Bokeh Comparison of a Full Frame 58mm DSLR vs iPhone 7 Plus 58mm in Portrait Mode

Shot with a 58mm f1.4g at f5.0 on a Nikon D600.

The iPhone certainly can produce amazing images, but I wonder if it could be a replacement for a full frame camera. I think for certain photos it can produce identical results, but I was curious to see how well “portrait” mode would work. So I did a quick test shot with my DSLR versus my iPhone.

Shot with an iPhone at 6.6mm (58mm equivalent) at f2.8.

So the answer is, it actually does a pretty good job blurring things, but it has trouble blending around sharp edges with high contrast. For whatever reason, this photo exposes the weakness of portrait mode.

The biggest difference to me is that my DSLR lens can shoot all the way down to f1.4, letting in more light and can potentially blur the entire background. The bokeh also has much more character versus the iPhone. The iPhone photo also feels like it was a still photo from a video, and the photo from my DSLR feels like it was shot on film. Keep in mind that both of these photos had little to no post processing.

Anyways, you can see the difference yourself. The iPhone portrait mode has a lot of potential, but still lacks a natural feel. I bet in the right environment with the right subject matter, it could actually work pretty well… but that’s an experiment for another day.