arri alexa vs iphone 7 plus

I’m always fascinated with the notion that cinema grade technology is becoming cheaper and more available. I remember attending the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and watching a movie that was shot on MiniDV, on the same camera I owned at home, and realizing that it’s becoming harder to make financial excuses. More than ever, making a movie is about a good story and great execution. Cut to a decade later and everyone has a high definition video camera in their pocket, one that has been used to make acclaimed big screen movies like Tangerine.

But how does the current generation of Apple iPhone camera compare when stacked against the current generation of Hollywood movie digital camera? Potato Jet has created a video comparing the video quality of the Arri Alexa Mini, a camera that has been used to shoot many of the movies playing in cinemas today, against the Apple iPhone 7 plus. You can watch the results below.

Arri Alexa vs iPhone 7 plus

So yeah, of course the cinema-grade digital camera beats the consumer-grade iPhone, but I’m honestly surprised some of the well-lit side-by-side footage doesn’t look that much different. As expected, the quality difference can be clearly seen in the lower light situations. This limitation is something I regularly experience while trying to take photos at night.

Will the iPhone ever replace a cinema grade video camera? Of course not. But it’s interesting to see how far digital video has come in just 10 years. I imagine engineers at Apple are working hard to find ways to improve the iPhone’s low light quality and I hope we’ll see that improve over the next few years. But even right now, the current generation iPhone could be used to capture video for an independent feature film and Sundance audiences wouldn’t even notice it was shot on a smartphone. To me, that is impressive.

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