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

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid X' started by RolandDeschain, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. RolandDeschain
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    RolandDeschain New Member

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    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: Jun 29, 2010
  2. funwheeldrive
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    funwheeldrive New Member

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    I guess Ill just need to wait and see when I get mine soon.
  3. mcapozzi
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    mcapozzi New Member

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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
  4. Balthazar B
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    Balthazar B New Member

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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.
  5. Erron
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    Erron Developer Developer

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    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.
  6. cpjr
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    cpjr New Member

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    +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 :)
  7. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    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
  8. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    proof :)

    [​IMG]
  9. RolandDeschain
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    RolandDeschain New Member

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    That's what I get for not reading through a long post before posting it. I've edited it, should have correct info now.
  10. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    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

    [​IMG]
  11. Thevaristy
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    Thevaristy New Member

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    I have a Powershot, and a D40. I dont want to carry around my Powershot anymore. I am looking for a phone that can handle my day to day photography. Nothing exceptional, just your everyday snapshot. Some phones can handle this quite well. It certainly seems as though the iphone can do this.

    As far as any conspiracy goes....well perhaps. I do have a hard time thinking all of these websites fudges the results in one way or another. I would probably have an easier time with the idea if I had seen a good shot out of the X....anywhere.....has anyone seen a good shot from it yet?
  12. RolandDeschain
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    RolandDeschain New Member

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    Edited again, missed that part.

    The iPhone 4 does appear to have a better sensor, which is a large part of overall image quality and much of what makes $5,000 cameras cost $5,000.

    I still wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone was doing some quick post-processing in the background after each picture is taken, though ;)


    Thevaristy: I haven't been able to find a full, unedited 8-megapixel pic from the Droid X yet. Just all these crappy, weak photos that are a fraction of the original photo. It's kind of lame.

    Not to mention, if I did want to post biased pics, I could just open them in Photoshop, save them as a low quality JPEG, then re-save it as a higher quality JPEG so the file size looks right, but the detail is still lost. Again, I'm not saying anyone did that, but if someone did you wouldn't know it :)
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  13. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    and a good sensor plays a huge part in ISO values. ISO is basically how sensitive the sensor is to light. the higher the ISO value, the more sensistive to light and the 'brighter' an image will be. with increased ISO values comes more noise, or 'grainy' pics.

    a good sensor can reduce the impact of high ISO values, allowing you to increase ISO values in low light situations will maintaining good image quality. this is why DSLRs are superior to all other cameras; their huge sensors do great in low light high ISO shots.

    take Nikon's D3 for example. this $5k beast is capable of ISO values of 103,200 without breaking a sweat, while a point and shoot looks like garbage at ISO 400
  14. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    and another nice visual. here's a DSLR vs a point and shoot at the same ISO values. a better camera/sensor will take better pictures at high ISO values, allowing you to get better pics in low light

    [​IMG]
  15. aaf709
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    aaf709 Nice Guy Premium Member

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    Even if the iPhone's camera is better, do you really want to go to AT&T just to take better pictures?
  16. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    not at all haha! i just wish motorola would invest the time/research with the camera like other companies do. it'd be nice to finally have a decent camera on my phone :)
  17. nthanh61
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    nthanh61 New Member

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    I don't know much about camera but I can confirm to you about the ISO speed. I checked on my Droid X and it's on "Auto", but it has choices for 100, 200, 400 & 800.
    By the way where should I leave it for best quality picture? Also the Droid X definitely take better pictures than the Droid. I am using both right now.
  18. RolandDeschain
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    RolandDeschain New Member

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    Lowest ISO = best quality. (ISO 100 in this case) You may need to increase it in low light conditions or when taking pictures of quickly-moving objects, though.

    If you have a Droid X on hand - could you possibly take some pics at full 8 megapixel resolution, at all four ISO settings, and post the full-res versions for us to see? I'd greatly appreciate it! :)
  19. jcardona1
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    jcardona1 New Member

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    yeah, the lower the ISO the better quality pics. as stated above, you may want to bump this up in low light. let's see some pics!
  20. nthanh61
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    nthanh61 New Member

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    This was taken with Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800 ISO in that order. I am no photographer, so I hope I do justice to the Droid X.
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