iPhone 15 Pro vs $100,000 Arri Alexa – Can you see the difference?

Are you a photography enthusiast wondering whether the latest iPhone 15 Pro can really compete with the industry-standard Arri Alexa, worth a whopping $100,000? In this blog, we aim to uncover the truth behind this age-old question: Can you really see the difference? With the rise of smartphone photography and the continuous advancements in camera technology, it has become increasingly difficult to draw a line between high-end professional cameras and cutting-edge smartphone cameras. Join us as we delve into the world of photography and compare the image quality, features, and overall performance of the iPhone 15 Pro and the Arri Alexa, shedding light on whether the iPhone can truly hold its own against the heavyweight champion of professional cameras.

iPhone 15 Pro vs $100,000 Arri Alexa – Can you see the difference?

Introduction

Today we’re going to do the absolute dumbest comparison I’ve ever done in my life – iPhone 15 Pro versus Alexa mini LF. And because it’s so dumb, I decided to clone myself. JK, this is my brother who flew in from Finland just for this stupid comparison. And if even one of you cannot see the difference, I quit. Hold on, let’s find out.

Clear Differences

How many of you saw a clear difference? Could you tell which was which? Let me remind you, this is a $100,000 Arri Alexa mini LF camera package versus an iPhone. Let’s watch through one more time. And I’ll tell you which is which. And do me a favor, count how many you got wrong. Be honest, because I bet you got at least one wrong, which is just insane.

Here is a table comparing the iPhone 15 Pro and the Arri Alexa:

Feature iPhone 15 Pro Arri Alexa
Price Around $1,000 Around $100,000
Sensor Size 1/1.9″ Super 35mm
Resolution 12MP 4.5K
Dynamic Range 12 stops 14 stops
Bit Depth 10-bit 16-bit
Lens Mount Integrated Interchangeable
Recording Format H.264, HEVC ProRes, ARRIRAW

The iPhone 15 Pro is a consumer-grade smartphone that typically costs around $1,000, while the Arri Alexa is a high-end professional cinema camera that costs around $100,000. The Arri Alexa has a larger Super 35mm sensor, higher resolution, greater dynamic range, and higher bit depth than the iPhone 15 Pro. It also has an interchangeable lens mount and can record in professional formats like ProRes and ARRIRAW.

However, the iPhone 15 Pro is more portable and has an integrated lens mount, making it more convenient for everyday use. It records in H.264 and HEVC formats and has a 10-bit bit depth. Overall, the Arri Alexa is a more powerful and versatile camera, but the iPhone 15 Pro offers a more accessible and portable option for casual use

Giveaways

There are obviously some giveaways. For example, the stabilization on the iPhone versus no stabilization on the Arri. And as you’re watching, you can just see how good the Arri’s colors are every single time, without exception.

And of course, I was only using the 1X wide camera on the iPhone, which is the highest quality one.

If we compared the other cameras or focal length, I think it’d be a lot easier to spot the difference. But I don’t think anybody would have said a few years back that you could do a comparison between a $100,000 Arri Alexa mini LF setup to an iPhone that cost like $1,500 or something around there.

The camera technology is just getting so crazy, especially in these smartphones, because we’re kind of the beneficiaries of the battle between all the smartphone companies, trying to one-up each other and make better and better tools.

And right now, cameras have just been the thing that they’ve really been focusing on, as that is one of the things that we use most in our smartphones – the cameras.

Interchangeability

I was going to do this comparison with my brother, but we ran out of time and went to dinner with the families and stuff. And now he’s back in Finland. So, yeah, next time! But go and subscribe to my brother. He’s really, really close to getting to 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. That’s a big milestone.

Accuracy

Let me know how many did you get wrong? How many of these shots fooled you? For me, looking at the footage, I’d say about 50% of it is pretty easy, it’s kind of clear, like “Oh yeah, that’s the iPhone.” That’s Airy. 30% of it, it’s like “I think that’s the iPhone. I’m kind of sure.

I think that’s it.” And then I think about 20% could fool anyone into thinking that it was the Arri footage, especially the shot of my brother on the wood slat wall. I bet any money it’s probably like 50/50 people just guessing if it’s Arri or iPhone. I don’t think it’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely one or the other.” Some of it is really hard to tell. Even Isaac, as he was editing this, had to check back a few times, like, “Wait, was that the Arri or the iPhone?” Which to me is absolutely crazy and probably the coolest part.

I thought this was just going to be like a stupid comparison that, obviously, the Arri is just so much better, which it is. But I didn’t think that you could essentially intercut iPhone footage into Arri footage and people wouldn’t realize.

The fact that it’s not jarring to put iPhone footage along with Arri footage is mind-blowing.

The fact that you could put iPhone footage into a feature film if you wanted to, right now. The fact that a few years ago, nobody would use this as their main camera. And honestly, I think this might be the best beginner camera out there, by kind of a long shot. Just because of how much it gives you in a small package for the price. And everybody needs a phone anyway, so if you’re a filmmaker or a photographer, might as well just get one of these.

This is literally the best bang for buck camera I think that you can get right now. All you got to do is buy a nice microphone and get good audio. You have 24 frames per second, 4K ProRes log, high dynamic range. You have it all right here.

Color Grading

I will say a few of these clips definitely got ruined by the ND filter I was using. I don’t know if it was just like IR pollution, but the blacks on some of the shots were just completely wrecked. They were all like purple and magenta, nasty. So, that was a bit of a giveaway at times. And if you look directly side by side here of the Arri footage and the iPhone, you can clearly see that the Arri is just so much better in every single way. But again, to me, what stands out is that the iPhone is not that bad. It looks better than most APS-C cameras from just a couple of years ago. With an F4 lens, which is kind of weird to say.

Color Science

The thing that you guys wouldn’t have seen is that every single Arri clip was so easy to color grade. The colors are just so good every single time. Whereas the iPhone clips definitely still needed some more work. A few of them were super easy. I’d say the majority of them needed quite a bit of work. And then a few of them were just nightmares. And I think that’s partly because the color science is the best on Arri.

If you want good colors every single time, reliably, consistently, it’s Arri. Now with the iPhone, they’re doing so much computational photography stuff that sometimes it’s going to get it a little bit wrong or it’s not going to be as consistent because they’re doing all this crazy stuff and the results aren’t super consistent every single time. Sometimes the exposure is really messed up and so hard to correct, or sometimes the colors are just so off and they’re really hard to get right because there’s just so much going on. But I will say it’s never been this easy as with the ProRes log footage.

That just made it so much easier to color grade iPhone footage. And I still think one of the best software computational photography features that the iPhone has is their HDR video.

I feel like they just do it so well where these sensors in here natively would not get you very much dynamic range. It would look pretty bad, really cheap, and just not good. But with the computational photography, they’re adding so much dynamic range that even that isn’t like a dead giveaway with the Arri, which has insane real good dynamic range. Not computational, but actual dynamic range. But with this, you can get about the same amount of dynamic range.

It wasn’t like clear like, “That has way more dynamic range than this.” It’s really crazy, and I think that makes these tiny sensors look so much better than they should.

Conclusion

So, some of you, after this comparison, might be like, “Well, what the heck? Why would you ever buy that?” To me, actually, I had the opposite reaction. I was like, “This is the consistent, reliable, works every single time, gets you the best of the best, every single time.” Whereas you can do incredible things with this, but it’s not going to be reliable, consistent, works every time. And so if you’re working on big projects, high-quality things, you’re obviously not going to use an iPhone because it’s not consistent.

You want something that works every single time. And that was, at least back in the day, that was like the downfall of something like the Blackmagic cameras.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between iPhone 15 Pro and $100,000 Arri Alexa?

A: The iPhone 15 Pro and Arri Alexa are significantly different in terms of price, technology, and intended use.

Q: What is the price difference between iPhone 15 Pro and Arri Alexa?

A: The iPhone 15 Pro is a consumer-grade smartphone that typically costs around $1,000, while the Arri Alexa is a high-end professional cinema camera that is priced at approximately $100,000.

Q: Do the iPhone 15 Pro and Arri Alexa have different capabilities?

A: Yes, the iPhone 15 Pro is designed as a versatile smartphone, offering features such as calling, texting, web browsing, and a range of apps, along with a capable camera for everyday use. On the other hand, the Arri Alexa is a top-of-the-line cinema camera with advanced features, designed for professional filmmakers and cinematographers who require exceptional image quality and extensive control over filming parameters.

Q: Can you easily distinguish the footage captured by iPhone 15 Pro and Arri Alexa?

A: While the iPhone 15 Pro has made remarkable advancements in camera technology, including computational photography, it still falls short in comparison to the Arri Alexa. The Arri Alexa is renowned in the filmmaking industry for its outstanding image quality, dynamic range, color science, and low-light performance. In a side-by-side comparison, the difference between the two cameras will be noticeable to a trained eye.

Q: Does the Arri Alexa justify its higher price considering the iPhone 15 Pro’s capabilities?

A: The decision to invest in an Arri Alexa mainly depends on the specific needs and requirements of professional filmmakers. While the iPhone 15 Pro offers convenience and good quality for everyday use, the Arri Alexa’s ability to capture truly cinematic footage in various production scenarios justifies its significantly higher price tag for those who demand uncompromising image quality and control.

 

I hope you find useful my article iPhone 15 Pro vs $100,000 Arri Alexa – Can you see the difference?, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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