Video Test: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Versus the Canon 5D Mark III

Put together by cinematographer Alec Weinstein, this head-to-head test video puts two unlikely competitors head to head in a battle royale: the Canon 5D Mark III (a $3,500 DSLR) and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (a $600 phone).

While these two “cameras” will never truly be debated over for use in real-world situations, as one is built for video and one features it as a bit of an after-thought, it’s interesting to see just how close the footage can be from devices that feature a $3000 price difference. And what makes this comparison worth the look is the details that went into comparing the two, with Weinstein meticulously making sure as many details as possible were the same.


As you can see from the screenshot below, not only were the parameters set up to be similar, but Weinstein made sure to grade the footage so it was similar in style to the Galaxy Note 3.


Weinstein eventually concludes that the Galaxy Note 3 seems to be better in terms of value for your dollar, noting that for around 85% less money being spent, you get a better resolution, impressive image quality, and macro coming ready out of the box.


So, while we’ll state again that it’s no comparison for what to use in particularly demanding situations, there is certainly some value in noting and comparing just how far technology has come to where a phone is even possible to compare to a full-fledged camera.

(via DIY Photography)

  • ucandisqusthis2

    Also by this logic: The $3500 DSLR needs to add a more expensive piece of GLASS to make this comparison equal where as the SMARTPHONE is using an one lens fits all situation at $600. What lens would you consider to be at par with the SMARTPHONE?

  • ucandisqusthis2

    We will be waiting on your video comparison to SHOW your results.

  • ucandisqusthis2

    BY this logic: The $3500 DSLR needs to add a more expensive piece of GLASS to make this comparison equal where as the SMARTPHONE is using a one lens fits all situation at $600. What lens would you consider to be at par with the SMARTPHONE?

  • ucandisqusthis2

    BY this logic: The $3500 DSLR needs to add a more expensive piece of GLASS to make this comparison equal where as the SMARTPHONE is using a one lens fits all situation at $600. What lens would you consider to be at par with the SMARTPHONE??

  • ucandisqusthis2

    Guess you didn’t listen to video as he explained that the jerkiness is caused by the stand that it was mounted to.

  • ucandisqusthis2

    ? what on earth has that got to do with this article?

  • ucandisqusthis2

    Pointless comment as usual!!! The comparison was not to say “use this instead”… it was a comparison of a $3500 DSLR’s technology vs a $600 SMARTPHONE’s capabilities.

  • Fullstop

    Whoa! Watch out everyone we got a big man talkin all loud and bad-like!

  • Jeremiah True

    I thought that the focus looked off on this. Not saying that the Note 3 doesn’t take amazing video, it obviously does, but the optic setup on the Canon didn’t look like it was done correctly. Either the lens was stopped down too far and it produced a soft image or the focus was not set properly. I also have the 7D and even with my less than amazing lens collection, I have gotten better results than this.

    In response to @ucandisqusthis2:disqus’s constant comments, I get it, your point has been made. The lens used is probably fine for the test just not focused properly or using too small an aperture which would case the softness. Also, the lens used is certainly on par with the smartphone, when correctly set. Since there is no constant AF feature on Canon 5D3 for video, this is not an option. Also, with a sensor as small as the one in the Note, a 2.2 aperture is a lot tighter and the DOF is much larger than on a full frame sensor many multiples its size. You are talking about a 1/3.06″ 13mp sensor against a 1.3″ 24mp sensor. They are different beasts.

  • Jeremiah True

    If you scale down video from 4k to 1080, you are not going to reduce visible quality unless you are looking at both on a 4k screen.

  • Mr. Flynn

    On almost all of the shots the 5D has greater detail. Particularly in the lighter tones. The blacks on the 5D look richer and sharper. The Note’s images look great but still look like they came from a cellphone.

    Sensors need to drastically improve in low light and much better optics are needed before phones overtake 5D.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    You’re not covering what people who shoot videos for a living want. The phone camera is great but as you mentioned it’s one size fits all. $3500 DSLR is not at all expensive. Low light? Sorry most phone cameras are going to crap out including mine. It’s about which one fits the best role. You want you can slap a cheap glass on the camera like the guy did. Frankly that was the shittiest output I’ve ever seen. I’ve shot video on a MKII with a Zeiss 35mm and it looked way better than that. I don’t even do that for a living.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok


  • Pablo Rauld Fuentes

    I’m not denying the advancement of technology, I’m just saying that in the 70’s image quality wasn’t bad at all, and it may be that the film quality has been reached already by profesional cameras like the Red series or Alexa’s (pretty damn good quality).

    I guess we’re not gonna agree in that point of the quality, but the fact that the Note 3 has 4k doesn’t mean that the image is better, just that the technology has improved over itself, a lot, and for good.

    PD. I’ve just edit cause I noticed I left an Idea incomplete.

  • MaxWei

    Why do they do these stupid comparisons. It’s like doing a car shoot-out of a Prius -vs- Ferrari. Aside from a striking headline, it’s completely pointless.

  • Daniel Villeneuve

    C’mon, give me a break!!! Can you shoot RAW video files (Magic Lantern firmware) with a tablet?

    Can you put a 300mm or 400mm f2.8 lens on a tablet, a 14mm lens?

    Can you shoot clean images at 6,400 or 12,800 ISO with a tablet?

    This test is amusing at best…

  • Guest

    Poor you in you narrow mind…

  • Octavio Guevara

    Im a proud user of a Note 3 and a Canon DSLR camera, but seriusly, the Note 3 have better video quality compresion (1080p or 4k) even in 1080p 60fps is outstanding.

  • SDP

    Why use a cheap sigma lens for this test, those lenses are always soft as you can never get it sharp. It would have been better if you used a 35mm prime lens.

  • Robert GreatestDay Walker

    That was my point… That technology had improved… We get great image quality in our pockets. The barometer for increased technology is image quality. You can’t get this kind of tech Back then.

    But I believe your saying the tech (fitting in your pocket) has improved but image quality back then was just as good as now. Is that right?
    If so, I disagree but it is what it is I guess lol. When I look at films from then compared to now, even raw data strait out of the camera, it looks better to me now.

  • AliNoorani

    I see your point. The cell phone is performing reaaaally good. This is probably an alert for marketing guys at DSLR makers like Canon.
    This tells customers that if you want to record a video blog or some fixed day light scene, all you need is a good smart phone!
    But when it comes to professional film making, you need “control” and that’s where you should chip in thousands of dollars for a 5D or a digital video camera, etc.

  • AliNoorani

    Adding to Jeremiah. Just because we are talking at a very different price range doesn’t mean a multi-hundred-dollar glass is good. The glass is obviously a bottle-neck on camera’s quality performance no matter how much you pay for it.

  • Jeremiah True

    I am not arguing that expensive glass is the key, I am arguing that a lens that is design and properly configured for a camera is going to produce better quality images than one that is not. I feel that the test video quality was crippled by the fact that the lens used on the Canon was either a poor copy (which happens), or there were other settings that not correct for the work being done to get the best quality out of it.

    With the Samsung, this is not an issue because, aside from focus point, you have no control over any aspect of the glass and where that lens is a custom designed piece for that sensor, of course it is going to perform well.

    I feel that if you wanted to do an apples to apples test (if that is possible with this) then use Canon L glass (which is the lens designed for that camera, a prime preferably) and post process the video for color/tone as well as sharpening since this is being done, to some degree, by the Note internally.