Crazy Comparison: Google Pixel 2 XL (Smartphone) vs. Olympus Pen-F (Micro Four Thirds Camera)


INTRO
So I’ve seen a few videos comparing the Pixel 2 XL to a $20k Hasselblad camera. To me, that’s a little bit of a ridiculous
comparison. Next thing you know, we’re going to be comparing
the Pixel 2 to an Arri Alexa or Red. (Not a bad idea. Hmm…) So, I have a full frame Nikon D610 for photography
and a GH4 and GX8 for 4K video. I use a Pen-F for daily use as my walk around
camera. I’ve recently picked up a Pixel 2 XL and I’m
super impressed with the images coming out of this camera. Do I still need my Micro Four-Thirds Pen-F
camera? Let’s take a look and see how the Pixel 2
XL stacks up. Throughout this comparison, I may refer to
the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Both use the same sensor and optics. I know that this is a crazy comparison, especially
when you look at the difference in sensor size. The Pixel 2 XL has 1/2.6″ sensor compared
to the 4/3″ (or 1 1/3″) sensor in the Pen-F. CHART
Look at this chart to see the huge discrepancy. The Pen-F’s micro-four-thirds sensor is almost
10x the surface area as the Pixel 2 XL’s. That means it’s able to capture 10x as much
light. CROP FACTORS
There is a 6X crop factor on the Pixel 2. The Pen-F has a 2X crop factor. One of my favorite lenses for Micro 4/3rds
cameras is the Olympus 17mm F1.8. To get the same field of view and shallow
depth of field on the Pixel 2, it would need a lens that is 5.7mm at F0.6. How many affordable F0.6 lenses have you seen? To capture the same amount of light as my
35mm F2 on my full frame camera, you would need a 5.8mm F0.33 lens on the Pixel 2! That’s a huge difference in light capturing
capability. The phone camera just captures less light. It has to compensate by increasing the ISO
which increases noise. COMPUTATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Google has leveled the playing field using computational photography and machine learning
aka. A.I. There’s a trick in photography called image
stacking. This is when you combine many images shot
at either higher ISO’s to reduce noise. Another trick is to combine a few images taken
at different exposures to create an HDR image. Google’s HDR and HDR+ modes apply both processes. Image stacking and HDR is processor intensive. It’s usually performed in post-processing
long after you’ve taken the photo. The Pixel 2 XL is able to perform image stacking
and HDR seconds after you take the photo. That’s an amazing feat and a testament to
how far technology has come. As you know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. If you compare an image taken in low-light
without HDR and a shot with HDR, you will see the huge difference it makes. It increases the dynamic range, reduces noise,
and increases detail. LENS OPTIONS
With a dedicated camera, you are able to change lenses. I recently reviewed the Moment lenses for
the Pixel 2 XL. They make a macro, fisheye, wide angle and
telephoto lens. The Moment lenses go over the original lens. These lenses can change the focal length,
but it can’t capture more light. On my Pen-F, I have a 25mm F0.95 lens that
I use for low-light photography. There is no equal on the Pixel 2 XL since
the native lens is F1.8 and it can’t go below that. With an interchangeable lens camera, you have
a much wider selection of lenses. You can use wide zoom lenses, prime lenses,
tilt-shift lenses. You also have the option for zoom lenses that
go far beyond the 2x zoom of Moment’s Tele lens. IMAGE QUALITY BREAKDOWN LOW-LIGHT/NOISE PERFORMANCE
When it comes to noise performance in low-light, the larger sensor on the Pen-F beats the Pixel
2. The software tricks help make the most of
the Pixel 2’s camera, but you can’t argue with physics. A larger sensor has more surface area which
can capture more light giving you cleaner images. AUTO-FOCUS SPEED
Here is an area where the smaller lens on the Pixel 2 has an advantage. Since the lens elements are much smaller,
the motors used to focus can move faster. It uses laser autofocus combined with dual
pixel autofocus. When shooting both photos and video, autofocus
was fast and accurate. The focusing on the Pen-F is no slouch either,
but the Pixel 2 is close to instantaneous. The difference is most notable when shooting
video. BOKEH vs. FAUX-KEH Fast lenses are not only useful in low-light
situations. They also give that shallow depth-of-field
that people associate with a “professional” camera. Google uses computational photography and
machine learning to create a simulated bokeh effect. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL uses split-pixel
technology to create a depth map. When you split the pixel into a left and right
pixel, the camera is able to see a stereoscopic image. Sometimes, the Pixel 2 is able to create some
convincing shallow depth of field effects. But when you see the real thing, you can tell
there’s a difference. With the Pixel 2, sometimes parts of the image
are not blurred when they should be and are when they shouldn’t be. When a small light is in the background, real
bokeh causes those lights to turn into large circles. On the Pixel 2’s portrait mode, lights and
reflections do not create large bokeh circles. This is the same with other smartphones with
portrait mode as well. I have noticed that the Pixel 2 does attempt
to create bokeh circles, but the effect is mild. I hope they make that more aggressive or give
us the option to adjust it in the future. FRONT-FACING CAMERA (SELFIE CAMERA)
I have noticed that portrait mode on the front-facing camera is more consistent than the rear. The “selfie” camera does not have the split
pixel technology to create a depth map. It relies only on machine learning to provide
the depth of field effect. I am very impressed by the performance of
the front-facing camera. It blows away everything out on the market
right now. IMAGE RENDERING
(COLOR RENDERING/WHITE BALANCE/DYNAMIC RANGE) Color rendering has a lot to do with white
balance. Both do a great job with producing accurate
white balance in most situations. In mixed lighting conditions, the Pixel 2
is superior. For example, when shooting indoors, but a
light is coming in from outside, the Pen-F has to choose what to white balance for. Either it balances for the temperature of
the natural light coming in or for the artificial lighting inside. The Pixel 2 can combine the lighting from
both so the color temperature is correct for both. Color rendering is a subjective choice that
manufacturers make. Accurate colors aren’t always the most pleasing
to human eyes. What’s pleasing to one person, might not be
for another person. To me, iPhones and Canon cameras have the
most pleasing color rendering when it comes to skin tones. Skin tones are important because they are
part of the “memory colors.” Most people know the color of grass, sky,
and skin. If a camera renders those colors in an odd
way, the brain knows it. The Pixel 2 aims to be more accurate. The Pen-F image is not representative of what
my eyes actually see, but the image is pleasing. The Pixel 2 can be unforgiving in its accuracy
and bring out more detail than you’re hoping for. Personally, I prefer accurate colors. As long as the information is there, I can
always adjust it in Lightroom later. RAW EDITING LATITUDE
Both cameras can produce raw images, but with the Pixel 2, you have to use a third-party
camera app. I am using Lightroom Mobile to capture DNG
raw files on my Pixel 2 XL. The problem is that you forgo the use of Google’s
HDR+ algorithms. Sometimes, the out of camera HDR JPEG from
the stock Google camera is superior to an edited photo without HDR. One trick that I’ve found is to download the
Camera NX app from Charles_l on XDA Forums. It allows you to take HDR photos that save
to DNG raw format. Google should add that capability in the future. That would preserve the dynamic range, noise
reduction enhancements, and HDR effects. From there, I could tune the image to my liking. Take a look at these photos I’ve edited using
the same presets. The one on the left is the JPEG file, the
one on the right is the DNG raw file. For now, I find that there is much more latitude
in the Pen-F raw files. I can push and pull highlights and shadows
further without the image breaking apart. VIDEO
The Pixel 2 can produce some impressive looking video. What it cannot do is create a shallow depth
of field when shooting video since portrait mode doesn’t work in video. You will also need a third-party app like
Filmic Pro to set your ISO, shutter speed, white balance, etc. Google has not yet figured out computational
videography. Until then, the small sensor on the Pixel
2 acts like a small sensor. For shallow depth of field and low-light,
the Pixel 2 cannot compete with the larger Pen-F’s sensor when it comes to video. The Pixel 2 XL has the upper hand when it
comes to resolution though. The Pixel 2 XL can shoot 4K at 30fps. The Pen-F can only shoot 1080p. STABILIZATION
The 5-axis in-body stabilization on the Pen-F is one of the best systems right now. The Pixel 2’s uses a combination of (OIS)
optical image stabilization and (EIS) electronic image stabilization. It’s downright amazing! Handheld shots look like they are on a tripod. Panning shots look smooth and have less distortion
than the Pen-F. With both OIS and EIS enabled on the Pen-F, stuff can start to look odd. Video can have major jello effect to it. Other than using a gimbal, video on the Pixel
2 is some of the smoothest I have ever seen on any camera. SLOW MOTION
The Pen-F can shoot up to 60fps at 1920×1080. That will give you 2.5x slow motion. It can also shoot 120fps at a paltry 640×480
resolution. The Pixel 2 XL can shoot 120fps at 1080p and
240fps at 720p. ADVANTAGES OF USING A DEDICATED CAMERA SHOOTING EXPERIENCE
When it comes to ergonomics, a dedicated camera is better. You have access to dedicated buttons and dials
to change your settings. There’s also something satisfying about looking
through a viewfinder, clicking that shutter button and hearing the shutter snap. MANUAL MODES
A dedicated camera gives you more options for shooting long exposure photography, sports
or studio portraits. Of course, you can download an app for the
Pixel 2 that can do some of those things, but the Pen-F can usually do them better. OFF-CAMERA FLASH
One area of smartphone photography that is lacking is off-camera flash photography. Any strobist can tell you how important controlling
the lighting is. As of right now, there is no way to activate
off-camera flashes using a smartphone. I’ve seen one by Godox for the iPhone, but
the phone itself limits the shutter speed to something like 1/30th of a second. For comparison, I regularly shoot with a sync
speed of 1/250 on my Pen-F. ADVANTAGES OF USING A SMARTPHONE FRONT-FACING CAMERA
Let’s face it, even with the Pen-F’s swivel screen, taking a selfie is awkward. You need a wide angle lens, and this thing
gets heavy after a few shots. The Pixel 2’s larger screen and lighter weight
make selfies much easier. POSTING TO SOCIAL MEDIA
With the Pixel, you can snap a photo and post directly to Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. With the Pen-F, you would have to transfer
the file via wifi to your phone, then post it. That process can add an extra minute or two. SIZE & PORTABILITY
The Pixel 2 XL fits into my pocket. It’s always with me. If I want to throw it onto a sub $150 gimbal
like my Zhiyun Smooth Q, I can shoot some super smooth video. My Moment lenses fit into my jacket pocket. AR STICKERS AND OTHER FEATURES
The Pixel 2 XL has some cool augmented reality features built into the camera. These are fun for posting on social media. Impossible to do on the Pen-F. POST-PROCESSING
I use Lightroom Mobile to do almost anything I can do on my desktop computer. With other apps, I can add watermarks and
graphics to my photos. I’ve even found a way to use my Lightroom
presets in Lightroom Mobile. It amazes me every time! CONCLUSION
If I were to ignore the fact that the Pixel 2 XL is much more than a camera, it would
still be a good camera. If the Pen-F gets an 85% (B grade) then the
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL get an 80% (B-). That 5% difference is tiny considering what
you get in portability, ease of use and extra features with the Pixel 2. WILL I KEEP MY PEN-F? As I mentioned, I have a full-frame Nikon
which I believe deserves a 90%+ (A Grade) for photography. I have a GH4 and GX8 which I would give a
90%+ (A Grade) for video. Now I have a good everyday carry camera in
my Pixel 2 XL. Anyone interested in buying a used Pen-F?

100 Replies to “Crazy Comparison: Google Pixel 2 XL (Smartphone) vs. Olympus Pen-F (Micro Four Thirds Camera)”

  1. In love with this breakdown and the spec sheet done afterwards. Awesome job, glad to be an owner of the pixel 2 xl. Can't wait to find a moment case in stock ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. The only cellphone that ever had a real flash for photography was the old Nokia phones. You could use the flash on the phone to trigger off camera flash. I really wish they would put a leaf shutter in cellphones and get rig of this electronic shutter stuff we have now.

  3. Good video. Balanced and cuts the Bulls**t and fanboyism that goes with both cell phones and cameras. In fact I am something of a Fuji fanboy, but even I have come to the conclusion that my Fuji x100F (but not my Xt-2 and interchangeable lenses) provide marginal benefits compared to my LG V30 with the the Google Camera mod (which imports Pixel 2's HDR+ and portrait mode features to the v30, making it one superphone!). It might go on sale too, much as I just love both its IQ and LOOKS(!!). Also, the point about balancing WB of multiple areas cannot be stressed enough…No 'mainstream' camera can do this – its only possible because of the higher quality computational capabilities of smartphone and google's AI.

  4. I'm confused so the pix 2xl must have a much better camera than the Samsung's and I phone x cos I find the micro 4/3 to be much better. I'm sorry but i find this video a bit miss leading. there must be something wrong with your pen cos it seems very slow at focusing. I have had different findings

  5. i don't mean this in a bad way but you should try and use a shotgun mic or cut out the background noise more, it's so distracting as it cuts in and out

  6. I really appreciate this video, I just subscribe to your channel. It's these types of videos that makes me proud to be Pixel 2 XL owner. Very very informative.

  7. What is your opinion on the Camera NX app for the pixel 2? I'm considering making that my default camera app but I was wondering if you noticed a difference in image quality using NX compared to the Pixel's stock camera app. Great video btw!

  8. Actually I think Pixel's artificial bokeh is more like throwing in gaussian blur rather than lens blur. There are phones like the Huawei and Nokia 8 that can replicate the bokeh circles relatively more pronounced.

    Anyway, I love how informational your video is, got my sub! ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. What you said about aperture in relation to depth of field and sensor size is true but not when it come to light gathering capability. An F1.8 lens' brightness is the same regardless of sensor size. For example, in a certain scene, if your m4/3 camera with F2 lens would use iso 400 in auto mode, any smartphone or camera with F2 lens would still use iso 200 in auto mode. Pls do more research before spreading wrong information in youtube. Thanks.

  10. that google pixel is pretty darn good smartphone camera. the pentax camera is nice bigger sensor. can't wait for the samsung s9 a 1.5 aperture to 2.5 aperture amazing..

  11. I love photography and you have nailed it. It's not all about image quality, phones just don't have the versatility as high end cameras in this day and age but they've come a long way and would hate to admit that it's become my main camera due to laziness. Thanks for your time and effort. Subscribed!

  12. I love the pixel line up and I've suggestion Sir if you like it, please do it. Tech review is done almost every other youtuber, so please add videos that can help people learn about photography in detail like an online tutorial and I'm sure it will help many people as there are many people who are into photography

  13. Sorry. Can't help you with the sale of your Pen F. I am crossing my fingers and hoping the next EM5 MkIII ticks all the right boxes for me. The latest EM10 MkIII came close. Just subscribed. Glad to see more people in this hobbyprofession put out the effort to exhibit their craft. It is appreciated.

  14. I KNOW! I was laughing so hard when I saw the hassleblad comparison. Kinda like comparing a Honda Civic to a Ferrari. If you have time you should do a tutorial on filmic pro

  15. The most amazing part is that Google's app (with all the amazing AI algorithms, HDR+ etc) is hacked and available for many other smartphones. Basically all the enhancements that move a small sensor technology further are available to many people now. And that becomes funny when something like Nubia Z17s, more
    than 2 times cheaper than the Google Pixel 2 XL, can take better pictures with its camera using the Google Pixel's app than the Pixel itself.

  16. So we need DSLR's with AI and HDR+ and considering the cost they should be! What would be fascinating is a Pixel 2 full frame DSLR. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

  17. you showed that in for inside low light pixel2 video is much worse because there is not real time computational photography algorithm that can run fast enough for video and compensate for sensor size difference but what about outside video quality difference on a bright sunny day ? don't the pixel2 4k video beats the pen-f 1080p when there is enough light ?

  18. When you talked about image stacking, you said that it's when many images are taken at a higher ISO and stacked into one image to reduce noise. I think you meant lower ISO.

  19. Just got finished watching the entire video. Very comprehensive, but you forgot to compare the microphones since you talked about video recording. Have you tried recording your bathroom tap or shower with the Pixel 2? You should try it and post the result.

  20. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels how amazing my pixel 2 xl is ,I'm really excited for the future of pixel phones pixel 3 and 4 I'm sure will challenge cameras in photography maybe not video but pictures will be unbeatable even by apple

  21. Very informative. I think you can improve your video editing by adding some pauses between the paragraphs and sections. It runs together now like I have to hold my breath to listen and follow what you say.

  22. Can I just throw this out there. Don't you think ISO is in reality "Gain" unlike film where ISO is actually real, digital images are using gain adding/dialling up the "noise" of the image which compares but isn't actually grain. Yes/No?

  23. Great video! Pen F is on my dream camera list, and itโ€™s crazy how good smartphones are getting.

    But dang dude. I would not want to get into a staring contest with you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  24. Just come across your channel, great content and knowledge.

    Quick question, which mode do you use the most and why? HDR+ or HDR+Enhanced

  25. I don't think mobile phones will match up or surpass dslrs on image quality anytime soon. But on video quality ? Definitely my Huawei p9 takes videos that are better than my Canon 750D

  26. Love you down to earth review..Am tore about dumping my camera.The pixel takes such great photos for a mobile.

  27. Excellent just what I was looking for. I use micro four thirds and apsc with adapted lenses. The tiny sensors in phones just can't equal their raw light gathering power but software and interpolation is definitely making some moves.

  28. hahahaha…."pixel2 produced one of the most pleasing videos in any camera". Are you joking dude? when you use pen-f, try something like 75mm 1.8 or 12-40mm 2.8 pro and you will see what any or all of your smartphones combined cannot reach the half of MFT system.

  29. How could u made a best video comparison eventhough u only have little subs. I cann feel now how hard competition in USA

  30. One of the best comparison i have ever seen between dslr & camera phone.๐Ÿ˜
    I can see your efforts.๐Ÿ‘
    Thanks for the video.

  31. All said and done, there is no reason to buy a MFT now. Use your phone most of the time. If you dont have a camera, buy any DSLR and 35 or 50mm lens. And be done with it. No point in putting money in a MFT which costs more or equal to APSC dslrs.
    Thanks for the video.

  32. Still a useless comparison. How much do you pay for solely and only the camera on your phone? Of course, you cannot buy one without, but that's the perk/downside of buying a hybrid: There's many features none of which can be completely dedicated.

    So the search for whether or not to buy a reasonably priced camera for a casual continues.

  33. Pixel does have very nifty tricks in its sleeves… I wish real cameras would borrow at least the stacking capabilities. However, the still image quality even from m43 cameras is still quite a bit ahead of mobiles phones (even Pixel, yes I have and use both).. not to mention the system aspect of the cameras.. flashes and wide selection of lenses. It'll be interesting to see if the real cameras pick up the computation photography aspect quick enough to not be beaten by growing capabilities of mobile phones.. interesting times.

  34. Die Olympus PEN-F Kit, Micro Four Thirds Systemkamera https://amzn.to/2ryhqvF ist eine sehr gute Kamera und ich kann sie nur empfehlen.Sie macht sehr gute Fotos.

  35. Nice work! Very succinct and to the point! Much appreciated in the context of watching lots of videos during comparison shopping. One tip, no need to state the next topic. Just do it. Itโ€™s like saying โ€œin summaryโ€ nope, just give the summary. The โ€œin summaryโ€ is part is just an inner monologue reminder for you. I genuinely appreciated your video๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  36. Fascinating video. So in 2020 where are we at with this now? Is it still worth owning a Panasonic for video/stills? I'm thinking about buying a GX9

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