's supercheap kit lens to a lot of phone cameras, and the nikon, as expected wins in very parameter. But if you're not a discerning user, then you will be perfectly happy with the picture from your phone.
    The youtube user "High Tech traveller" has made this photo comparison video, a video comparing photos from a Panasonic GH4 and a HTC u11. It demonstrates how good phone cameras can be in a lot of circumstances. Link provided below.

  3. #3
    I don’t particularly like Panasonic’s JPEGs (at all), but they output very natural and detailed RAWs. I actually prefer a straight RAW conversion in ACR with no editing to their out-of-camera JPEGs, which I assume these are.
    It will pretty much always be the same in these comparisons, though. Smartphone image processing is designed to dazzle the image up with a heavy dose of HDR, saturation, contrast, noise reduction, and sharpening. Dedicated cameras either let the users customize specifically the JPEG processing that they want out of the camera (and very few people seem to bother doing that customization), or give you a blank canvas to work with on the RAW that will contain a lot more information.

  4. #4
    All that said, smartphones in general put out pretty good image quality these days. The low light image quality obviously lags, but the main frustrations that I have with phones remain the same now as they always have – the shooting experience, ergonomics, and inflexibility of focal lengths. The standard smartphone ~24-28mm focal length is nice for fitting a lot of stuff in your image, but it’s really challenging to try and isolate any elements for a specific composition unless you’re just a few feet away.
    Even though the image quality on most point & shoots is no better (and often worse) than flagship smartphones, the fact that you can comfortably hold them, adjust your focal length, change settings, compose, and shoot with them – all with one hand – makes a lot nicer to actually use. That all goes double for ILCs with bigger sensors that have better image quality as well.

  5. #5
    With regard to inflexible focal lengths, I find myself using the 50mm lens on the iPhone 7Plus a lot. It can;t touch my Fuji’s of course but its a really nice way to shoot people pictures and not have everyone look so horsey faced and distorted. I think the future of smartphone photography will involve multiple lenses and computational photography. The fake bokeh is not very usable (unless you don;t mind weird blurred hair at the edges) but the lens itself is kind of nice when you need a quick shot and you dont have easy access to your larger camera.

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