Phone vs. Camera –
a showdown in our studio.

Goliath Productions

11 February 2024

Choosing what's right for you.

Let's get this out of the way, not everyone can afford a photographer and a model and a studio to hire, honestly some of us have to make-do with what we can afford and the resources we have. But never fear, this isn't always a bad thing – in fact, creativity often shines within limitations. Finding solutions to problems often yields unique results – and if creativity is built on one thing – it's uniqueness! 

But sometimes we want and perhaps even need to go above and beyond – whether it's to scratch that creative itch, or manage a project bound with resource limitations. So we felt this begged the question – how does our studio stack up to through the lens of both an amateur and professional camera? Can two very different creators walk in and still achieve not just useable, but worthwhile results?

The answer is: kind of. If you're like me, you like quick answers, so here's the short answer and you can read more in depth below if you like – they both produce solid but different results that can be equally as powerful on different platforms to different audiences.

Nerd time – the equipment we used.

We literally pulled an iPhone 14 from our pocket and found an old Canon 5D Mark III from the backroom using a Sigma 50mm f1.4mm lens. Okay sure, that's not to say the iPhone wasn't the latest one and the Canon 5D still doesn't fetch a decent price – but for the most part, these are fairly common tools that most people in the photography/marketing space will have access to. 

To be fair, we're not trying to make a potato look good here – yes, we wanted to contrast a lower budget photo shoot against a professional camera, but ultimately, if you're hiring a studio for a photoshoot, the least you can do is get a smart phone with a decent camera. 

Easiest way to shoot this thing.

We ummed and ahhed for a while about how we'd shoot this – should we have one person manning a camera and one manning a phone, or should we break the day into two parts, each dedicated to a specific style of shooting. But we felt kind of lazy that day, so we just shot both at the same time – a few clicks with the camera and a few clicks with the phone. 

Dual wielding wasn't so bad, especially with something as small as a phone. The Influencer Session we offer through our studio also makes things ahellofalot easier since it includes pre-lit and styled spaces, but also a bunch of phone accessories like tripods, microphones, gimbals and effect prisms which are ridiculously fun to shoot with to get those trippy in-camera effects.

Pro-tip: you can also use the prisms to split a light beam to get that kind of rainbow effect which is also pretty sick. You can see how we used that beam splitting effect on the back wall in the setup below – it wasn't heavy handed, but it for sure added a cool element to the scene.

Noticeable differences between the two.

Okay so obviously they are different. This was never about getting them to match – although there are videos online that show how you can get a smart phone to match a camera and these are crazy great. But that wasn't our mission. We wanted to see if you could shoot in our studio with a phone or a camera and walk away with something useable. Conclusion: hell yeah you can. 

Okay so the first thing we noticed is the lack of depth of field. We're fans of DOF, look at any of our work and you'll see we can't get enough of it – and before you say it, yes the iPhone has DOF. But it's simulated and sometimes – let's be real – it doesn't work that great. So we said said "screw it", let's lean into the wide angle camera and really get some stylised shots. And honestly, it looks sick. The styled set is doing a lot of heavy lifting, sure – but that's the point of our studio! Cool spaces to take you places (why isn't this our slogan?). Anyway, the iPhone absolutely over-processes the image and the colours are different from the pro camera, but with a little Lightroom tweaking, the colours were relatively easy to match. If you were on a budget and needed to capture some clothing items for a client for there socials, this would absolutely be a train worth riding. 

The Canon 5D Mark III as always is buttery smooth, especially paired with that Sigma 50mm at f1.4 and in true Canon canon (ayy), the colours are on point. This is totally the route you'd want to take if you were shooting editorial, but stack your best five snaps from the Canon and best five from the iPhone in an Instagram post – and watch the love double tap in. I doubt the everyday user would even bat an eye. 

Canon 5D
iPhone 14
Everything is more important than the camera.

Shock horror – if you point a professional camera at a white wall, you're going to get boring shot. Same goes with a smart phone. Styling, lighting, talent and direction is 90% of your shoot – the camera you use is important, sure – but it's not everything. And that's what we've genuinely tried to make more accessible to creators here at our studio.

Between hiring a studio space, a set designer with a prop budget, talent, a makeup artist, lighting and an assistant – creative shoots are damn expensive man! We struggled for years (and still struggle) to bring creative projects to life because they can sometimes be so expensive. But to create a unique, affordable studio that that reduces some of those major expenses, where rookies and professionals alike can walk in and shoot in reaady-to-go spaces – sounded like an absolute dream. To us anyway.  

Canon 5D
iPhone 14
Our studio is literally made for this kind of thing.

We've mentioned in passing our Creator Sessions a couple times in this post, so what the hell are these. Well if you scroll down and click, all the information is there buuut for those who don't want the hassle of a scroll and button click – our Creator Sessions are essentially standard studio hire sessions on steroids (in a good/legal way). Every studio hire includes sets, props and studio equipment but our Creator Sessions include professionally pre-lit and setup spaces, phone accessories and our Pro-Creator Session even includes an assistant equipment with camera and audio gear to help more business-centric creators capture content. 

So check that out if you want to level up your shoot even further.