Impressive Product Shot Captured with an iPhone 5s and an LED Light

We all know that almost any smartphone nowadays can hold its own against a proper camera when given to a real photographer with the proper setup. But is it possible for a smartphone to go head-to-head with the likes of a Hasselblad?

Well, we’ll let you determine that for yourself using the images at this link, while the video above gives you a rundown on how the two photos were captured. One was taken with an iPhone 5s, one with a Hasselblad with a Leaf Aptus digital back attached… which is which?

The photos were captured and video put together by Alex Koloskov, founder of Photigy. Using nothing more than a single light source, the much-lauded 645Pro camera app and a very simple setup, Koloskov runs us through a quick BTS to show how he ended up with the images he did.


Koloskov also goes on to explain in the latter half of the video that this isn’t about whether or not your iPhone should replace your DSLR, let alone your Hasselblad, or anything to that capacity. The reason he did this comparison is to show that no matter what gear you have, no matter how minimal your setup, you can capture a powerful image.

Sometimes the most creative results come from the need to improvise. Koloskov does a great job of showing this by creating two almost identical images of a scene using two cameras that couldn’t be further apart in price and capability.

Give the short clip a watch, head over to Photigy for more info, and then let us know how constraints in previous projects or work have made you think outside the box and helped yield incredible results.

(via Photigy)

  • Allen

    There’s a ton of aliasing on the iPhone shot which means it’s been sharpened and noise-reduced to hell and back.

  • sum_it

    There are hundreds of reasons why having the right tool for the right job is tremendously helpful for a professional. But I often find that the limitation to many individual’s work isn’t their gear but rather their capacity to be creative/adaptive by making use of what they have.

  • Paolo Bubu

    There was another photographer taht did the same thing with studio portraits, but the point is always that obviously you can’t distinguish two heavily retouched, studio lit photo with tons of noise reduction and resize regardless of the camera…

  • Rob Elliott

    You mean a processed image was processed?

    The point of this (which Petapixel totally misses) is that the lighting and the non camera related stuff is just as important to producing a great image as the lens and the camera. So rather then upgrading your body, or lens, make sure you have the other things you need too.

    If you are using a 200watt bulb with a decent but not great lens, then go out and get a spyder head or a strobe before you get a $1200 lens which isn’t going to change the result of a 200watt bulb.

    Buy the stands, get the right surface, the background.. get the extracamera stuff that people use to get amazing shots. Because with it.. even the iPhone can take a good photo.

  • whoopn

    There are times that the iPhone 5S and that App are just perfect for the job. Now is it going to be as perfect as a medium format camera? Depends, quality wise never but if you’re looking (like he says) for eye catching images this idea is pretty great.

    To clarify what he was trying to say (is that accent real?) regarding the app:
    It can shoot what it calls dTiff RAW. It’s basically every scrap of information that sensor can capture stored in a tiff. I use this app on my iPhone if I’m out and about and I find something I’d like a more professional photo of and I don’t happen to have my DSLR with me. If you own an iPhone, get this app, its worth it.

  • Nikku

    The photographer is surely a HIGH END DSLR USER with lot of experience…. a iphonographer can’t do all these things…

  • JordanCS13

    The resize being perhaps the most important.

    I mean, I can tell the shots apart quite easily (aside from the wider angle, the iPhone shot has notable banding in the gray gradation and pretty severe sharpening artifacts and aliasing.), but the big differences will occur if you go to print. If this shot were used in a full page magazine spread, the image quality difference would be readily apparent.

    That said, I use my iPhone a fair bit for casual photography…and some of the images can still print to decent (8×10 and smaller) size without major IQ issues. It won’t hold a candle to my main camera system for 12×18 or 20×30″ prints, though.

  • Chris

    you’re giving an iphone/smartphones wayyyyyyyy to much credit sir.

  • Renato Murakami

    It’s a great lesson on the importance of experience, creativity, technical factors outside the camera itself, and on how smartphones are catching up.
    Starting to get a bit played out already for some people who follow photography news, but I guess always relevant.

    A good thing to look into when those news outlets that are firing experienced photographers starts asking themselves why the heck their journalists with iPhones are producing so many unusable crap quality photos. It’s not about the gear.

    But as image quality and sensors evolve inside smartphone cameras, we can start drawing more accurate divisions between smartphones and dedicated cameras…
    There are some interesting things to see.

    Smartphones can take great pictures, yes. Their sensors and capabilities will become increasingly better overtime, so let’s think some about the core divisions.

    You’ll always need a dedicated camera for flexibility and speed. Why? I don’t think smartphones will ever go for interchangeable lenses and lots of physical buttons – because that will end up getting in conflict with the smartphone part (being lightweight and with most of it’s interface on the touchscreen).

    I think we’ll continue having manual controls included into the interface… like some Nokia phones already have, Android phones will probably soon start going that way, and Apple too (without the need for a separate app that is).

    But I think they’ll most likely be locked behind menus or smart interfaces since the majority of users won’t get to them, and honestly, no matter how well thought the interface is, I think it’ll never be as good as regular cameras (with physical buttons, dials, rings, etc). I imagine some of that could be pushed with a custom case though I’m not shure if there would be a good enough market for it.

    We already have more or less a predecessor to it: dSLRs being used in situations where regular big production video cameras were used before. Lots of rigs, separate accessories for focus pulling and other stuff where needed to compensate, but it can be done.

    On accessories: I don’t think it’s too hard a thing to make all sorts of accessories to work with a smartphone camera. Say, external monitors, flashes, strobes, tripods and whatnot. Perhaps in the future a smartphone could act as a backup, yes? Depending on the situation.

    One more thing: RAW. Lumia 1020 pioneered on this area, though I must say that for now it’s plain useless. It can take seconds to minutes for the smartphone to save that RAW file (when it doesn’t crash) unfortunately… I think the smartphone processor can’t handle it very well. But it’s a start. Couple of generations from today’s we’ll probably have a working situation regarding RAW+jpeg.

    In any case, sometime ago I saw a comparison model shoot with dedicated dSLRs and…. I think it was an iPhone 4 or 4S. The difference was still noticeable.

    But we’re getting to a point where people overall will be hard pressed to tell if a certain shoot was made with a dSLR or a smartphone (a high end one at least). Non-photographers and even photographers (because post-processing could make it hard to tell anyways).

    In any case, it’s always about the gear that best serves the purpose of the photographer, not otherwise. Experience counts the most because gear can’t improvise, can’t read certain situations or take decisions. And the camera, the capturing device, is still just a part of the whole equation.

  • Alan Klughammer

    I agree with everything you say and I would emphasize the importance of lenses.
    If your shot can use a moderately wide angle lens with lots of depth of field (ie a slower lens) then a smart phone could work. However if you require something outside these parameters, then you need a more versatile camera.

  • mat

    Why people say “AN led” isn’t it “A led” ? I’m not english, so I’m asking…

  • SeoulFoodNinja

    Because when spelled, the letter “L” is “EL” with the vowel sound in the beginning. LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode, so it’s not technically not a word, but just the letter. Also because English is stupid!

  • mat

    Ok now I understand !! An EL HEY DEE ! :D

  • Mike

    Cute, using creativity and skill to suggest that the camera is so darn good.

  • Gannon Burgett

    What SeoulFoodNinja said. I don’t understand why the English language is the way it is, but it’s technically “an LED,” not “a LED,” for the reasons stated by SeoulFoodNinja.

  • pasty boy

    English, one of the most grammatically ridiculous languages on our planet, English speaking children are born to it so it comes as a natural process but I remember watching the frustrations of my co-worker Krzytsztof from Poland trying to learn it, especially the idioms, and only then did I realise just what a crazy assed language my language is and that as a nation we are one of the rudest when it comes to not trying to learn anothers ie Spanglish or Italish, that said, in this country I can hardly comprehend the dialect of anyone who lives more than 200 miles north of myself, but em do yip in a much oddly way em do!,
    much oddly if yoom wuz a ask I ha ha ha
    it aint what you do its the way that you do it and that’s what gets results!!!

  • ugh

    Intentionally restricting yourself must be the new Coke. On that note, I’m off to prove hang-gliding with a piece of drywall will work out just as well. Wish me luck.

  • Cats

    Lessons to learn here:

    – Lighting is the most important aspect of photography. The camera comes second.
    – Now that this pro has shown us that apparently these images can be made using an iPhone, expect his business to decline rapidly, seeing as how “anybody can do it” or get “close enough” to not need to hire a professional.

    …and then people wonder why less and less people pay for photography… you can thank photographers themselves for posting these silly videos, downgrading the importance of proper professional equipment!
    PART of the reason people still pay for photography (and deny it if you will) has to do with the gear being used, and usually the size of the gear. I repeat: PART of the reason.

    Seeing as how everyone and their dog have iPhones, the point of this type of video will be easily misinterpreted. While he is trying to say “it’s not the gear, it’s how you get the shot and how you light it”, would-be PAYING clients watch the video and think “What? That can be done with an iPhone and an LED? Great! I’m never paying for photography again!”

    So my fellow photographers… post some of your work, maybe some “making ofs” of how strenuous certain shoots were, stories about last-minute changes to shoots that made the difference, etc. But if you love photography, and want the photography industry to exist and grow, keep these stupid “look how you can do it yourself for cheap” videos in your mind.

  • Greg

    I guessed which was which straight away!!

  • Joshua Geiger

    Until they actually try to get a nice final result. Then they realize that it’s knowing how to light things correctly that is most important. And when they realize that proper lighting & modifiers require a lot of knowledge, they will understand why they can’t actually do it. :) I have no fear of losing business because someone thinks they can do their product shots with a camera phone. Actually, with a business owner thinking like that (being cheap coupled with no knowledge to tackle something as important as their product photography), I’m pretty sure my business will last much longer than theirs. You can’t be successful forever being that dumb.

  • Joshua Geiger

    Good luck with that. Make sure you jump from the highest point you can find. :)

  • Joakim Bidebo

    What he try to prove with this is that gear doesn’t matter but knowledge do.

  • Cats

    Oh how I wish this were true! You do make valid points. However, the problem is, the majority of the market is transitioning from “professional work” to “meh, this photo is good enough”. And when “good enough” is good enough, pro photographers are doomed.

    In this scenario, videos such as these have the undesired effect of saying “See? You don’t need expensive equipment after all”, which leads the majority of possible clients down the road of “do-it-yourself”.

    Also, note that consumers themselves have downgraded their perception of quality, photography-wise. This is no surprise, as convenience usually beats quality. Today, we have access to “convenient” phone photography, which produces worse quality than most film photography of the 1980’s. Still, nobody cares because they can take hundreds of photos a day, “there’s sure to be some that are good enough quality!”.

    While I want to agree with you that “quality guarantees success”, we must remember that even the best quality typewriters became obsolete. Clients must be educated that ONLY with proper skills, education and YES, ONLY WITH PROPER EQUIPMENT it is possible to create the images they need and should pay for.

  • superduckz

    “Also, note that consumers themselves have downgraded their perception of quality, photography-wise.”

    YEP! I’ve made this observation many times over the last few years.

  • kakakadaf

    ☆ Most cost-effective website, factory direct delivery, all kinds of luxury brands, safe and efficient http://WWW.SOGARED..COM i página web. Mi sitio web es: tienen marcas: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Gucci, LouisVuitton, Armani, Burberry, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, Abercrombie & Fitch, CalvinKlein, Dsquared2, Yves Saint Laurent, Tommy Hilfiger sitio:
    ◥◤◥◤◥◤◥◤ We are not the usual Chinese wholesalers

  • Omar Salgado

    We just have to take a look on the tripod…