iPhone 7 Plus vs. Sony a7 Mk II [Photo Fight]

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Sony a7 Mk II [Photo Fight]

November 18, 2016 17:43 EST • Alexandre Vallières-Lagacé • 6 minutes read

You probably heard it a hundred times already, mobile phone camera are getting so good that they can be somebody’s only camera and their quality is so good it even beats “real” cameras. Well, here is a little competition between an iPhone 7 Plus and a mirroless dSLR, the Sony A7 II with a 24-70mm f/4 lens.

The Contestants

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus

This year’s larger iPhone equipped with its 28mm f/1.8 and 56mm f/2.8 dual camera system. Capable of shooting sharp imagery and even a software portrait mode using the 56mm lens.

Sony A7 II

Sony A7 II with 24-70mm f/4

The second generation Sony A7 camera, a mirroless camera equipped with the Sony 24-70mm lens capable of a 4.0 aperture.

Both devices have Sony sensors, by the way. This will be fun.

warning: The images below are quite big (average of 2MB each) and the total size of the page is around 65 MB. The images will load when you scroll near them so if you're on LTE and your plan is not generous, you might want to come back when on Wi-Fi.

The Challenge Definition

I took a bunch of pictures with it devices using the same focal length, either 28mm or 56mm. Sadly, I did not have a f/1.8 28mm lens around so this is not a scientific test that compares two lenses in perfect conditions.

This is a “real-life” test to see how they perform under the same conditions. Apart from the focal length I did not change the ISO or aperture to let both cameras do their magic.

You will see both pictures with a slider to show/hide each photo in a before/after fashion. I tried to minimize my actions on the photo, so I did indeed have to crop them to they would fit centered, but I left the compression very high so it is not affecting the pixels and sharpness of the photos.

The Challenges

Let’s start the challenge! As the caption shows, the left picture will be the one taken with the iPhone 7 Plus and the one on the right, with the Sony A7 II. You can use the handle to slide back and forth to reveal both pictures.

Outdoor Wide Shot

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Portrait Mode Moving Subject

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Direct Sunlight

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Shadow Portrait Mode with Overexposed Back

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Shadow Portrait Mode

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Overexposed in Shadows

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Lateral Sun

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Outdoor, Shadows with Sky

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Indoor, Bad Lighting Shot

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Indoor, Bad Lighting Portrait Mode

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Indoor, Good Lighting Shot

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

Indoor, Good Lighting Portrait Mode

iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II
iPhone 7 Plus Sony A7 II

The Results

As you can see, they vary quite a lot. In some situations, the iPhone is clearly the winner with greater contrast, even exposition, but sometimes it’s the Sony dSLR. These cameras are now very relying on software optimizations to make the best out of the subject photographed and it shows.

The HDR in the iPhone has gotten way better over the years and some of these shots clearly show it. In low-light conditions, though, the Sony is the clear winner with a lot less noise and photos that are much sharper. With these results I’m still baffled that a camera in my pocket, for around 1000$, can get so close to a 3000$ camera+lens kit.

Imagine what the iPhone 10 will be able to achieve!

iPhone or dSLR?

This is the ultimate question! The iPhone is always with you, in your pocket and for many this is the best camera. For others, the ability to change the lens is so much more powerful that until the iPhone has 4-5 lenses on the back, they can’t switch. I’m more of a photography enthusiast and will try to get the best shot with my iPhone when I have it on hand, while also making plans to bring my big equipment for other situations where I love to control all of the settings using physical nobs.

I think we should simply embrace the technological advances in both cameras and just take great pictures!!

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