Point-and-shoot camera series: comparing to phone & DSLR photos

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Comparing point-and-shoot to phone & DSLR photos |

Hope everyone is feeling healthy. We DC metro-ers got our first real snow of winter spring. Yes, it came on Monday, at the end of March, but I was excited nonetheless. Too bad our 2.5-yr (J) and I were both too sick to go outside and enjoy the fluffy white stuff. Boo! Oh well. Guess there’s always next winter spring. Oh, and we’re feeling better :).

Today I want to compare photos taken with my Canon Elph (similar current version) point and shoot (P & S), iPhone 4S, and Canon EOS Rebel T1i DSLR with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens. I’ll talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of shooting with each. If you missed it, in the first post in the “P & S series”, I introduced features of my P & S and shared Japan photos all taken with my P & S. Thanks for all of your kind words on those photos!

Shooting indoors

The only successful shot I took indoors with my P & S was of our new Beta fish. The light above the tank really helped. All other photos taken indoors with my P & S were blurry, as you’ll see later.

You’ll notice that both the P & S and DSLR captured bokeh, or blurry areas, whereas the iPhone captured everything in-focus. Nevertheless, in my opinion, I think that the photo from the iPhone is the crispest of them all. The colors also seem more vibrant from the iPhone. These differences are more apparent when the photos are larger.

As I mentioned already, all other photos taken indoors with my P & S were blurry because the camera doesn’t have a “shutter priority” to freeze motion. See how parts of J’s face are blurred?

Point and shoot example - no motion allowed

Even this photo, where J is standing relatively still, is blurry.
Favorites from point and shoot - shadow

Conclusion: For shooting any action indoors (low-light), the iPhone and DSLR beat the P & S.

The close-up

These are successful indoor photos because J’s slippers did not move. The photos taken with the P & S and iPhone are similar, except that the iPhone photo, again, seems crisper and bolder than the P & S. This could certainly be attributed to the age of the P & S (over 7 years old) and the fact I haven’t cleaned the lens in over 7 years. In contrast to the fish photos above, only the photo of the slippers taken with the DSLR has bokeh.

The following photos show how close you can shoot with the P & S, iPhone, and DSLR with 50 mm lens. The iPhone gets the closest. Second is the P & S, shot with the digital macro feature, and the 50 mm is the farthest. Of course, if I had an expensive macro lens on the DSLR, I could have gotten much closer.

Conclusion: For shooting really close-ups, the iPhone beats the P & S and is an affordable alternative to an expensive macro lens for a DSLR.

Wide shots

Standing at the same spot, the P & S and iPhone take the same photo. You can see the entire tree in the photos below. Standing at the same spot, the DSLR with a 50 mm lens takes a tighter shot and much of the tree is cropped-out.

Conclusion: Standing at the same spot, you’ll get the widest shot with the P & S and iPhone. You’d have to take many steps backwards to get the same shot with the DSLR 50 mm lens. Of course, you could switch DSLR lenses.

Overall conclusions

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to shoot with my P & S after comparing the photos with my iPhone. Shooting with both actually gave me a deeper appreciation of my iPhone, haha. That said, I wouldn’t give up the control I have with my DSLR and also the bokeh. And that said, not being able to rely on DSLR bokeh, shooting with my P & S and iPhone forced me to try to take photos with other visual interest. Not sure I succeeded since I only have one other P & S shot. I think it’s interesting because of J’s curious expression.

Can a two-post series still be called a series? Haha. I had higher hopes for this series, but just couldn’t find my groove with my P & S, as I did in Japan. Also, I now focus my picture-taking of my son, and as I learned this month, the P & S isn’t great in low-light conditions (i.e., inside our house where we’ve been stuck since it’s been cold) and capturing action (i.e., a toddler who moves a lot).

What do you shoot with?


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