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Thread: Are any of the Droid X/iPhone 4 camera photo comparisons legit?

  1. Senior Droid
    RolandDeschain's Avatar
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    Question Are any of the Droid X/iPhone 4 camera photo comparisons legit?

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Honestly. When I took a quick glance at the Is the Droid X camera really this bad thread, I conceded based on the visual evidence in the links throughout that thread that the iPhone 4 seemed to have a better camera overall.

    Then I wondered: were the tests fair? It's easy to find out.

    I saved the highest resolution photos (the original photos, in other words) from the sites with their own photos in that thread as well as a few others comparing the iPhone 4 and Droid X cameras, and the results were, to say the least, "interesting". (by the way, for those that don't know, Exif data is the data your camera puts on the image that lists all the settings of the camera at the time the picture was taken)


    1st site from the other thread: iPhone 4 Camera Against the World - a set on Flickr

    I saved the full-size versions of the first two photos on there. Both had virtually all Exif data stripped, and the only things on there for both photos were dimensions, DPI and bit depth. So we can't tell what bias exists, if any. The file sizes were very similar (124KB for X, 117KB for iPhone) and the aforementioned settings were the same. (375X500 pixels for X, 374X500 pixels for iPhone)


    2nd site from the other thread: Still Image Capture, iPhone 4 v. DROID X (Updated) Boy Genius Report

    I saved the full-size versions of the first two photos on there, the tomatoes, (also note they took 6 megapixel photos with the X instead of the full 8 megapixel size it's capable of, may mean nothing, may mean something) and they are taken at different aspect ratios. The Exif data remains intact here, which is good. The X pic is 641X361 pixels and the iPhone pic is 641X479. The ISO speed on the X is 100, and the ISO speed on the iPhone is 80. The lower the ISO speed, the higher quality a picture is because it literally spends more time taking the picture, allowing less light in. Evidence of this is the exposure time on the X (1/569th of a second) compared to the exposure time on the iPhone. (1/464th of a second) I don't know if the Droid X supports shooting at 80 ISO speed or not. If it doesn't, then it's not entirely unfair to compare the iPhone's 80 ISO speed against the X's 100 because they'd be both operating at the best quality (lowest ISO) they're capable of.


    3rd photo comparison, which I found on Google: iPhone 4 vs. Droid X: A Head-to-Head Comparison - PCWorld

    Again, I saved the first comparison images (full size) and checked out the Exif data, which is intact. The dimensions are nearly identical (1200X900 on X, 1200X896 on iPhone) and here, we have another ISO discrepancy, though a rather small one. The ISO speed on the X is 105, while the ISO speed on the iPhone is 100. Both were exposure times of 1/120th of a second. This tells us the iPhone was given an advantage here; no way to know if it was intentional by the PC World reviewer(s) or not, though. Either way, since the iPhone wasn't running at ISO 80, they both should have been at 100 to be fair. Definitely suspicious.


    4th photo comparison, also found on Google: iPhone 4 vs. Motorola DROID X – 5MP vs 8MP camera photo samples

    Again, I saved the first comparison images at full size and took a look at the Exif data. Dimensions are 639X480 on the X and 641X479 on the iPhone. Here, things are rather suspicious. The Exif data has been stripped from the Droid X photo, but it remains intact on the iPhone photo. The iPhone photo has an exposure time of 1/2742nd of a second which suggests VERY bright lighting conditions, and it has an ISO speed of 80. Talk about a worthless comparison; when you can't verify if testing conditions were fair or bias, it's not much of a test. I'm not outright accusing Daily Mobile of Apple bias, but I'm definitely accusing them of shoddy-at-best "testing practices". Oh, did I forget to mention that the Droid X pic size is 101KB and the iPhone's is 321KB? Whoops. They're both JPEG images and the file sizes should be very similar; less than a 10% discrepancy, since their pixel dimensions are virtually identical. Yet we have a discrepancy of a little more than 300% here. This is more biased than 1939 radio broadcasts in Germany. Shame on you, Daily Mobile.


    Next up, our final contender, also found on Google: iPhone 4 5MP Cam v. Droid X 8MP – A Comparison | ProgrammerFish

    Well, I really WANTED to look at the Exif data, but once again it has been stripped on both images. The X's dimensions are 640X478 and the iPhone's are 640X360. Different aspect ratios. The file sizes vary somewhat because of the different aspect ratios, the X is 121KB and the iPhone's is 67.6KB. This seems like too large of a discrepancy, the iPhone's size is 56% of the X's, yet it's only got about 1/3rd fewer pixels. It should be somewhere around 80KB in size. It's possible this review is biased and in favor of the Droid X; or it could be ignorance on the part of the reviewer. I'm leaning towards the former.



    For the camera geeks here, the Droid X camera uses an f-stop of 2.8 and the iPhone 4's camera uses an f-stop of 2.5. (assuming the photos that have Exif data are correct) For the laymen, this means the iPhone is a 3rd of a stop down from the Droid X. The iPhone camera lens lets in less light; which means that, if all other settings are the exactly the same, it should take a slightly lower-quality photo. This also means that the Droid X requires more time to take a photo, which theoretically translates to the iPhone *POSSIBLY* having better photos of things in motion or better photos in low light. There are many other factors that go into this, and I'm not claiming that the iPhone has the aforementioned advantages. Can anyone confirm that the Droid X cannot go below 100 ISO speed? It doesn't say in the manual.

    The entire point of this long post is that I haven't seen a fair photo comparison yet. (at least, not one that I can 'prove' is fair) I'd like to see one if anyone sees this that has their hands on a Droid X and an iPhone 4; or if someone finds another review on the internet that looks fair. Particularly at higher ISO speeds like 200 and 400, which one would need for moving objects that aren't moving slowly, sporting events or low-light conditions.
    Last edited by RolandDeschain; 06-29-2010 at 11:36 AM.
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  3. Senior Droid
    funwheeldrive's Avatar
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    I guess Ill just need to wait and see when I get mine soon.
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    I personally would never trust an image quality test from anyone who isn't a professional photographer. You can't just sit there and snap a couple pics with "auto" settings and expect to be able to do a fair and honest review.

    Even IF the quality of the CCD and lens is better on the iPhone, I'd still prefer the camera with more mega-pixels because the cameras lack optical zoom, therefore I would have to rely on cropping and interpolation (otherwise known as digital zoom) if I wanted to get any detail in the photo from beyond 10 yards.

    -Mike
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    Balthazar B's Avatar
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    Comparison photos are fine and all, but except in carefully controlled conditions there are too many variables to draw much of a conclusion. I'd like to see a couple of things:

    1) Set up a controlled test such as is used at Digital Photography Review (www.dpreview.com) that measures a number of things, including optics, CCD, etc.

    2) Show me a large portfolio of images taken with the DX encompassing a wide range of situations, by someone who knows photography (lighting, composition, etc.), and I want to see their commentary on it. None of the few DX images I've seen online tells me much of anything about the camera or its advantages and deficiencies.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Moto didn't put enough effort into making the DX a first-rate photographic tool (nor would it surprise me if Samsung did with the Galaxy S) by partnering with top notch CCD, lens, and shutter manufacturers, but show me the maximum of what the DX *can* do.
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    Erron's Avatar
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    #5
    Eh, chances are the iphone4 may be a little better. Who cares, really. It's a phone. Nobody is taking pro photos with a phone.

    If you buy a phone just for the camera, save the money and spend it on a powershot point and shoot.
  7. Droid Ninja
    cpjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erron View Post
    Eh, chances are the iphone4 may be a little better. Who cares, really. It's a phone. Nobody is taking pro photos with a phone.

    If you buy a phone just for the camera, save the money and spend it on a powershot point and shoot.
    +1

    And anyone who uses their phone for taking pics isnt going to complain about the minor differences between devices. (or at least shouldnt)

    I use my Nikon D80 SLR when the pics are important
  8. Droid Ninja
    jcardona1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RolandDeschain View Post
    For the camera geeks here, the Droid X camera uses an f-stop of 2.8 and the iPhone 4's camera uses an f-stop of 2.5. (assuming the photos that have Exif data are correct) For the laymen, this means the iPhone is a 3rd of a stop down from the Droid X. The iPhone camera lens lets in less light; which means that, if all other settings are the exactly the same, it will take a slightly higher-quality photo. This also means that it requires more time to take a photo than the Droid X, which translates to the Droid X *POSSIBLY* having better photos of things in motion or better photos in low light.
    no, you got it backwards. if the figures of f/2.8 for the droid and f/2.5 for the iphone are correct, then the iphone has a faster lens and lets in more light, not the other way around.

    a smaller f-number translates into a bigger aperture which means more light which means faster shutter speeds and sharper pictures with less motion blur. the larger the f-number, the smaller the aperture and the less light gets in, giving you a slower shutter speed and possibly blurry pictures.

    as it stands, the iphone has a superior lens. the droid's f/2.8 lens is slower than the iphones. and a note about the ISO settings. i dont know about the camera settings, but maybe they had the ISO set to auto? the camera then picks whatever ISO value it deems appropriate for a correct exposure. so the difference in ISO values may not be intentional, it could have been picked automatically by the camera
  9. Droid Ninja
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    #8
    proof

  10. Senior Droid
    RolandDeschain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcardona1 View Post
    proof
    That's what I get for not reading through a long post before posting it. I've edited it, should have correct info now.
  11. Droid Ninja
    jcardona1's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RolandDeschain View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jcardona1 View Post
    proof
    That's what I get for not reading through a long post before posting it. I've edited it, should have correct info now.
    lol no worries. although in your original post it still says "The iPhone camera lens lets in more light; which means that, if all other settings are the exactly the same, it should take a slightly lower-quality photo."

    this isnt correct. a faster lens should technically allow you to take a better pic, since you can use faster shutter speeds. this is why pros always use fixed aperture lenses, like a 70-200mm f/2.8 which costs about $2k as opposed to a variable aperture lens like a 55-200mm f/3.5-5.6 which costs $150.

    here's some more discussion i found. gets pretty technical, beyond my understandings lol. basically it seems as though the iphone camera has a great sensor, which is mainly what is repsonsible for great pictures.

    take a look at this one. wow!

    iPhone 4 main camera - PentaxForums.com

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