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What happens when you compare the iPhone XS camera to a $10,000 cinema-grade setup? One filmmaker decided to do just that to find out.
Ed Gregory carried out the test, comparing the camera on the standard 5.8-inch iPhone XS against a Canon C200 with a Sigma Art 18-35/1.8 (which gave the cinema camera a similar focal length to the iPhone).
The results, Gregory said, were pretty surprising — and considering that the iPhone XS is a smartphone, “completely mind-blowing.” He noted that he found no difference in quality between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max.
After shooting for an hour, working on the footage, and viewing the results, Gregory praised the iPhone XS’s dynamic range and its essentially ready-to-go footage.
In his testing, the iPhone XS was able to retain highlights on a bright sun while keeping good details in the shadows of the shot. “Considering this is all being done in real time in the palm of your hand, it’s super impressive,” he said.
Another impressive aspect of the iPhone XS footage is that it took almost no color grading — which means that it’s certainly social media-worthy. The C200 footage, on the other hand, took a lot of “heavy lifting” in post, which Gregory admits “is one of the joys of shooting in RAW.”
The iPhone XS, of course, had its downfalls. Gregory noted that Apple has applied really aggressive sharpening on the final images, meaning that a lot of detail got lost. The final footage didn’t have a “cinematic quality” when compared to the softer aesthetic and higher-quality of the C200.
But for a smartphone, Gregory still praised the performance of the iPhone XS and underlined what is perhaps its key strength.
The C200 is part of a workflow, he said. Videos shot on the cinema camera are undoubtedly going to look better when all is said and done, but getting the footage to that point takes a lot of work.
The iPhone XS’ videos were nearly ready-to-go immediately after being recorded. Combine that with its extremely small footprint and portability, and Gregory said the results were extremely impressive.
“Is it as good as a cinema camera, not at all,” Gregory wrote. “Is it the best camera I have ever seen on a smartphone? 100%.”