Photo shootout: cellphone vs. $5,000 camera

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Suarez, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    I know this isn't useful in any sense. Just (hopefully) amusing

    Huawei Honor Note 10 (~$350)
    Nikon D700 w/ Nikkor 105mm AF f/2.8 (~$500)
    Nikon D850 w/ Nikkor 105mm AF-S f/2.8G VR (~$4,900)

    I would not be at all surprised if some prefer the cell phone shot. De gustibus non disputandum est ;-)

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    Tuco, TypeCoin971793, Andres2 and 9 others like this.
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Other than the color being a little funky with the phone (quick edit should fix it), I don't think that you're getting $4,700 more photo look or quality with the D850.

    Below is a quick pic with my very old iPhone 6S. Resolution isn't fantastic, but I don't expect to blow this up to 18x30 or whatever.
  4. RichardT

    RichardT Active Member

    That's a very nice shade of gold in your second picture. Can I ask what you were originally using for the background? It looks like you've removed it.
    panzerman likes this.
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..hmm...i don't see 4700 $ worth of difference
    Inspector43 likes this.
  6. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

    I can't judge the monetary value, but the last photos do show a much higher resolution and oddly a better depth of focus on the coin areas, so much less pixelation effects. This is the type of camera that scientists should have for the tiniest details. If its yours, I admire it as a true scientific tool. Jim
    benhur767 and dougsmit like this.
  7. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    These where taken with a $100 Canon. I think they turned out OK. IMG_0701.JPG IMG_0705.JPG IMG_0709.JPG
    galba68, Johndakerftw and spirityoda like this.
  8. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    I much prefer the details of the Nikon photos way more.
    galba68 and panzerman like this.
  9. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I do railroad photography as another hobby. Trying to get snap shots of fast moving trains is not so easy with the cell phone cameras. For the trains I use Nikon and Canon SLR's with zoom lenses and high speed settings. But for coins which aren't going anywhere I agree that I can get good enough shots from my cell phone. My avatar is from my cell phone. If I need to really magnify a coin I use an SLR with a macro lens and make a print, then take a picture of the blow up paper print with cell phone. That gives me an image like something taken with a microscope.
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I agree!
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Certainly the amount of cash value added by a photo is open for discussion and many here show they do not care in the least about photos when they don't even turn the coin so it is upright. Some here spend over the price of that camera for a coin while some us a thousand dollar camera to shoot $5 coins. It is not necessary that we agree but I do feel that if you like the phone photo best here, buying a camera would be a waste. Relatively few here will see any difference in the much reduced size results from the two different Nikon models and I am amazed that there actually is a difference favoring the full frame camera over the crop sensor that can be seen in these tiny images.

    I just ordered my first new camera upgrading my previous full frame DSLR Canon but it will not make a difference in the quality of images I will post here since the lenses and camera operator are the same. I hope it will make my new images easier to make but there will be no miracles. I did not need this camera any more than panzerman needed another gold coin. It is my hobby as much as the coins.
  12. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    Yeah, no question about it. As in everything else there's that old rule of diminishing returns which certainly holds true here but you have to understand that if you're doing this as a professional service potential customers are going to wonder whether your gear is up to date.

    Some of my best photos were taken with a first-gen D100 which came out, I think, back in 2002. Oh, and the lighting setup imo matters more than everything else.

    kevin McGonigal likes this.
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I find this to be an absolute truth. It doesn't matter (too much) about your camera setup if the lighting isn't correct for the subject.
  14. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    Two best railroad shots I ever took were from an old Nikon D50 back around 2005. Only 6.1 megapixels and the lens was a 35-135 Nikkor film camera lens. I used to use these two images for a slide presentation (big screen power point) and viewers were quite surprised that they came from what was quickly being labelled as an amateur, enthusiast's camera. For the railroad shots it was the composition of the image which most mattered. The one here is not one of those two, but you get the idea about composition. By the way, I have seen some absolutely marvelous composition techniques used right here when some members display their coins, especially those who use historical props in the images. IMG_0852[2675]SF to SJ Palo Alto Commute.jpg
  15. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    The old saying about how to be a good photographer is "f/8 and be there!" The fact is we do the best we can when we can with what we have. I would love to reshoot many of my photos from the last 50 years with the equipment I have today. That is not likely to happen. The image below was shot with a cheap DSLR and a cheaper lens I happend to have in hand when this Piliated woodpecker landed 10 feet from me. Your camera is better; your lens is better; the force was with me that day.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
    Ed Snible, AncientJoe, PeteB and 7 others like this.
  16. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    This one is leaps and bounds better than the cell phone pics. Definitely $150 better. But the next set are not $4400 better.
    Ajax and dougsmit like this.
  17. Tuco

    Tuco Member

    I'm impressed with all 3 shots Suarez, but 3rd is best. I have to say I'm amazed by all the guys here shooting TrueView quality coin pics. Is there a definitive thread where people discuss the set-ups they are using? Unfortunately, my camera options right now are either an LG G8 phone or this entry level Fujifilm mirrorless X-A10.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    While the Fuji might not be one I would select, it will outperform any phone unless hampered by what we kindly refer to as 'operator error'. Every time this comes up, someone posts photos showing their definition of 'good enough' image quality. My best cameras never make a photo that I consider to be 'good enough'. I always mess up something.

    The biggest error that affects photo quality (coins or other subjects) is the belief that buying a piece of equipment will solve your problems unless you bother to learn to use the new item. Similarly, buying a coin does not make anyone a numismatist.
    Tuco likes this.
  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Impressive photos. Maybe one day I will buy a dedicated camera for coins. Most of my coin shots are made using a google pixel phone. However, I am upgrading to a Pixel 4 this holiday season as my original phone is now 2.5 years old.
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