Monday, April 11, 2011

Old Digital Camera Vs. Cell Phone: A Periodic Inquiry

The Nikon Coolpix 4500 was my very first digital camera, way back in 2002. It had a cool swivelling design, a 4 megapixel sensor, and a huge range of available accessories. It was one of the most capable non-SLR digital system cameras available.

It's been a while since the 4500 was state-of-the-art, and digital cameras have come a long way. But can this grandpa still compete? Let's see if it can beat the best-selling digital camera out there today: the one on your cell phone.

Nikon Coolpix 4500
  • c. 2002
  • CAD $999
  • 1/1.8" 4 Megapixel CCD sensor
  • 4x zoom lens
Apple iPhone 4
  • c. 2010
  • CAD $659
  • 1/3.2" 5 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • No optical zoom

Line Art
Coolpix 4500
Cell Phone
Interior shot/low light
Coolpix 4500
Cell Phone
Coolpix 4500
Cell Phone
Cat Shot
Coolpix 4500
Cell Phone
Dynamic Range
Coolpix 4500
Cell Phone
The Coolpix images above were saved as in-camera TIF files with auto white balance and auto ISO; the cell phone images are out-of-camera JPGs using the auto HDR setting.

General verdict:  The iPhone's Auto HDR mode helps bring some detail out of highlights that the Coolpix blows out, but the Coolpix images are sharper and cleaner, with better colour.

Winner: Nikon Coolpix 4500.


Anonymous said...

This seems like a fair test! The heck with cell phone cameras.

Don Craig

Dave said...

Seems like the iphone has some serious white balance issues on all but the last shot, where it has good dynamic range but it still looks under-exposed.

I think there's a reason there's so many Holga-ish / toy camera apps for cellphone cameras!

Aaron said...

Good fun.
I too owned, and still do, a 4500. Loved it!
Sure it's slow to focus etc. but it is a very capable camera.
It's the thing that strikes me about all the noise with digital products. Newer, better, faster...blah, blah, blah. Some of the older stuff acquits itself quite nicely in most circumstances.

... said...

Tony, your old digi camera versus cellphone concept is amazing. I wish I thought of it. More PLEASE.

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