Flash Makes A Difference

I am not going to say that today’s cell phone cameras are no match for a regular camera, that just isn’t true.

When you take photos outside in the daytime most all cell phone cameras do a great job.

Chick-fil-A Roswell Town Center at dusk. [DJI Mavic Air 2, Mode = Normal, ISO 790, 1/3, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 24)]

My DJI Mavid Air 2 has a Sony IMX586 48MP sensor that is also used in the Galaxy S10 phone. So these phones do a pretty good job.

So one of our friends took their own photo using their phone this past weekend, but also had me take the photo as well. They had the benefit of having both and choosing what to use. Here are those two photos:

Then here is my photo using off-camera flashes.

[NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/125, ƒ/8, (35mm = 48)]

The cell phone is acceptable until you see the difference using flash. Basically all cameras do a better job of reproducing colors under flash than you get under other light sources like fluorescent.

Besides a better color, the noise is a problem when shooting in low light with a cell phone. Using the flash I am shooting is light that is equivalent to sunshine outside. I can shoot at ISO 100 and fast shutter speed as well.

[SM-G970U, , Mode = Normal, ISO 250, 1/39, ƒ/2.4, (35mm = 26)] photo by Dorie

Dorie took some photos as well to show my setup, so I was able to see her settings for the camera.

Now there is one more difference worth pointing out. When professional photographers setup using flashes they put the lights usually at 45º to the right or left of the camera. Then they also put the light about 45º above the person’s eyes.

The lights in the ceiling are directly over their heads and create what I call “raccoon eyes”. This is the shadows around the eyes.

Here are the benefits that all the people who paid me to take their photos in the Ring at the Citadel:

  • Full Spectrum Color Light
  • Lower ISO ~ less noise
  • Better light direction on faces
  • 24 megapixel images so they can get large prints made

While you can get your cell phone pictures, there are times where it is worth going for quality rather than good enough.