Camera Comparison: iPhone7 Plus vs. DSLR


When iPhone 7 & 7 Plus were launched last year, a massive hype was created by the dual-lens camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus. Many consumers assumed  that it can be used as an alternative to DSLR cameras. The hype of dual-lens created a tremendous amount of curiosity amongst users, especially photographers. In this review, we will do some camera crunching and see if the assumptions are true.


How does the dual lens camera work?

The dual lens mechanism is capable of utilizing both lenses together as well as independently. These lenses are fixed at two focal lengths, in iPhone 7 Plus case, 28mm and 56mm with an aperture of f1.8 and f2.8 respectively. The lenses work coherently to take a “Portrait Photo” in which the background is digitally blurred. This results in a shallow depth of field, which is ideal for capturing portraits and close-ups.

Apart from working together in Portrait mode, these lenses can also work independently at their respective focal lengths. For instance, in Photo mode, 28mm lens is used unless the user decides to zoom in. At 2x zoom, 56mm lens powers up the image. Hence, one clear advantage of having two lenses is that they can attain an Optical Zoom of 2x instead of Digital Zoom (which just digitally crops the original picture). Hence, it translates in to a much refined and better picture quality when zoomed in.


What about the Video Quality?

With better lens and a mighty A10 Fusion chip inside a sleek form factor, this is the area where iPhone 7 stands out the most. It’s ultrafast and responsive when it comes to capturing videos. It has plethora of video qualities to choose from, maxing out at Ultra HD resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). It is also capable of recording slow-motion videos at up to 240 fps. The new iPhone also comes standard with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which in theory should reduce the jerkiness while recording handheld videos. However, this is one area that needs a lot of refinement, as the OIS didn’t work as expected.


Is it good enough to replace a professional camera?

Let’s find out.

Starting with some numbers. A new iPhone 7 Plus starts from around $850 and goes up to over $1000 for its 256GB version. So for the sake of this comparison, we’ll be using a combination of a Digital SLR camera and an upgraded Lens, which collectively costs around $950. The lens paired with the Nikon D5200 DSLR is from the popular Sigma Art series, which has a Focal range of 18-35mm at f1.8.

Camera Comparison of iPhone7 Plus and Dslr
Camera Comparison of iPhone7 Plus and Nikon D5200

From the comparison, it can be deduced the pictures taken from the DSLR are much more crisp and well lit. Another important thing to note is that the iPhone struggled a lot while focusing on the subject and it required a lot of effort to engage the “Depth Effect” or blurred background in simple words.


Verdict

iPhone’s camera has definitely improved a lot and it boasts class leading technology. However, replacing a professional camera with an iPhone 7 Plus would be a stretch. Serious photographers know the worth of wide optical lenses and the iPhone definitely isn’t capable enough to replace them as yet.

However, having such an advanced camera system in such a sleek form factor is definitely commendable. Apple has done an outstanding job in blurring the lines between portability and professional quality. Hence, it is definitely a step in the right direction!


 

Hands on & Review: GoPro Hero5 Black


The market for action cams has evolved a lot over time. With more players coming in the industry, it has become rather difficult to choose the right one. However, the pioneers of the actioncam industry, GoPro, has introduced their latest iteration of the ultimate camera, The Hero5 Black. I bought this camera in January and I have been using it along with the Hero 4 Silver. Hence, This review will briefly touch upon the comparison between the two generations of GoPro as well.


Unboxing Experience

The unboxing experience was quite similar to the previous generation of GoPro. It comes in a nice vertical box with the Hero 5 secured on the top with one of its mounts. Underneath the new matte textured Hero5 are a number of booklets which include instruction manuals, warranty information and GoPro stickers. There is also one removable battery included which has been redesigned with new charging pins and has a slightly higher capacity (1220 mAh/3.85V) than its predecessor (1160mAh/3.80V). Also included is the charging cable which has been upgraded to USB Type-C (step in the right direction).


First Impressions & User Interface

After putting everything aside and looking at the camera, the first prominent thing to notice is the newly developed 2″ capacitive touch screen. It is definitely more responsive, brighter and bigger than the Hero 4 Silver’s screen. Some new features that really makes the new Hero 5 standout include:

  • Voice Commands for easy control and more flexibility.
  • Completely waterproof body which allows the user to interact with the touch screen whilst inside its shell.
  • Although the resolution is still limited to 4K at 30fps, but it is also capable of recording 720P at 240 fps and 1080P at 120fps, which is great for slowmotion video recording.
  • The software is much more User friendly, probably due to more screen space.
  • The new USB type-C is definitely a welcoming change, as it makes it easier to use one cable for multiple devices.
  • Integration with Apple Watch makes it much easier to record and take pictures.

Room for Improvement

Although it is a significant improvement from the Hero 4 Silver, however there are still some flaws in the device

  • The Battery life has reduced marginally (about 10-15%), and the new battery terminal means that the Hero4 users won’t be able to use their charging accessories/batteries with the Hero5.
  • There are still a few glitches in the software specially regarding the Voice Command and touch screen interface.
  • The cost of waterproofing the body has translated into a bulkier Hero5 when placed next to its predecessor.

Verdict

After using the new GoPro for over 5 months, I can safely say that it is a worthy upgrade. However, there are a few bugs that limits the functionality of voice commands as at times it just simply ignores them. However, I am quite sure that the new software would easily solve this glitch. Furthermore, I would also much appreciate if the colors could be a bit more accurate. Nonetheless, it is definitely a significant improvement over its predecessor.