iPhone 4, 3GS, and Flip Ultra HD comparison videos posted | iLounge News

iPhone 4, 3GS, and Flip Ultra HD comparison videos posted

iLounge has posted a suite of brand new videos comparing the video capabilities of the new iPhone 4 to those of the iPhone 3GS and Flip Ultra HD.

A set of two 720p videos, filmed at the same time, show how the iPhone 4 camera directly compares against the Flip Ultra HD camera, a pocket-sized rival that Apple targeted last year with video camera updates to the iPod nano and iPhone 3GS. For the first time, iPhone 4 has the resolution to compete pixel for pixel against Flip’s higher-end recorder, and it has something Flip doesn’t: Tap to Focus during video, enabling the iPhone 4 to create depth of field effects, but also to render some scenes softly relative to the Flip since the latter device’s fixed-focus lens offers consistent sharpness without depth of field capabilities. The first iPhone 4 video is here, and the comparison Flip Ultra HD video is here. The second iPhone 4 video is here, and the comparison Flip Ultra HD video is here.


For those interested in seeing the iPhone 3GS versus the iPhone 4, a longer set of videos shows how the older 640x480 camera on the iPhone 3GS compares to the newer 1280x720 camera on the iPhone 4. Both devices now have Tap to Focus capabilities during video recording, but differ in both aspect ratio and lens width; the iPhone 4 crops and scales down its 5-Megapixel sensor to get the 720p frames it captures. Each set of two videos was recorded at the same time. The iPhone 4 video is here, and the iPhone 3GS video is here. Enjoy!

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One day I hope to live in such a nice neighborhood… siiiiigh

Posted by VULTR3 in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 23, 2010 at 7:20 PM (CDT)


Very nice. But is it just me or is the iPhone video really shaky in comparison to the Flip video?

Posted by Mike11 in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 23, 2010 at 8:06 PM (CDT)


It looks like the Flip is significantly less jittery, has better sound quality, and better color.  But the iPhone’s tap-to-focus puts the Flip to shame.

Posted by MR in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 23, 2010 at 10:42 PM (CDT)


The flip has auto sensing for exposure, a feature that many video cameras have. Whenever it pans over a brighter object or the sky, you can see the lens stop down, darkening the image. I’ve always found this irritating in video cameras. The Flip also has little ability to auto focus up close.

Posted by William Robinson in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 23, 2010 at 10:47 PM (CDT)


In these videos, the Flip gets very up close, and doesn’t focus on the objects in the foreground.

Posted by MR in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 24, 2010 at 9:11 AM (CDT)


It’s hard to tell any difference without a side-by-side. However, the Flip seems a little better in the picture quality (but just a little), but it also seemed a little laggy. Like the camera would move and it’d take a bit to catch up. Again, though, this is watching videos uploaded to Vimeo one at a time, instead of a side-by-side comparison. I’d say the two are close enough to call them equals.

Posted by Chris Pratt in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 24, 2010 at 11:39 AM (CDT)


Though I generally agree the FlipHD edges the iPhone4 when it comes to video quality, it must be said that commenter William Robinson makes a few technical misstatements regarding the Flip. Its lens neither “stops down” its aperture or “auto-focuses up close”. Rather, the Flip has a fixed-aperture, fixed infinity-focus lens. There is no variable, moving aperture to “stop down” the lens, just an electronic auto-exposure circuit that monitors light and adjusts exposure levels accordingly. And the fixed infinity-focus lens simply regards everything from a few inches out all the way to infinity as being acceptably in focus. By trading away that nice depth of field effect which isolates the in-focus subject from the out-of-focus background, the Flip relieves its user of having to ever worry about focus at all.

Posted by Corey Greenberg in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 24, 2010 at 11:14 PM (CDT)


I like the FlipHD images more. it has a much better exposure and does it even faster than iphone4. maybe apple can fix this software issues. but the iphone4 shoots still acceptable to most palates.

Posted by Ronny in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 25, 2010 at 4:58 AM (CDT)


The Flip is a dedicated video camera so it SHOULD and is better, but in comparison I’d say the iPhone 4 holds up considerably well.

Posted by BillyBongo in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 25, 2010 at 10:09 AM (CDT)


Could you post the ORIGINAL files, rather than the vimeo transcoded versions? That would make it a lot easier to do a proper comparison, also to see how easy it is to edit the different types of files.

Posted by Rolf in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 25, 2010 at 10:35 AM (CDT)


Just sign up for vimeo and there is a link where you can download the originals.

Posted by John in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 26, 2010 at 3:17 AM (CDT)


Hi guys

I have just been analysing the originals I downloaded from Vimeo of the iPhone 4 and Flip videos. Here is my 2 cents!

After running these through to check theme for dynamic range, exposure, saturation etc, I have come to the following conclusions:

1) The Flip generally underexposes the image, losing details in the shadows and decreasing the dynamic range of the image.

2) The iPone generally overexposes the image, blowing out highlights and decreasing the dynamic range of the image.

Note: To really see the difference3 of the under vs over-exposure, have a look at how the blue sky visible in the flip at ~18 seconds and 21 seconds versus the blown out sky in the iPhone. On the other hand, look at the loss of detail in the tree trunk area of the flip video at ~41 seconds vs the iPhone.

The iPhone in general does a slightly better job of keeping the average exposure in the mean dynamic range window of the camera and using the entire dynamic range of the sensor (though not by a lot). Unfortunately this does not translate to more aesthetically pleasing video. If I were Apple I would look to have the SW tweak the exposure down just a tad. Do so would greatly enhance the subjective analysis of “experts”.

3) The flip seems to process the image to increase the saturation of the image (in addition to being underexposed). Pleasing to the eye but possibly less accurate as far as what the eye actually sees. The iPhone does not seem to mess with the saturation as much as the Flip and I would give the edge to it in terms of representation of what the scene actually looks like (though accuracy and aesthetics do not always align), but the over-exposure makes it less pleasing than the Flip video.

4) I have heard people say the flip is possibly sharper than the iPhone. From the posted videos this does not bear out. While it is pretty close, if I had to pick I would give the edge to the iPhone for sharpness.

In summary, I would say that neither camera is perfect (but they are pretty damn good for very small cameras with small lens - particularly the iPhone). The Flip underexposes, does not quite utilise the entire DR of the sensor and definitely does some saturation processing, the iPhone overexposes and does much less processing of saturation etc. Both of these could be enhances with fairly simple software tweaks!

If I had to give the edge to one, it would be the Flip, but that would be subjective, not actually on the numbers I am seeing; and I would expect to give it to the Flip, being a dedicated video camera.

All in all. Well done Apple! I look forward to using one of these myself once the feed frenzy dies down and I can actually convince my bos…wife that I really do need one :)



Posted by Tracker Oz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 27, 2010 at 11:28 AM (CDT)


Where is such a lovely neighborhood located?

Posted by Just curious in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 28, 2010 at 6:58 AM (CDT)

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