Last month, during the high season for holiday parties, I went to the Omni Barton Creek Resort. It’s a really nice hotel located in the affluent western suburbs of Austin. I had a great time with my wife and meeting friends, though my once yearly suit-wearing was decidedly uncomfortable. Of course, I was also doing photography tests because my mind never drifts too far from photography.
I’ve played with and extolled the virtues of the Fujifilm XQ1, which I called the ultimate party camera. It’s my latest camera that I recently purchased from a friend. This compact enthusiast camera fits well in a suit pocket and has the awesome flash and ambient light blending technology. So how does the newest iPhone 11 stack up against the Fuji?
Very well, actually. Surprisingly so. The new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro night mode is a game-changer. I’ve mentioned in my newsletter and maybe on the blog, that for 99% of the people, the iPhone 11 will make better pictures than with any other camera. If you have the top 1% of photographic expertise, perhaps a more sophisticated camera will yield better images. But, it takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of work.
I’ve compared the iPhone 11 vs my other cameras before, at the Driskill Hotel Christmas Tree. The iPhone did great, though my family thought my other cameras yielded better images. But, for today’s quick test, I’m testing a 2013 vintage enthusiast camera against the newest smartphone technology.
In all honesty, I think the iPhone 11 produced a better image than the Fuji XQ1. Keep in mind that I have a lot more photographic expertise than most people. I shot the XQ1 to optimize image quality. I post-processed the RAW image using Capture One, a professional image processing software. Then, I did AI-based noise reduction using Topaz Software. Yet a simple snap from the iPhone 11 yielded a better picture. I did slightly alter the iPhone image to match the colors, but that’s about it.
Quite amazing, really. Sure, If I used my larger cameras with a bigger sensor, I can still make a high-quality photograph. I can also use a tripod to make the image at the lowest ISO. But, in a real-world, hand-held test of compact cameras, the iPhone has bested a 2013 enthusiast camera.
The bottom line is that, for most people, their most recent iPhone will make spectacular images in even tough conditions. It’s truly extraordinary how the latest sensor and AI technologies have leveled the playing field.
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