I intended to take one of my new iPhone toys to the common-area balcony so I could test it on some distant scenery. However, I failed to notice how late I was working until it was well after dark.
Instead, I set up my iPhone with the 8x optical zoom lens in the office, positioned a bright lamp over some of Tisen’s toys, and decided to see what happened.
Since the lens was compared it to a Sigma 500mm lens, I thought I would pull out my DSLR and my 100-400mm lens for a comparison point. As it turned out, there really isn’t a comparison.
The un-enhanced iPhone lens captured this much of the scene:
By comparison, with the 8x zoom lens on, it captured this much:
Focus was a big problem–the way the tripod is designed, the clamp that holds the iPhone blocks a portion of the screen, making it difficult to touch the exact area you want to be in focus. In the wide angle shot, this resulted in focusing on the lens on my Canon, which was sitting on a full-size tripod right next to my iPhone on its mini-tripod. At least, that’s what I think it is–it seems to be the wrong color.
When I look at the difference between the two images, it does appear that Tisen’s cow is about 8x closer, although I’m not exactly clear on the mathematical formula one uses to calculate that.
Since I’d gone to all the trouble of setting up my 5D Mark III with the Canon f/4.0-5.6 100-400mm lens, I thought I should go ahead with the comparison, fair or not. Here is the Canon at 100mm:
As you can see, this is not at all comparable to the iPhone without the zoom lens. I was surprised to realize for the first time that the iPhone lens is a 4mm lens! Now that is wide!
At 400mm, Tisen’s cow shows just how badly she needs a bath:
I was quickly bored with shooting Tisen’s toys. I decided Tisen was a more exciting subject. I rotated the lamp around in attempt to shed some light under the desk where he was hiding while all this was going on.
I tried to back up with the Canon to do more of a comparison where Tisen looked the same size in both the iPhone and the Canon images. I had to back up far enough to be outside the lens’ minimum focusing distance, then I zoomed in a bit at 220mm to get something close to the size of the iPhone image.
I don’t know if you can see the quality difference in these low resolution images, but it’s quite obvious to me when I make this comparison what is superior about the DSLR. On the flip side, if you’re posting low-resolution images to Facebook, the iPhone images are probably all the quality you need.