Mishka's Studio - A comparison of two cameras


Hi All,


This month I am comparing two cameras that I use. One is my Nikon D750 full frame with a nice portrait 75mm lens and my newest Samsung galaxy S8, which I will compare against the more expensive camera

So first up is the Nikon, which is a rather expensive but very good camera that works very well for these photo shoots. I also use a very good tripod setup, which helps for getting great focus - and it works very well.

The main negative is the weight and mostly manual settings I need to use to get great results most of the time. Consistency is key, and the camera really performs once the settings are known (White balance, exposure and F-stop)

Now the samsung is not cheap (~$800) but is a cell phone first and foremost with a good camera as well. So the camera can be seen online and it's reviews do not let one down, as it appears to be as good as many expensive DSLR's

So in my hands, how do these compare? I decided to shoot outdoors and use both on auto mode to make it fair. Both were used hand held, and no tripod or assist not did I use any external lighting except fo the sun.


Click on image for full size and gallery

So for the first pic from the Nikon. I like the result as it's nice and has good contrast. Details are superb but may be a bit under and over exposed. Since this is a raw image, I could have easily fixed this, but left it here. No correction was done besides convert to jpg.

In reality, this picture is somewhat overexposed as well as seen on the rocks and this is evident due to the high levels of light and darker areas of shade, and a very difficult shot to nail right on. In manual mode, I would have taken two shots taken with different shutter speeds and combined to generate a more linear in range pic, but it's still very good.



Now for the underdog. This pic is probably on par if not better than the fullframe. First, the linearity is better. Highs are not exposed as seen on the most of the rocks, that the Nikon had trouble with. And the darker greens were more in the linear range, and this too was under exposed with the Nikon. So in this regard, the cellphone wins in this context. In the 100% details, I could tell the slight grain in the Samsung pic in the leaves but very little in reality, and the Nikon has no grain, and for this part, the Nikon wins for that part. 

Score- Slight win for the Samsung S8



Next, we look at Jasmyn (JM doll) in the outdoors. First up is the Nikon. I like the depth of field, but that was unintentional, and as a result I found her to be slightly out of focus, and that's a fail and that pic would have to be reshot at a higher F-stop. Much of the foreground grass (also over exposed) and rocks were not in focus either, so this is barely acceptable for me, but like many photoshoots, I take many pics of her and try different settings to make sure I have at least a good outcome. So this is a passable pic for me, but fails on detail and focus, and barely passes on exposure. I could do better with manula settings.


Next we look at the Samsung pic, and I am really liking the exposure,  great details and focus. In reality this pic is pobably better for me as I can easily post in DoF in photoshop, but definitely good. The little rocks and her shoes are really clear as is the background leaves.

Score- Big win for the Samsung S8

So hereyou have seen two examples I found where the Samsung ended up with great pictures. Now let's look at a pic where the Nikon should excel at - outdoors with lots of shadows.


Here the Nikon results in a warmer pic as the white balance was a bit warmer on auto, but I can correct it in post if needed. The depth of field was excellent and I like that. However, the focus was a bit off as a result and only a sliver of her was in focus. This was due to the F2.8 setting, but this is something I would not do in a real photoshoot since I use F2.8 and F16 for both so I will end up with a good focus shot as well. The Samsung DOES a great job in DoF, but it needs one its special shooting modes, but does not achieve quite as good overall DoF as the Nikon despite the S8's software genertaing good depth effects.


Well, color balance was right on for the outdoors on this slightly cloudy day - this is a big plus. Also, focus was perfect and details were right on for this F1.7 little lens. In essence a perfect pic. Not as creative in mood as the Nikon, but suspect the DoF and color balance to make you feel the warmer pic is nicer.

Score- Win for the Samsung S8

So, with these tests, all auto, the Samsung generates perfect shots right out of the box. The Nikon does not, but that's not to say that's how I use it. I shoot in manual mode and always shoot many pics of the same subject to generate a mood and sampling count. Also, in fairness the Nikon can also generate high focused shots, but it needs F16 or a higher F-stop, generally a tripod, and manual color balance than what I used. in auto. Also, for the Samsung, the S8 can be used in full manual and also export in .raw format, but I discovered the Samsung generates excellent pics in auto mode, that can hardly be beaten in manual, and lord I tried. It's much harder to beat a computer at guessing the shot, so I decided to only use auto from now on.

So, I did go on and shoot some indoor shots, and that was where the Nikon had the S8 beat big time. For some reason, the S8 has a hard time metering color balance indoors, and the Nikon has that nailed since I use manual settings for that and custom lighting. In next month's blog, I'll go over those shots in detail.


So for outdoor shots, I can say the Nikon has a match, and this is confirmed on many websites that have done DSLR vs S8 comparisons, with similar outcomes. So the S8 does not win every match, but that just means it's very close. Heck it's just a cell phone right?

I will add that mood and quality of a pic are subjective, but I am only comparing quality (Details, color balance, grain) Special things like DoF, color balance, contrast can be added post and are the effects that generate a mood of a photo.



Here's a few pics from both cameras, and I like how they compliment each other!

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I really like the comparison angel. Your blog has become my favorite. I look forward to your nextyes

That was a great comparison, it´s remarkeable what a very good smartphone can do nowadays. Very interesting. Chris

i used to take two or three cameras to car shows and there was a big difference between the shots. i would take a olympus om10 35mm, a kodak easy share 3.2 mega pix and an RCA 1.5 mega pix. the kodak and RCA were pretty much equal but the 35mm was the best just harder to get film and expensive to develop the film. nice post hope you can give some tips on other cameras as well.


Thanks all, this was a fun one to do. So amazing are these newer cameras that it muddies the difference between tiny and full frame formats now. The new Iphone should really be good as is the newer Pixel from Google. The software is really what drives the cameras to their potential!