Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mirrorless Camera: Can a phone win?
You know i remember back in 2013, when the samsung galaxy note 3 was released and it was the first phone to record videos up to 4k at 30 fps with a time limit. Of course back, then that was a massive achievement, but it was still no match for what dedicated cameras had to offer fast forward to our current year 2021, and we have phones such as the samsung galaxy s21 ultra, which are capable of recording up to 8k at 24 fps – and this had me wondering how good is a modern, top end smartphone versus a dedicated mirrorless camera from 2014., for instance, the panasonic lumix gh4, which came out around 2014, was a beast given its price. It was the camera for amateur filmmakers and it’s. Still a great choice for a bit of amateur or pro work, and nowadays you can have it for as low as five hundred dollars. So my question here really is: is it worth it to spend less on a fan and some of my budget on a camera or just invest all my lump of cash in a better phone, so hello, there guys i’m vic here from thunder arena when i try And answer most of my and your questions on the topic at hand, so let’s just right get into it, starting with what we know. The samsung galaxy s21 ultra was released this january 2021 and it has a starting price of 1200 dollars which, while higher than the gh4 desert, should defend itself with the fact that, besides the camera, you know is also a phone, the s21 ultra.
So there are two possible things that might pop up in your head right now: a the phone is no match for this dedicated camera or b it’s a worthy opponent to it. So i went to take a couple of shots of buildings and both devices fared nicely, but i just want to pause here for a second, you know see if you notice, which photo is from which camera or device in this case and i’m just going to give You a few seconds switching now to the next photo for some of you. It might be easy, but for the untrained eye it’s a bit hard to say i mean i can you know, guess correctly, because i took the shots, but you know, let me know what you think down in the comments below which one you chose and which you Didn’T and why and now for the reveal – and there we go so if by any chance, we’re not going too much into details. The revealing factor here is the saturation in the sky, where the s21 ultra kind of makes the blue more blue. If you know what i mean and that’s, also for every other color and furthermore on the second photo you’ll notice, i actually used portrait mode and you can see the background. Blur seems to be a bit unnatural on the s21 ultra, where there, if you zoom in you, can see just a few spots that were not cut out properly, while on the gh4 of course, it’s pretty much natural, since it has a bigger sensor and bigger lens.
So that’s, not something that is computed, but still it’s, quite impressive on the s21 ultra. What exactly you can do with a small camera and i’m going to put the colors i’m going to give the color sorry a pass since that’s easily something you can correct in post. So moving on, i went and took a quick photo of a nearby cathedral and it turned out rather good, but a bit over sharpened on the ultra. If you zoom in you, see clearly how the cement between the bricks kind of looks, artificial, otherwise a good photo, though from both of these devices, just a tad bit over sharpened in es21 ultra. But if i were to upload these two photos online due to compression you’d, probably hardly notice the difference and overall i can really tell you that the s9 ultra is doing really good, given what it is. Additionally, this samsung device, like many other phones, is capable of ultra wide photos, which tend to look really nice. If you’re into that, you can technically achieve the same thing with the gh4, but you’d need to spend a good sum on a quality lens. So i tried my best with what i have the lens mounted in the gh4 is not exactly narrow, but it’s still interesting to see what a massive difference you know you can get quality wise. The ultrawide is not exactly something i’d lean on to all the time. Since it’s, not exactly as sharp as the main sensor, as you can see right here, if you just zoom in you, can technically see that while it is quite amazing, don’t get me wrong, it’s, still not exactly as sharp as the main sensor.
Otherwise, on the s21 ultra compared to any other advice, i’ve tested so far, you can actually even focus and it’s a really good ultra right camera. But you know something to keep in mind, whereas on the gh4 you can get the full quality you get from the main sensor. So long as you have that nice lens and good quality lens actually cost. Quite a lot, so do bear in mind on that one. So without sidetracking too much uh let’s move on to maybe a portrait shot then, like literally yeah. Well, i have to hand it to the phone. It may not be perfect just yet, but i am rather well cut out, and you know from the background. One caveat, though, is that the depth is not exactly natural and additionally, the quality of the image seems to be lower. If you zoom in a bit and check it out, it is impressive. I mean all of this. Blur has been made possible by computational photography, but still you can kind of see how the quality drops and it drops significantly not just the tiny bit where you won’t notice. It too much so bear in mind on that one. Perhaps this feature may take a couple of years more to improve, but it’s kind of interesting to see what will happen with it for the time being, though, it’s pretty usable and pretty nice, since that last was a bust for the s21 ultra. I moved on to draw a couple of zoom photos, and this was quite interesting.
The phone had a rather impressive 100 times zoom now it’s, not like you can’t achieve the same result with a dedicated camera. That would be a rather cumbersome task. You actually have to lug around a big big lens, like quite a massive one, the one i currently have mounted to the gh4 and the only one i have, which is you know, rather long, did, and about 80 millimeter shot maximum. So one additional thing, though, to consider about the s21 ultra is it’s 100 times zoom, while being quite impressive for the size of the camera is not exactly the sharpest and the small form factor of the ultra makes it rather hard to be stable. Sure samsung did introduce softer, which helps additionally, by locking onto a distant object and helping you track it. But you know at that point it still wasn’t, perfect and honestly. You’D need to carry a tripod in order to achieve a stable shot, which kind of defeats. The purpose of having a portable device, so how about some night photography that well, this one was also really interesting to me. The gh4 i have with me is certainly not the best when it comes to taking photos at night time, since it has a lot of noise at high iso. But given that the ultra has a rather small sensor, i was assuming that it would do. You know not that better than the s21 ultra itself let’s move on to my first picks, which were done at 3200 iso by the way.
So this one was interesting because the s21 ultra actually fared as expected worse in terms of noise, but it managed to squeeze more light in the image, and this was at pretty much the closest settings. I can get 125th of a second or 120th of a second for the phone and 3200 iso, for both at the maximum open aperture for both. But one additional thing i want to mention in favor for the phone is that the ultra is also capable of doing computational photography based night shot, and i have to admit the picture i took with this mode came out. The brightest i could ever achieve, while holding both of these cameras in hand. If you just look at it, you can see that the night mode on the phone managed to squeeze a very well lit photo while still retaining most of the details of the photo. While you know you’re limited to the gh4 being able to do a normal shot, of course, you can do long exposure photography with both of these cameras. Furthermore, for just social media, this is actually really really comfy and easy to use i’m gon na give this one to the s21 ultra in terms of video. If you’re not too heavy into videography or cinematography, you can get away with a phone. Yes, an expensive phone, but that’s too impressive. I mean picture this a small device in your pocket that can record reasonably good decent videos for amateur productions.
What’S even more interesting is that high end samsung devices also offer a pro video mode, which is quite impressive. If you ask me, but if you’re not convinced here’s an example of a good lit sunny day, it looks pretty good. If you ask me, both are doing 4k at 30fps, which is where the gh4 taps out. Otherwise, you may go up to 4k 60fps on the ultra 8k is also an option, but i think the quality is not there yet and is more like a gimmick, so um for now stay away from it. Now both devices looked sharp in the light, but i just couldn’t help but notice how noise in the shadows creeps when recording with the s21 ultra and this kind of disappointed me a bit because i was expecting a better performance. Hdr wise both are doing a fantastic job of exposing the dark and light scenes properly, but the ultra is still coming in a bit more saturated, color wise. You know with a bit more contrast, nothing major, but still good to note. One other thing i just remembered is that the gh4 has a good trick up its sleeve. It has the ability to switch the video bitrate the benefit for the gh4. As i mentioned, since you can choose a bit rate, i can adjust how much information i want to preserve in the video itself so as to be able to edit it later without losing much detail, and i can you know, do the opposite.
I can lower the bit rate in order to make my video, smaller and easier to share online, which is pretty cool. So as a conclusion, then, i found the following: both devices did a very good job, capturing the scene, quite impressive for the s21 ultra given its size, but the lumix did an overall better job, and this is a camera which is seven years old, and so i Can’T really speak for a brand new camera. If it actually did this comparison, so i guess you get the point. It comes down to needs and preferences if you’re somebody who actually just wants to take a quick photo or two from time to time, just get a phone get a good phone with a good camera. Then the opposite is true. If you want to do something more professional cameras are still the way to go, so that was pretty much it for me.