A few years ago an American company named Zacuto did a series of comparisons between cameras at different price points. Given all sorts of lighting equipment, stabilization, time and expertise it became very difficult to tell the high-end cinema cameras from the basic, cheap consumer cameras. It was great fun to watch and really made me think about the cost versus image quality debate.
Of course, there are many other factors to compare when pitting one camera against another but surely image quality is right at the top. I used to believe that I would go to any length for a better image but today I really value ease of use and good ergonomics.
So, let’s see how the guys at iPhoneographers got on when they compared the iPhone XS Max and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.
Both of these cameras are small but despite the name, only one can really fit into your pocket. The iPhone XS Max is a big phone, but a small camera. The screen is larger than a lot of dedicated stills format and camcorder type cameras and it is bright and has a high resolution.
Add to that a variety of frame rates with some impressive slow-motion options, 4K and all the connectivity that a phone offers and you have a very appealing camera in your pocket. Plus it does everything else a phone does.
Filmic Pro and other apps of its’ ilk offer a selection of extra picture customisation options including log profiles. With a little work, it is possible to shoot an image that can be graded to look really fantastic.
The BM(too big for your)PCC, is a really nice camera designed for video shooting from the ground up. Blackmagic are a favourite of mine for their willingness to be innovators instead of followers. Sometimes they get a little ahead of themselves but their tech is always pushing the boundaries and the price points.
Blackmagic Raw, BRAW, offers all the raw flexibility you could possibly want giving you access to white balance, ISO and all your picture profiles in post. It can take more time than working with a baked-in look but the level of choice is empowering.
So enough background on onto the tests. In short, they are pretty fun! The space and lighting are controlled which makes the test more limited but still valuable. The model is the same and the setups seem need identical in terms of field of view and shots.
Can you tell the difference between the two images?
I think that the iPhone does a great job and this is a good comparison. As with any test viewed on youtube, it is worth keeping in mind compression and how you are watching the footage. I’d like to have the full quality exports on my editing workstation with scopes at the ready to get a really good look at what is going on.
Be honest, did you spot the phone each time?
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