iPhone 4S vs Canon 5d MKII

iPhone 4S / Canon 5d MKII Side by Side Comparison on Vimeo.

In my quest to finally release some proper music videos I’ve been shooting a lot of small test shots. Being addicted to pro-audio gear bleeds over to video things so of course I’ve been eyeing the wonderful mighty Canon 5d MKII. I won’t justify such an expensive purchase until I least do 3 full videos with my iPhone 4S. I picked up a Glif iPhone tripod mount (image above) and Final Cut X which I think is amazing. Some lighting is on the way and storyboarding has commenced. This morning I found a video comparing the 5d to the 4s and found it interesting. I like the 5d footage better and with different lenses the 5d would kill the iPhone. Yet with proper lighting and skill the 4s will do just fine I think for now!

“Here’s a “fair” test between the iPhone 4S and the Canon 5D MK II. I made a little rig that allowed me to shoot both cameras at the same time side by side. All scenes are perfectly synced together so you can pause and scrutinize the frames! See photo of the makeshift rig in the photo area.Exposure, shutter speed, frame rate and picture style were matched as close as possible between the two cameras. This test shows that the tiny F2.4 lens and sensor on the iPhone are pretty nice. It even got a little depth of field! I did not overlay the exact ISO and Stops 5D settings per shot. It was too much to keep track for this simple test. To be fair I matched 5D exposure to the iPhone so no “Cinestyle” / 24p here.” – Robino Films

For more info: studioneat.com

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

11 thoughts on “iPhone 4S vs Canon 5d MKII”

  1. That’s exactly my thinking. No way is a cellphone ever going to beat a pro DSLR or any other professional-grade video camera, but it’s amazing what great quality phones like the iPhone are capable of nowadays; I’ve often used them lately to ‘live storyboard’, i.e. to walk through a few of my crucial shots and film them for reference before a big shoot. Very useful!!

  2. It looks OK in the small head-to-head but breaks down in the full frame example, IMO. But it’s stunning quality for a phone. I think you’d get better results from any of the Canons, if you invest in some nice lenses. The glass gives you that nice small depth of field with little balls of light in the background.

      1. I know you’re not asking me. But the 50mm won’t be much good with the 60d or 7d because of the APS-C sensor. It basically turns into an 80mm lens.

        I have a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 zoom that I really like. And I have a Canon 28mm f1.8 (not the $$ L series). I’d like something in the 15mm range for the kind of pictures I like to take. Again, because of the smaller sensor it would be more like 24mm. I like a little wide-angle.

      2. Actually, I’ve been shooting video for the last two days. I used my 5DmkII and 100mm lens for about 80% of it. I’m shooting product videos for handheld devices so I’m doing a lot of tight shots. For the rest of the shots I used my 50mm or 40mm lenses (actually 17-40mm, but zoomed all the way in). I wanted to use my 15mm fisheye but it was way too wide.

        I bought a few things that made my stuff look really cool, besides the lenses. I got a pair of video lights from B&H for $200, including the barn doors and stands. I got a set of colored gels to clip i front of one of the lights, and I got a pico dolly from these guys:


        The dolly shots make a HUGE DIFFERENCE. Set up a table in front of where you’re shooting and dolly in or by, use a small depth of field = looks like a million bucks.

        I’ll send you the finished video if you’re interested, email me to remind me.

          1. I would think that would be very shaky. Even with everything tightened down on the Pico Dolly it’s still a bit shaky with the 100mm with the arm raised. I’m hoping it’s not too bad or that I can fix it in editing.

  3. Sure, it’s possible to shoot a nice video with the iPhone, just like you can make an album of good music with an iPhone. Talented artists can use whatever and get it to work.
    But the minute you need to add a zoom, shoot at night, use something other than 30 fps, or change lenses, the comparison is pointless.
    Oliver you should look at the in-betweens as well, like the Canon 60D and 7d. The sensor is smaller but they shoot amazing video and cost much less than the 5d.

    1. Thanks Brian… my plan is to shoot with the iPhone and make sure I actually create a few finished projects then I can justify spending. I drool over the footage I see shot with the 5d and various lenses… more than any other camera I’ve ever seen.

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