I’m sure that many of the raving RED fans won’t be very excited by this side-by-side comparison that puts the $50,000 RED Weapon next to an iPhone 7 Plus, but for the rest of us, it’s still interesting to see the results that US-based professional filmmaker Parker Walbeck got while using both devices. Don’t get me wrong, though, the RED Weapon is a full-fledged high-end cinema camera that provides loads of professional features and can produce stunning imagery which is why it is used as an A-cam on so many multi-million productions. But the notion Walbeck tries to convey here is that it doesn’ matter how small your budget is as long as you’re talented and experienced enough as a filmmaker and DP. At the end of the day, those are the things that actually make the difference.
For the purposes of this test, Walbeck utilized the Movi M5 gimbal as he mounted the iPhone 7 Plus on top of the RED Weapon itself. The short piece was shot in three hours with a small crew at a remote location. The Red Weapon was shooting in 6K, whereas the iPhone 7 Plus video was shot in 4K while utilizing the Filmic Pro App. The footage from both cameras was slightly color corrected in Adobe Premiere Pro using Lumetri Color afterward.
All in all, for this particular type of wide shots where everything stays in focus most of the time, the iPhone 7 Plus does a pretty decent job as the image quality isn’t that different indeed (at least when watched on YouTube), especially given the massive price difference. Beyond any doubt, the RED Weapon is a much superior camera, but on some occasions, you can certainly intercut between both cameras without being potentially distracting to the viewer. Sure, every experienced DP will notice the mild differences, but it’s astounding how far the smartphone camera technology has advanced.
Of course, when you need a professional cinema tool with the right ergonomics and features providing the ultimate creative control over your images, the choice is obvious. But, it still doesn’t change the fact that as an iPhone 7 user you have such an amazing tool in your pocket, that eventually could help you tell a great story even it’s the only camera you have at your disposal.