Photographer Dustin Curtis decided to put his new iPhone 5 up against his ~$4,000 Canon 5D MkIII SLR in a head-to-head shootout. The result? Clearly the Canon won, but the iPhone did surprisingly well.
Dustin shot the same scene from the same angle at (almost) exactly the same time. He picked it for its difficult lighting conditions, its long front-to-back distance and its colorful scenery. Both the iPhone and the SLR were told to focus and base exposure on the same point — the “No Stopping” sign in the middle of the picture. To see both photos full-sized, head over to the blog post (link below).
As Dustin points out, the iPhone’s auto exposure did a great job of this tricky, contrasty light, and the sensor does a decent job of coping with it, and with rendering color.
But the difference $3,300 makes is pretty clear. The dynamic range of the 5D MkIII is way, way better, rendering all sorts of tones and detail in the scene (take a look at the paving slabs) which the iPhone misses.
But to dwell on this is to miss the point. For a phone with a tiny sensor, the iPhone 5 makes a surprisingly good camera.
Source: Dustin Curtis