iPhone 4S vs Canon 5D Mark II: A Side-by-Side Comparison of 1080p HD Video

Here’s a test comparing the 1080p HD video recording capabilities of the iPhone 4S and the Canon 5D Mark II. Vimeo user Robino Films shot the same scenes at the same time with both cameras using a special rig, and then synched the footage together. They also tried to match the exposure, shutter speed, frame rate, and picture style as much as possible.

  • Nomail


  • jmphotographphyonline

    Interesting what happens to the computerized billboard display with the iPhone

  • Jerry Davis

    The iPhone footage held up far better than I’d expected. Very good comparison!

  • Kj

    Yes, any explanation for what happens to the video billboard on the 4s video?

  • Marcelo Calil

    why stupid? I found it very interesting. Soon we’ll see House MD filmed on Iphone 4S. lol. But seriously, the quality is very close to each other. You see less pixelation and more detail on 5D of course but you gotta look close and have a keen eye. Plus because of the rolling shutter on iphone you could not see properly the video ads on the billboard, but the iphone froze better the moving cars in my opinion (when you freeze a frame).

  • Marcelo Calil

    i don’t know the technicality of the rolling shutter, but google for it and there are a lot of weird videos caused by this effect. It’s like when take a pic of tvs with compact cameras and whatnot and you see black blocks, it’s the refresh rate of tv and so on.

  • Edson Simão Jr.

    I guess is the frequency rate (Hz) of the billboard doesn’t match of the iPhone’s sensor. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • clug

    F 1.4?

  • Anonymous

    The rolling shutter is to blame for the effect on that billboard

  • zf

    As much as I hate to defend iPhone, it most likely the result of faster shutter speed than the board’s refresh rate. 

    I presume they shot it during the day, so iPhone AE will likely only compensate shutter speed to block much of the light which result one over thousands shutter speed, which is faster than normal monitor’s refresh rate which is 120-220hz(in every refresh, modern monitors will black out and turn back on in upper to bottom fashion).

    While 5d used slow aperture(f/7-f/22) and use long shutter which is most likely around 1/100s which will completely eliminate that effect.

    “Sony sensors is simply the best ever sensor on the market.” Says Nikon’s D3x.

    I can’t argue with that.

  • grumbelzz

    hah I think everyone is missing the point, they both look like garbage, no offense to the shooter.

  • Anonymous

    “Nikon officials were at pains to point out that although the D3X’s sensor is manufactured in a Sony plant, it’s still very much a Nikon designed sensor”. Can’t say the same for the iPhone 4S and it shows.

  • Anastasia V

    I believe it would be more interesting if he tried to focus at objects in different distances with both cameras, I really don’t think this video proves anything apart from the iphone being competent in an average light/day and with minimum movement of the cameras.

  • Seth Christie

    stupid comment

  • Sam Cornwell

    Hey Michael, on the day of purchase for the iPhone 4s I made a comparison video like this one between the 3Gs and 4s Took me a while to do the damn thing though.


  • Anonymous

    Clearly Canon has nothing to worry about. But then what did you expect for a cell cam?

  • Anonymous

    That’s because he used a slower shutter speed on the 5D i think.

  • Toto

    Stupider comment.

  • Anonymous

    Still pretty good though for a phone.

  • Francois

    The advantage of the 5DmkII over the iPhone is clearly in its extensive possibilities by playing with different lens and using different apertures, and most probably its night capabilities too.
    The bottom line is that this video brings down the 5DmkII while making the iPhone looking good 

  • Anonymous

    But bearing in mind extensions, the overall clarity and picture as well as adjustable features the Canon still looks well. It is extremely impression however on the iPhones behalf. 

  • Bryan Broyles

     The explanation says they used the same shutter speed, frame rate and exposure.  That’s interesting, and invalidates some of the proposed reasons above for the differences, but it brings one important point to the fore:  Why limit the 5Dii to the crappy settings the iPhone can handle?  The widest aperture is 2.4, the sensor size is 1/6 that of the 5Dii.  Given those factors, one cannot get the limited depth of the 5dii (one of it’s big advantages for video).  So, this comparison only serves as one more, “oh my god, the iPhone is SOOOOOO good,” but without any real merit.

  • John Godwin

    Hazy, relatively bland environments, with the Canon lens at a notoriously soft aperture. Crank that up to f2.8 and introduce some heavy colour into the shots and then you get a better picture of the distance between these two cameras.

    This is much like comparing a canon to a H4D-50 handheld at ISO 1600 and marvelling that the Canon produces similar results.

    I’ve never understood tests like these, they don’t show anything.

    That being said, if I hold my iphone a certain way, my Canon then becomes just as good at making calls.

  • SLRuser

    Exactly.  And as soon as the sun goes down, the iPhone would absolutely fall to peaces as far as image clarity is concerned.

  • dop

    When you put down to size like this and compression like this you cut down quality of canon 5D and than you can compare it with every fucking phone… let’s see the raw material of both cameras… :)

  • Cochambre

    The only evidence this shows is that the cannon 5D is not good dumbing down to iphone levels (it still wins).

  • Anonymous

    Yeh, I haven’t been able to make phone calls from any of my dSLRs… iPhone wins hands down here ;)

  • Blake Britton

    It would be nice to have the comparison video clip in HD as well as
    having both the iPhone 4S and 5DMkII set at the same angle, unless you
    do that, my Droid Bionic will take video that looks as good as the 5D
    and iPhone 4S.

  • Jasper

    the advantage of the iphone is that you can put it in your pocket, send emails and take calls with it. The 5D is obviously a superior camera, I think this shows that very respectable video can be captured with the 4s

  • Pixelsmithy

    You have to click “HD” on the player and then view at full screen to do a real comparison. The Canon wins out. In the alley scene, notice the red leaves at the foot of the trash cans on the right. Everything in the shade ss muddy on the iPhone. The Canon wins in the sharpness category as well.

    Still, the iPhone performs admirably, considering.

    Field of view is not exactly the same. iPhone has a slightly wider take, making everything else appear a bit smaller than the Canon’s views.

  • Daniel Hoherd

    Between the H4D-50 and the Canon the Canon would definitely win.  H4D-50 doesn’t even DO video!

  • John Godwin

    Picture wise, I meant. The canon could probably knock out a better shot at 1600 hand-held :)

  • val escobar

    Surprising how many are unable to be objective. It is very obvious who the iPhone haters are. Thats fine. 
    I think it would of be interesting if they had just posted the videos with out saying which came from which. Take a poll for say a week. Then posted the results.The iPhone 4 takes some pretty nice photos, I can assume the new will be better.Besides ultimately it’s not the camera, its the artist behind the lens or sensor.

  • Bacicg

    Yes, ramarkable similarity but, obviously aperture on 50mm lens was set to f22 because of comparable depth of field and 50mm lens on f22 is not very brilliant… 

  • Bru

    It’s not so much iphone haters, but people with good eyes. Assuming the videos had been put up with no label between the two, people would assume the iphone video was from the iphone, unless they were such an Apple fanboy that they couldn’t conceive of it doing badly.  

    Why would people label the videos correctly? Because there is a very obvious difference in quality. That’s not to say that the iphone 4s has bad video, because it doesn’t at all. It’s far better than digital video from 10 years ago, and EXTREMELY better than something from a high quality camcorder 20+ years ago. But it does have a lower quality in comparison to the canon, and anyone with a discerning eye can pick out why it’s lower quality.

    Hate has nothing to do with it.

  • Roy Warner

    It’s funny how the more people say “stupid comment”, the less likes they receive. So I guess the general reading populace likes Nomail’s comment the best. Thus, stupid responses.

  • Bogdan

     Great test, it is like making a Ferrari to behave like a Tata Nano just to prove that Tata Nano is a very good car…

  • Tmannheimer


  • Tmannheimer

    The I phone is looking great! But, the test is so so…. It leads the less experienced video consumer to think the iphone 4s is close to the 5D. In reality not close at all. Shoot a low light shot with minimal lights and the iphone 4s turns into a grain monster (crap video). The 5D looks crystal clear and that’s why it cost 3k. 

  • Bryce

    Sam (or anyone else), do you know of a better app than AlmostDSLR for controlling iPhone video manually?  Thanks for any help.  Bryce

  • Jon

    despite 4S quality, some people can do a short film just using an iPhone 4S

    so yes, this director could shooted his film with a 5D, but in the end the result is amazing for an iPhone

  • tomicher

    iP still worst but not extremely much.
    sick !

  • brad

    I can barely make calls from my iPhone with AT&T. I might have just as much luck with my 5D MarkII.

  • James

    Looks like the MkII wasn’t graded, and the iphone still had the stock grade.