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Will a phone ever be anywhere as good as a DSLR?

Having just got a Samsung S23 I did a comparison with my Canon G7X pocket camera

The two are really very close. Thee pics are from 1:1 pixel zoom:

Full pic (Sheffield Park, Sussex, UK)



The G7X will go on Ebay soon…

The S23 pics have less noise, which is amazing. In terms of detail in highlights and shadows the two are similar also. The G7X pics are slightly sharper but only slightly.

They are likely differences in that the G7X offers much more control, especially given the S23’s committee-designed and totally opaque symbol-laden user interface, but for point-and-shoot, the two are as near as dammit the same. The S23 is much better than my previous phone, the S10E.

Obviously my Pentax K1 DSLR

beats these by miles but it is not easy to carry around. Nowadays I use it for airborne shots (and leave it in the plane) or for specially scenic locations which deserve it

What I don’t understand is how this has been achieved, given that the G7X sensor is probably 10x bigger so ~ 3 times the linear dimension. The S23 was used on 3x optical zoom.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If you don’t care about sensor size or optics, then a good phone camera works. But I do notice there is more noise in your S23 picture: look at the window reflection.

The whole selling point of dedicated cameras is sensor size and optics, which will never fit inside a phone. I was initially talked into buying a bridge camera with a small sensor (said to be good enough for airborne pictures) and returned it the next day because of that. Instead I bought a hybrid camera with a 4/3 sensor, which never felt as limiting.

Last Edited by maxbc at 07 Nov 11:30

Yes; the S23 is not as good, but I normally de-noise pics a bit otherwise the jpegs (I output to jpeg and keep those) end up way too big.

Indeed; this was against a pocket camera. The DSLR separate-lens system remains unbeatable. But phones like the S23 Ultra with a 10x optical zoom will further chop down the market for DSLRs.

What surprises me how little progress has been made in pocket cameras like the G7X.

This is used the manual mode (“Pro” mode), with no tweaks

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

This is on an earlier discussion regarding phone camera apps, and various silly limitations whereby e.g. you can get RAW out of one camera (zoom factor) and not another camera (different zoom factor).

There is a program which can tell you what the android API actually offers.


On my new base-model S23 I find that the stupid idiot-limited factory camera does RAW only in the “PRO” mode which is manual exposure only. The ProShot camera app (£7) does basically everything but does not do RAW from the 3x zoom camera – but there is no reason for that, as you can see above under FORMATS.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Yep, AFAIK all digital cameras shot raw, as there is fair amount of processing that really needs to be done via a microprocessor. I.e. it’s not something that is practical or smart to implement within the sensor.
To keep the raw, you just have to keep the input stream that comes off the sensor chip, rather than through it away. The dumb thing in this case is they have already written the code the put the sensor stream in a file…

Last Edited by Ted at 20 Nov 09:54
United Kingdom

I now have it confirmed that Samsung block access to RAW images in their API, for the x3 S23 camera (only)… Stupidity rules

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Off topic, but I have a Panasonic Lumix DC-SZ80. The picture quality at normal zoom settings is no better than my iPhone 12, but it has the huge advantage of x30 optical zoom. So if you want good ultra-telephoto pictures, it is superb. Though these days I rarely bother to carry it, so on the rare occasions when it would be useful, I don’t have it.

LFMD, France
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