For budding moviemakers who want to shoot cinema-quality 1080p video, the Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR camera is a favorite. It's a lot less expensive (starting at around US$2,400 for the body alone) than a Red Epic-M (rock-bottom price of about $43,000). Now Robino Films is showing that the 1080p, 30-frame-per-second video capabilities of the iPhone 4S might be a new and really inexpensive low-end video camera for the next Stanley Kubrick.
The filmmakers took a Canon 5D Mark II and an iPhone 4S, mounted them on a rig for simultaneous shooting and then put the resulting video side by side for your viewing pleasure. They made sure that they were matching the exposure, shutter speed, frame rate (30 fps) and picture style as much as possible.
The results are spectacular, at least for the iPhone 4S. The image is a bit warmer than what you see with the Canon footage, and of course you have no way to change lenses on the iPhone 4S (well, you do have those fun lenses from Photojojo...), but it's a remarkable example of just how good the video capabilities of the 4S really are.
Bumping the video up to full-screen on a 27" iMac, I could see the difference between the 21.1 Megapixel sensor on the Canon versus the 8 Megapixel sensor on the iPhone 4S -- some details seemed a bit fuzzy on the iPhone footage. Also, the rolling shutter of the iPhone 4S causes the digital billboards in the Los Angeles footage to have scrolling black lines on it. For those of us who just want to shoot some amazing vacation footage without carrying around a bag full of equipment, the iPhone 4S can't be beat.