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Cellphones Upgrades Hardware

Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video 201

Iddo Genuth (903542) writes "Photographer and videographer Alec Weinstein was in the market for a new smartphone. He realized that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Note 3 both have 4K video recording capabilities and decided to compare those to his 1080p 5D MKIII pro DSLR camera – the results are extremely interesting — Can you tell the difference between a Canon 5D MKIII shooting 1080p video and a Samsung Galaxy Note III smartphone shooting 4K video?"
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Can You Tell the Difference? 4K Galaxy Note 3 vs. Canon 5D Mark III Video

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  • OMGPWNIES (Score:5, Informative)

    by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @08:49PM (#46910647)

    Let's see if the Galaxy Note 3 can:

    1. Record usable, relatively noise-free video at EV -2
    2. Use f/1.2 lenses
    3. Record at effective focal lengths wider than 24mm or longer than about video at 300/2.8 or 600/4?
    4. Use varifocal lenses of any kind, let alone a parfocal lens

    I mean, this is silly. Under a very limited subset of possible shooting conditions and configurations, you *might* be able to get comparable output, but this has no bearing on the fact that if you're using a $3000 DSLR to shoot video, you're not merely some Android fanboy taking selfies of yourself beating off in your parents' basement. You're looking at using it with cine lenses or even just EF lenses like the 24/1.4L II, 35/1.4L, 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L II, 135/2L, 200/2L IS, or 300/2.8L IS II (if you're addicted to primes). Or Zeiss if that's your poison. Good luck with mounting a 55/1.4 Otus to that Galaxy Note.

  • by zr ( 19885 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @08:50PM (#46910655)

    direct youtube link to the comparison: []

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @08:51PM (#46910657) Homepage

    seriously speaking, under good lighting conditions phone cams have been on par with SLRs for all practical purposes for quite a while now.

    Under good lighting conditions $20 cameras have been on-par with $800 cameras for decades.

    The problem is that good lighting conditions are fairly rare.

    I'd love to have a decent phone camera, but it is really hard to accomplish in optics that are a few mm across what you can do with optics that are several cm across. My current phone camera is very prone to lens flares, has fairly poor dynamic range, and isn't terribly light-sensitive. It captures plenty of blurry pixels though.

  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @09:02PM (#46910721) Homepage

    Interesting. It looks like the 5D pictures weren't processed at all - they could stand some sharpening.

    That is important, because most consumer-oriented cameras (such as in phones) apply quite a bit of sharpening automatically. Professional cameras almost always avoid any processing, so that you don't get further losses when you post-process them (professional photographers almost always post-process).

    Also, half of the comparisons used JPEGs taken by the 5D. Again, serious photographers rarely capture JPEGs, because they lose dynamic range and end up being double-processed (and they're lossy besides).

    I did note that the RAW photos taken by the 5D handled one of the high-contrast shots much better (lots of shade in the foreground with the sky and sunlit buildings in the background).

    Focus speed is also an issue with cell phone cameras - a DSLR will focus MUCH faster and more accurately, especially in low light. They can also capture pictures in rapid succession. Most DSLRs are designed so that if you push the shutter release, they take a picture, no matter WHAT else is going on in terms of modes/etc (well, unless you put it on delay timer or something). A DSLR is always ready to take a picture, and will do so very quickly.

    The main advantage of the cell phone is that you always have it on you. However, if you're actually planning on taking photos, I'd pick the DSLR any day. There is just no comparison in the photos they take except under the most ideal conditions.

  • by wasteoid ( 1897370 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @09:10PM (#46910755)
    Wine snobs are the worst kind of snobs.
  • Re:DOF (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @09:17PM (#46910779)

    Indeed. And besides depth of field, putting a 16MP camera in the phone means that the amount of light hitting any particular pixel of the sensor will be ridiculously small, resulting in a reduced dynamic range. That design decision leads to pictures that end up looking worse, though your Average Joe won't be able to tell the difference anyway. Even so, the megapixel game is virtually meaningless for daily use once you get past a certain threshold, and we passed that point years ago, which is why other manufacturers are increasing the size of their pixels, rather than trying to pack more pixels in (Nokia being an exception).

  • by MichaelJ ( 140077 ) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @09:18PM (#46910787)
    There's no real-time autofocus in nearly all dSLR video recording, including the 5DMKiii used here. In Canon's lineup, only the 70D can do it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @09:22PM (#46910793)

    Can Joe Sixpack tell the difference between a $10 glass of house wine vs. a $100 glass of 1982 Chateau Gruaud Larose?

    That's a pretty funny example to use because oenophiles can't tell the difference either []. There is a HUGE reason that wine tastings are not done blind: it is because the wine experts can't tell the difference. In the 1970's there was an international wine competition done blind [], and California did exceeding well. It gave instant credibility to California wines and the French cried foul over the results and the process of the competition (the result was to revert back to knowing the label during the competition). Fast forward about 30 years and another blind competition was done, and "2 buck chuck" did exceedingly well. Of course, the California wineries cried foul over the results and the process of the competition.

    Are you a cork guy as well? You do know that screw caps are far superior closures for wine, don't you (as cans are over bottles for beer, and I would LOVE to see wine in cans but can you imagine the ignorant OUTRAGE you'd get from the wine idiots?)?

  • by bugnuts ( 94678 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:31AM (#46911385) Journal

    why would I use a DSLR to shoot video?

    You wouldn't, because by asking this question you betray that you undoubtedly have never shot a video before.

    DSLRs have some great features, and potential features if you need them.
    0. high quality and cheaper cost than a broadcast quality 2k camera.
    1. interchangeable lenses.
    2. easy to mount nearly anywhere.
    3. large sensor can give a shallow DOF when needed, and decent low-light ability.
    4. some can shoot raw footage, when needed.
    5. can use comparatively inexpensive vintage lenses.
    6. easily maintained and replaced.
    7. high enough quality for movies, and getting better.
    8. well-supported by 3rd parties.
    9. often have very usable ISOs, esp with a little bit of noise reduction (of which there's exactly one good program).
    10. have spawned camera offshoots based on DSLR video which is closer to a movie camera/dslr cross.
    11. can be operated remotely over usb or wifi. This includes focus pulling.
    12. firmware can be hacked on some, unlocking even more features.
    13. can be used as a crash camera for larger budgets.
    14. can be housed for underwater shooting.

    Some of the problems with DSLRs for filming. Not all will apply on any particular shoot.
    -1. large sensor can be a big hindrance when you need a large DOF, and requires a lot more light than a small sensor.
    -2. most movie modes are afterthoughts. Very few decent still cameras also have decent movie modes.
    -3. very few have any sort of usable auto-focus, although some can lock on and track. Autofocus pulling usually sucks.
    -4. very few have genlock, SDI, or aux i/o or undecorated uncompressed output
    -5. most outputs are in 8 bit 4:0:0 which loses a lot of color information. Some have 10 bit 4:2:2 and this is changing as memory speeds increase.
    -6. many don't have a very good codec and bit speed, but this is also changing.
    -7. most limit recording to 30 min due to EU taxes. Not usually a problem except for conferences and long interviews.
    -8. no global shutter. This is usually a very expensive feature, although at least one offshoot has it for under $10k. Maybe $5k.
    -9. limited fps speed adjustment. Some small cameras can shoot up to 1000fps for a short time, but dslrs can't do even a short slo-mo section. Some will do half-speed.
    -10. Not as ergonomic as a dedicated movie camera. As a DoP, this can affect things.

    All of the above can be found pretty easily if you know what to look for, and that should give you plenty of reasons why it is in many studio's interests to explore what DSLR shooting can bring them. I've shot several shorts, movie videos, and a TV show. Most were with a DSLR.

  • by sjwt ( 161428 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @04:13AM (#46911785)

    Set1) The horrible frame rate and jumpness gave it the first set away, the cheap 4K was jumpy in the redrawing, looked like a series of flashcards, 1080
    Set2) I chose the colours and natural look of the 4K
    Set3) Zoomed in, I liked the shadows and total rang on the 1080
    Set4) Beach - This gave away the cheap 4K easily. Horrible processing on the steps in the background was so distracting I couldn't take my eyes off it. 1080
    Set5) Beach2 - Jumpy image was horrible on the 4K, you couldn't use that anywhere you were paid. 1080
    Set6) Shado2Sun - The 4K was blown out in the highlights and anywhere close to highlights, 1080

    The 4K is a lot better than I was expecting, amazing for the price you buy, but I wouldn't want to use it professionally, you would be called out by someone with 1/2 a clue, and I doubt its going to handle low light levels at all with the amount of blowouts in the highlights, its clearly compensating there.
    Try taking the samsung out of the light, and seeing how it goes in say areas lit by 1-3 candles at night, that would be fun!
    Canon 5D Mark III with 35mm 1.4L lens low-light noise test []

    For F16, that seemed to have a horrible Depth of feild on the Cannon, i'm left wondering about that..
    This guy seems to have better DOF at F1.8, showing how badly this guy botched up, at F16 everythign should be sharp as a tack unless hes picking an insanely stupid focus point. 5D Mark III Low Light Playground []

    Let us not forget that what you shoot with a professional level digital camera is supposed to be edited and altered, its captured to preserve as much data as accurately as possible, you then process it.. Imagine running this kind of editing on his video, and this is a MK2 not a mk3
    5D Mark 2 RAW Grading and Dynamic Range Test and Graded Da []

    And last but not lest a Mk3 with Magic lantern firmware and post processing.
    5D Mark III 14 bit RAW Video with Magic Lantern []

  • Re:DOF (Score:5, Informative)

    by asvravi ( 1236558 ) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:04AM (#46911957)

    A whole lot of hogwash in here - wrong units, dimensionally inconsistent equations, plain ridiculous or missing assumptions but still the post gets modded as insightful just because it *sounds* insightful.

    - Larger pixels improve dynamic range. DR is defined as max signal before pixel saturation, divided by noise. Noise is limited by shot noise and electronics so does not scale with pixel size. Larger pixels have more signal range. So DR is higher.
    - You calculate DR as if there is only one electron noise. Try several magnitudes higher noise! I am not sure DR is what you think it is.
    - QE for most sensors is between 20% and 50%. 10% is nonsense.
    - ISOCELL improves color rendition, it has nothing to do with sensitivity.

    Following from Samsung should help -

    According to Samsung, the ISOCELL sensor design achieves better image quality than is normally possible from the very small CMOS sensors used in smartphones and tablets. ISOCELL uses a backside-illuminated (BSI) photodiode that is unique compared to past designs thanks to its integrated barriers between the individual pixels. Compared to conventional BSI sensors, this reduces electrical crosstalk by about 30 percent. Crosstalk - the bleeding of photons and photoelectrons between neighboring pixels - has been a disadvantage of traditional BSI sensor design, one that can reduce image sharpness and color accuracy because light intended for one particular pixel spreads to its neighbors.

    Existing BSI designs, with their photodiodes near the front of the sensor, lack any inherent structures that prevent light bleeding between pixels (a role fortuitously played by the circuitry in front of the photodiodes in older, frontside-illuminated chips). The barriers in the ISOCELL design prevent this bleeding.

    How do you equate 10% QE to 5pLumens/pix "sensitivity"? I am not sure Sensitivity is what you think it is. Sensitivity is defined as voltage output from the sensor for a given light input. What is the voltage output assumed here? How does it compare to the camera noise?

    Given this, rest of your statements do not make any sense either. When you say "generous" assumptions, it turns out they are actually ridiculous assumptions - you have removed the entire point of analysis and pixel size and even ignored reality, which is what the OP is commenting about. You disagreed with his points that are based on solid reality, but then ended up giving a half-baked proof derived from supposedly "fundamental" limits that are nowhere close to reality.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.