iPhone Camera VS Standalone Camera?

Hi All,

I've been looking at cameras since my old Nikon finally bit the dust, and while doing research on them I was quickly overwhelmed to say the least. Specs and price are all over the place, and I'll admit that I'm not very savvy here. I have an iPhone 6s and my wife has an iPhone 7 so I was wondering how those stack up to cameras/camcorders? I assume audio could be an issue?

I'm not looking for something overly fancy that's used for full film production. I rely heavily on my creativity so I just want a camera that does well for YouTube skits. We're talking like 5 min or so tops per video, but I don't want to be tethered to an indoor only environment either. I would appreciate any recommendations here!


  • So the iphone 6s and i think 7 both shoot 4k. So even if you dont need it i'd suggest shooting in that mode. If you were to buy a dslr camera it would be very expensive. One thing people dont understand (myself sometimes included) is that you dont need a super crazy 8k camera with a $4000 gimbal. What it really comes down to is the acting writing and stuff like that so I'd suggest use your phone for now and if you see problems or think its time to upgrade then do. Hopefully this was helpful and I'd love to hear if this works out for you!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Shooting with any phone presents a few challenges. First, you have one and only one focal length. Second, any phone is going to shoot variable frame rate footage. While Hitfilm 2017 in theory can deal with VFR footage, in practice it doesn't always work that well--as an example, I shot 4th of July footage on my phone at "29.97" fps. But the variable frame rate had some clips dipping under 20 fps, which Hitfilm then interpreted as 24 fps. With phone footage you're still better off transcoding before input, which takes more time and drive space.

    Now, for family Youtube skits, like Karsten says, you don't need a fancy 8K cam and gimbal--there are a lot of point and shoots under $500 that will give you some zoom range to vary your shots and a constant frame rate capture to ease editing. At the high end of this price range in Panasonic's new Fz-80, which has a 20-1200mm zoom (from full wide to filling the entire screen with the moon) and 4k recording for $399. Although I don't remember if this camera has an external mic port.

    You can get external mics for phones. Many point and shoots have ports as well.

    Camera tech advances so quickly you should be able to find something that suits your needs for $100-$300 dollars if you're willing to stay at 1080p resolution, or $300-$700 is you have to go 4k.

    I've ignored Go-Pro, which will get you 4k and a mic port, but limit you to a very wide fisheye.

  • @Triem23 I had the same thought about the gopro and the fisheye, but isnt there an effect in Hitfilm that can sort this out?

  • HitFilm can make the footagr rectilinear, but you're still stuck with a crazy wide lens on a GoPro or Yi unless you retrofit it with another lens mount, using a kit like Backbone's.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    For the under $500 range these days I recommend looking at the Panasonic FZ80. $400 for 4K and an insane zoom range--although with that I'm thinking you might also shoot stills and enjoy animal life. Ridiculous zooms are great for that. 

  • edited December 2017

    So, if you're wondering which gimbal to buy, here are the best gimbals for iPhone to shoot stabilized videos: https://www.howtoisolve.com/best-gimbals-iphone/

  • I cast my vote for this one...

    "What it really comes down to is the acting writing and stuff like that so I'd suggest use your phone for now and if you see problems or think its time to upgrade then do."

    My guess is that for the majority of viewers, "acting, writing and stuff" will have a lot more impact upon their experience than video technology.

    As example, the next time you watch a movie on streaming, observe the barrage of fancy company video logos which is typically at the very beginning.  Who cares about that?  Well ok, we do.  But who else?  Not many I suspect.

    I'm an avid philosophy blowhard, and a budding video nerd.  I was thinking of making some philosophy cartoons, which would presumably be more interesting than just the usual pile of text.  I can do the philosophy and video tech well enough, so it seemed like a cool idea, but...

    ...then I realized I don't know @#$% about script writing, which would really be the heart of it.  You know, converting long form speeches in to short form dialog. 

  • Get the app  filmic pro, you can shoot in raw (log?) with the iPhone 7, and colour grade to you hearts content. Take a look at film riot’s videos about shooting with an iPhone, you’ll be pleasantly suprised at the quality even from an iPhone 4. With filmic pro, you’ll have access to rack pull focus, and a few other options not available with the built in Apple video software.

    I’m in the same position as the OP, although I can’t justify the cost of a camera (I can borrow one though now and again). I’m stuck with an iPhone 5s (so can’t shoot raw), and I’ll probably shoot with that and my iPad Air 2, flip camera, and bebop 1 drone.

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