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)

  • Muhammad Malik

    He recorded in 4k with samsung and then brought the quality down to 1080.. obviously its gonna be a bit better than a video that was shot in 1080

  • Dylan Cyr

    Wow, when you watch this at 1080p the differences are much more apparent, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t think the Galaxy Note 3 didn’t look better almost every time.

  • Fullstop

    Sure it looks great in beautiful bright sunlight. How about we see a lowlight comparison test? No? We never will because then the difference would become obviously apparent that this is a phone.

  • Chris Gallant

    Guys, this is not a fair test. There is in camera sharpening on the cellphone. The 5D3 is softer but can be graded and sharpened after shooting. I will say that the phone is impressive, but there are so many limitations on it that I’d much rather shoot a film on the camera. These posts do get people to look though… which is one of your main jobs. Good job on that.

  • MJrolla07

    I guessed 100% of them right. Although the note is sharper, the 5d has a higher dynamic range and flatter image. Also the note has a more magenta image.

  • dodude

    It’s the high ISO in low light and the lenses with a bigger aperture than f11 that could make the 5dIII stand out with video.
    Heck you can make a video simular to those low light holywood scenes with a 5dIII, videos like that look like crap on a smart phone.

  • Erick De Vasconcelos

    Well, I wish he has at least a couple of night shots… We all know the results…

  • Steven William Blackwood

    I echo the comment that a 4k video downsized to 2k is going to look better than a video shot at 2k. ALSO, something you can add to a Canon lens is an ND filter which would allow a larger aperture which would allow better closeup shooting with blurred backgrounds. That all said, the Samsung does look pretty damned good.

  • Mojo

    I’ve never understood why’d you buy a still camera to take video anyway. Just makes the camera more expensive for those of us who just want to take photos.

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    Super Sampling at play here.

  • Steven

    I for one will not be replacing my 5DMKIII with the Galaxy Note 3 but I do see it as
    a viable option when wanting to get a shot when the closest thing is my Cell Phone. As Apple’s quality and customer service have lost them my business I am shopping for a new Smart Phone. Now if only the 5DMKIII made phone calls…

  • pedro ribeiro

    This seems to me quite wrong.

    Alias​​, I with my Canon 5D mark II have much better results than those presented here.

    I think you’re doing something wrong, or else promote something that is not correct, nor reliable.

    So consider that this is a bad review because I have had the opportunity to see the video played by note compared to my machine, and it is wrong.

    I use a Canon 5D mk II with a Canon 24-70 and nothing to do with it .

  • Chris Walsh

    4K really does make nicer, sharper, more detailed 1080. Am going to have to take 4K more seriously than I have.

  • Sam Auger

    Could shooting at f13 play a role in the softness of the 5D video?

  • Peng Tuck Kwok

    Because professional video cameras are SUPER expensive. The video comparison is a bit weird since the lens used wasn’t that great. As you may already know, the glass you slap on the camera does have a substantial say in the final output. There’s really no cost to making cameras do video. You can still have a very expensive camera that doesn’t do video. D4?

  • Darío Saquetti

    What is best in the galaxy phone is the processor. When he shot in Raw, the 5D won every time. The case is 5d compresses the footage in h264 that’s the reason it looks so downgraded. The galaxy phone seems to have a more powerful processor and shots at 4k and holds better the compression. It’s more modern that the 5D in terms of processing. He’s is right when he says 5d has its days counted as a video camera. They need just to upgrade the processor and release a new camera. In no more that 2 years 4k will be the standard definition.Maybe is better to wait a bit more to invest in new cameras and equipments.

  • Richard Lurie

    The article states: “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.”

  • berryz

    I don’t think they implied that “hey, a smartphone is better than your 5D3″, so there’s no need to go on the defensive. If you use a 5D3 to shoot video, then your demands are probably more than what any smartphone can offer, regardless of what a comparison test(with very specific conditions) shows. Don’t worry, your pride should still be intact. :P

  • Robert GreatestDay Walker

    By this logic: why buy a phone to take pictures. It just makes the phones more expensive for is who just want to make calls.

    They CONSIDER video when creating the camera and use the same optics. Might cost a bit more but it’s not a huge add on. The prices of cams before video weren’t that much different.

    Also, it would cost MORE for them to have two production lines running of 2 different models of basically the same cam so the prices of both would go up.

    If you’ve ever taken a vid with your phone then you SHOULD understand why this is a thing.

  • Mojo

    I’m with you on the phone thing. When I was a kid, a cordless phone was $20 and lasted a decade. If I want to take a video, I’ll buy a video camera!

  • Schahid

    People’s ego is hurt real bad here LOL

  • dannybuoy

    Now let’s see a photo comparison. Maybe using an 85mm lens. Oh.

  • Photo Cowboy

    This test can’t even be considered valid because one is shooting at 4k and the other at 1080.

  • AliNoorani

    I admire what Samsung is producing here but that 5D MK III footage is NOT RIGHT.
    My 7D produces much much sharper video at full HD. I tested 5D MK III with 3 Zeiss lenses a few days ago and the sharpness literally blew my mind.

    5D MK III is NOT SOFT dude!

    Either your lens is soft (crappy Sigma) or you’re not in focus or your body is faulty,….
    I am 100% that This Is Not Right.

  • tim

    in the 1st demo video i can see the 5D MK3 video frame rate is smooth then the note 3, see the car moving

  • Jona

    IT IS A PHONE FOR **** SAKE! While after processing can improve the quality of the 5D Mark III video, it is being compared to a phone…… This just blows my mind away! Don’t get too caught up on what the editor did do, or didn’t do. It is a phone for **** sake!

  • TheGloriousEnd

    The Samsung’s footage looks jerky as could be…the detail is nice, but it’s pointless if it looks like a laggy video game..

  • Wuz nt Me

    Come back next week when we race a $500 used car against a $2000 Cannondale carbon road bike.

  • Larry Mockus

    And I bet that Galaxy would still beat 5D3 in low light :D

  • Marco Graziani

    if you are gonna compare smashing vs canon why not use a canon lens as well, why sigma those lenses are kinda fisher priceish

  • Miguel

    This guy gets a lot of money from samsung only because he needs to lie. How in the hell will you get those ugly results with an 5D MK III?? are you serious?? it may be a focusing problem from the sigma lens or you didn’t focus right. But one thing is sure.. you just kissed samsung ass for an amount of money or few benefits. Shame on you.. bastard.

  • VAZE

    And we still using the same gas motors from 100 years ago.

  • Miguel

    It means that you have no ideea how a dslr works and what dslr word means. Amen Amen Samsung right?

  • Chris L

    I think the neutral picture style has ruined the Canon footage. People tend to shoot neutral when they intend to sharpen and colour grade in post-pro

  • Edmond Chung

    Did he note what aperture the 5DMIII was shot at? It makes a huge difference on the DOF…

  • Azety

    i like to troll Canon but this time im going to say 1 thing : this test was made with a very bad lens.
    Erase, replace.

  • Karim Haddad

    In some scenes i see the 5d mark III is out of focus (infinite focus), is that on purpose?

    and for the Samsung galaxy note 3 its focus is infinite, so it will be sharper in all the cases except the macro focus.

    That’s my opinion so take no offence.

  • Spawn666949

    Some people are missing the point. A little cell phone that can match, in this case, out-match a DSLR. Never mind the settings….never mind woulda coulda shouda. You can’t deny the performance and quality of that phone.

  • Pedro Costa

    Kill cellphones

  • Oj0

    And I can outrun a parked F1 car. Never mind the semantics, coulda shoulda woulda, I outran it. The 5D is being artificially crippled here, either cripple the phone to a similar extent or show the best of both.

  • Andy Perry

    Should be using L glass – mediocre results are not surprising from mediocre glass.

    Also, it looks like you just missed your focus point on a few of the shots.

  • analogworm

    Then you’re talking about diffraction, which should affect smaller sensors more than larger ones.

  • Robert GreatestDay Walker

    Lol I was being facetious. My point was that products are amazing and it doesn’t cost extra for the awesomeness they pack in. It’s not a matter of wanting video. More that it’s readily available. Memories are being captured at a record pace because everybody has a camera in their pocket instead of a camcorder in their car.

    This CAN be a bad thing but it’s mostly a good thing. You can’t view this website on a cordless. Why have internet on a phone? The answer is CHOICE!!! You CAN go get JUST a phone or JUST a camera… It might cost slightly less but watch my slides how’s be better than yours. Watch my kids memories be preserved better than yours etc…

    Wireless phones last for years too… If you just wanna make calls. My iPhone 1 works great. So does my hitachi g-1000 but I CHOOSE to get the new hotness. It’s backward thinking to not appreciate the advances of video regardless of format to the point where movies were amazed by can be shot with them. Original Star Wars cams were the size of a minivan and looks like crap….now… But back then it was exploding heads with how awesome it looks.

    People cry too much about stuff that they are in the vast minority about and ultimately doesn’t matter. It’s just an ignorant thought process and they aren’t counting the costs.

  • analogworm

    yeah, the h264 compression on canon does substantially soften the image. And in raw the images indeed look way better. Also he mentioned he fiddled with the canon video to make it look like the galaxy S.
    Im wondering how much that has affected the image.

  • analogworm

    yeah, that’s kinda the thing ey, If you play it right you can customize and get beautiful results.

  • Natty

    It doesn’t help that you’re using a cheap lens on an expensive dslr body. It makes the quality much worse.

  • Simon Jennings

    Pointless comparisons as usual! A Note is never going to be used on a decent shoot so why bother??

  • Josh McDarris

    Yep 4K scaled down is almost always going to look sharper/richer. The moire, rolling shutter, jello and motion blur is going to be worse on the phone though. The difference in motion blur really stood out to me in the video.

  • Joe Pepersack

    OK, so you’re taking a phone and comparing it to a SLR in the only situations where it can possibly compare. High ISO? no comparison. Telephoto? no comparison. Focus pulling? no comparison. Image stabilization? no comparison.

    The only useful thing he said is that the 5DIII is nearing the end of it’s useful life as a video camera. Well, duh. The 5DIII was released 1st quarter 2012, and Canon has been consistently updating the 5D line every 3 years, so just based on past history the 5DIV should be announced before the year is out.

  • Mojo

    I see your point.