4K Galaxy NOTE 3 V.S. Canon 5D Mark III – Video Comparison

Photographer and videographer Alec Weinstein (from marsmining) was in the market for a new smartphone. He realized that the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Note 3 both have 4K video recording capabilities and decided to compare those to his 1080p 5D MKIII pro DSLR – the results are extremely interesting.

What is better – an almost $4000 pro camera (and lens) or a $550 Samsung Galaxy Note III smartphone – when it comes to shooting high res video?

The almost obvious answer would be the Canon – well, after watching this video we are not 100% sure any more. Here are a few notes we have after watching this video (make sure you try and find out which image was taken with what camera – and why do you think that before reading further):

  • You can definitely see the difference in resolution between both cameras – even when not watching it on a 4K screen and in 100% magnification (there are simply more details and the image is sharper on the Samsung).
  • The Samsung small sensor can’t really keep up with dynamic range of the 5D MKIII – you can see it in the highlights in several examples.
  • There is way shallower depth of field in the 5D MKIII (although these examples where made so you are less likely to notice that – we did anyway – and you should too).
  • Non of these examples are in low light or difficult lighting conditions – if they were – the Samsung would probably fail – big time (again small sensor can’t keep up with a Full Frame one).

At the end of the day this is more of an eye opener for us about 4K (and maybe for you as well) – even one shot on a “simple” cameraphone. We have seen video samples coming from the 4K Panasonic GH4 and it looks amazing – but it was a highly edited video and it was not compared to anything.

Do keep in mind that even if you buy a 4K camera now – editing your material is still a serious pain. You will need a very (very) powerful computer to do this (our 4 core computer takes its time encoding 1080p so we don’t even want to think what will happen with 4K video). And most people don’t have screens that support 4K playback so its more of an investment into the future – but its still nice to see what is waiting for us.

More guides and comparisons of photographic gear can be found on our photography gear guides – here on LensVid.