© 2012 Carlos Moran

Muddy Branch in an iPhone v DSLR casual comparison

After this post I will retire the Muddy Branch as a subject of posts for a long while  (I promise). I think trips to DC will be the next repeating subject for the blog. This post is a consequence of my previous post where I took a 3d panaroma of the Muddy Branch and in fact discover that it was an affluent to the Potomac.

Here are the pics which include shots close to the water.  The water shots are the most interesting to me in that they show the river in motion.

Close to the water

It was raining when I took the pictures and for that reason some pics have a bright spot on the upper left or upper right corner.  I left the drops there as they couldn’t really be avoided without a lens hood*.  Which reminds me, I should get on Amazon and fix that soon.

As I said before, I took these pictures after I had done the 3d panorama simply because I wondered – the iPhone pics looks pretty good.  Would my DSLR have fared much better in this situation?  Would I get an even better rendering of colors? Would I take better shots naturally? Will contrast be enhanced simply because I have so much control over exposure with a DSLR?

In order to answer all those questions I brought out my camera and took one picture with the exposure I wanted then I left the settings the same throughout.  The first picture is below.

the first pic..

I left the settings to be slightly overexposed.  I wasn’t planning on shooting in RAW but I probably will on other picture trips.  Anyway, the only parameter that I changed after that first shot was the focal length.  I wanted a variety of wide shots and narrower shots but not really any close-ups.  There was one very practical reason to set my settings in Manual mode and then leave them alone: its that my camera isn’t weather sealed (like the 7D that’s on my wishlist) and it was raining and I don’t want to replace my camera just because of a casual trip.  So I wrapped it in the first plastic bag I could find blocked even the view finder only leaving the lens exposed.  This way I would take the pictures and not check them instantly but wait until later.  Reminded me of the film days when you had to trust your instincts and camera’s meter readings when you took the pictures.

Overall it was fun and I was very satisfied with the results.  There were a variety of angles that I could achieve and in the end I still felt more creative with a DSLR (wrapped in plastic) than with the iPhone.  The water shots, if you are curious, were taken from the waters edge seen here in the bottom-center of the picture:

water shots were taken close to the underside of the bridge

Some interesting features of the swirling Muddy Branch waters are seen below.

close to the water's edge

And a bunch of fun angles took place:

In the end, the DSLR still does it best.  I like the color renderings far more although the iPhone seems perfectly apt for this kind of shot providing the deep contrasts that were in the scene it also has that slightly violet bias in the photo which is less true to the scene that the DSLR was.  Obviously its metering will be less than perfect and the sky appears overexposed on the iPhone.  I’m definitely not complaining as it provided a feature far beyond what a regular DSLR can do with its panorama apps.  The point I guess is that my good old entry level DSLR is still very relevant now and may happily provide great shots for a long time to come.

iphone v DSLR

The wide angle shots and the rest of the gallery is below.

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