June 18, 2015

This Nifty Device Promises to Give Your iPhone the Image Quality of a DSLR

DxO One Back
Smartphone cameras have come a long way in the past few years. DxO Labs is looking to take them even further.

Let's start with the problem. Even though smartphone cameras have become better, few, if any, have lived up to the image quality of larger DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Of course, most phones don't have the physical space required for the more advanced hardware of larger cameras. Nor would more advanced photo hardware make phones cost effective for the average user. So, that leaves a niche market of people who want the portability and accessibility of a smartphone alongside the image quality of more advanced cameras. DxO Labs, the company known for its rigorous scientific testing of new cameras and lenses, just introduced a product that aims to accomplish just that.

The product is called the DxO ONE, and it's essentially a tiny camera that attaches to an iPhone (via the Lightning port), bypasses the internal sensor, and allows users to capture significantly higher quality photos and videos. Here's what it looks like:

DxO ONE Front

DxO ONE Side
This little guy sports a 1 inch BSI sensor capable of capturing 20.2 megapixel photos (RAW or JPEG), 1080p video at 30fps, and 720p video at 120fps. It also features an f/1.8 lens that is the full frame equivalent of 32mm.

There doesn't seem to be any video captured by the DxO ONE floating around the internet yet. In the mean time, here are a few sample photos that show you what it can accomplish from a photography perspective (and here are a few more):

DxO One Sample Photo
DxO One Sample Photo
DxO One Sample Photo

The most impressive thing about the DxO ONE is how it scores in DxO Mark. Depending on the mode, the camera scores at 70 or 85, both of which which are absurdly high, especially considering that this is a smartphone add-on. The 85 score comes from the DxO ONE's "Super RAW" mode, where the camera captures 4 RAW frames in rapid succession of one another, then merges them together to form a single photograph.

While this little device certainly isn't going to become an essential tool for filmmakers, especially at a price point of $600, it's definitely noteworthy for iPhone users who want top notch image quality in their pockets at all times. If you're interested in learning more about the DxO ONE, head over to their site    

Your Comment

24 Comments

Clever stuff! I can't imagine actually using it though (you say 'top notch...in your pocket at all times' but surely you're going to have to keep taking it off/putting it on to avoid covering it in fluff and scratching it?...

...And if that's the case, you might as well buy a cheap Canon DSLR and a nifty fifty for the same price?

...But other than that - genuinely, clever stuff.

June 18, 2015 at 5:42PM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3423

Haha we pretty much wrote the same thing within one minute of each other.

June 18, 2015 at 5:43PM, Edited June 18, 5:43PM

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Austin Crow
Filmmaker/Photographer
217

I just don't see smart phone photographers shelling out $600 dollars when they could just buy a $600 dollar DSLR. I mean maybe if you're a really hardcore smart phone photographer or just have $600 dollars to blow then sure. I guess I just don't understand the need for this but it's still pretty interesting. The photos look great.

June 18, 2015 at 5:43PM, Edited June 18, 5:43PM

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Austin Crow
Filmmaker/Photographer
217

I think I can explain the "Why" behind wanting this - at least for me, anyway. More and more, over the last...say, 3 or 4 years, I've taken the vast majority of my photos with my iPhone, simply because it's always with me. True, for $600, I could go grab a great little DSLR/50 (or 40 pancake) and have better image quality - but I'd still have to lug around an entirely separate piece of equipment, most likely in a bag for protection.

But this, I can throw in my pocket. All the time. It's smaller than a 1" sensor p&s, it looks to provide a HUGE upgrade on the iPhone's (most all other cell phone's) camera, and I don't need to worry about leaving it behind or having some idiot try and yank my bag (it's happened here in L.A.) while I'm out and about.

I'm not saying I AM getting it (most likely not, in fact), but as to why I'd WANT it, I can definitely give you a few reasons :)

And yes, I realize that a Rebel + 40 pancake/50 1.8 are light, but still multiple times larger for this, and not something I can pocket. Same goes for basically all 1" P&S cams, as well, with the G7x and RX100(i-iv) being the exceptions - at more than 50% more the cost, that is.

Just my $.02 (which I'll be saving so I can get something like this in the future ;) )

-Swanny

June 18, 2015 at 9:09PM

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Matthew Swanson
Actor/Writer/Director
203

Swanny,

I agree that the beauty of the iPhone as a camera is having it always at hand. Add-ons, such as clip on lenses, or, in this case, a clip on camera, tend to negate that.

While almost three times the size, the RX100 easily fits in a pocket. For $200 more, you get real video-- 50mbps XAVC files compared to h.264 on the DxO-- with a 24-70mm (equivalent) lens.

Like you, I'll admit the DxO One does look fun.

June 19, 2015 at 2:37AM

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Charlie K
1382

I don't know why, but I kinda want this.

June 18, 2015 at 5:52PM

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Dominik Belancic
Cinematographer/Director
268

Cool stuff! Of course there's always the argument that you could buy a lower-end DSLR for the same amount of cash, but your iPhone has a few features that you don't get with a low end DSLR, like Wifi, Bluetooth, and most importantly, Apps. I mean there are a hundreds of ways you could use this: I'm thinking of ad-hoc live broadcasting with remote control for your camera for example. Or pretty stunning time lapse that automatically syncs to a cloud service. Or broadcasting from conventions on a budget. And so on...

Also you in fact have two cams on your phone that always stay at the same distance. Virtual / Augmented Reality, anyone? Streaming to a VR headset?

Fun coincidence: We've just hosted our first Periscope session on smartphone filmmaking today, I'll see if I can find the URL to the recording....

In the meantime you can watch 8 minutes of making-of goodness on shooting with an iPhone: http://bit.ly/BaloonShortBTS

June 18, 2015 at 6:39PM

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Manuel Imboden
Producer
263

Neat idea but doesn't make sense for the price point. Pay a little bit more and get a Panasonic LX100. Keep it in your pocket, have a great Leica zoom lens, an MFT sensor, and be able to shoot 4k video on a whim. No iPhone required.

Now if this thing was like $50 to $100... maybe. Even then, if you're serious about your on-the-go photography just get a compact camera.

June 18, 2015 at 7:01PM, Edited June 18, 7:01PM

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Gordon Ian Green
Producer, Director, Writer, Editor
86

I see the how...I don't see the why...There is no way this will sell well at it's price.

June 18, 2015 at 7:22PM

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I'm with everyone else on this $600.00 is too much for this thing.
It's not even a new idea, if I "only" had a choice of buying this or Sony QX1 I would buy the QX1.

On the brighter note it seems to have a really good IQ and DR for what it is, but we are looking at small images. Can't really judge the quality unless we see the bigger image or RAW.

June 18, 2015 at 8:08PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
1672

What about the audio? Does the camera attachment have a built in mic? I looked at the website and see no details about that.

June 18, 2015 at 11:10PM, Edited June 18, 11:10PM

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Jeff 4 Justice
YouTuber, Video Editor
210

I wonder if it would work w/ Filmic Pro? That would be interesting. The $600.00 price point seems a bit much. Maybe DXO knows something we don't.

June 18, 2015 at 11:46PM, Edited June 18, 11:46PM

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I also wonder about the ergonomics and how strong it is, I could see it ruining your lightning port with it.

June 19, 2015 at 8:00AM

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Gerbert Floor
DP / Director / Camera / Editor
325

What's really exciting is that this product even exists, hopefully inspiring competitors and models compatible with Android phones. That could influence the price, which would make it a more reasonable purchase than a less expensive DSLR.

June 19, 2015 at 10:35AM, Edited June 19, 10:35AM

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I was with you all the way until that price tag of $600. I think the DxO One will remain on my wish list for a while. =(

June 19, 2015 at 10:55AM, Edited June 19, 10:55AM

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Great Idea... But for 6 bills? Good post though

June 19, 2015 at 11:06AM, Edited June 19, 11:06AM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1034

Good product, but $600? Lets wait for the Chinese version :P

June 19, 2015 at 12:55PM

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Bob Omulo
DOP
171

This would fit really well for a vlogger that wants to have a more portable, but higher quality video.... assuming the video is good too. No vlogger wants to be running around turing a big dslr selfy style and talking to it. Putting this on my phone would be sweet.

June 19, 2015 at 1:10PM, Edited June 19, 1:10PM

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Kyson Kidd
Youtuber
152

You bring up a good point. I believe the market for this type of "add-on" for an iPhone is exactly what a vlogger/blogger would be in the market for. You see so many of them already that have mentioned having to upgrade to a DSLR, and then lament about not really understanding the settings, understandably. If the video quality is comparable, this would definitely be my choice as that type of consumer.

June 19, 2015 at 2:46PM

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Stephanie Dzieglo
Editor
172

There's one really niche category it might work for: short film competitions that require you to shoot on a smartphone. Or any project that you want to shoot on phone (music video, wedding video) just for the glory/novelty of being able to say you did it.

Seeing that it's a separate camera, maybe that takes the mickey out of the rules a bit. But it's not so far off from adding Zacuto rigging or iPhone to EF lens adapters or other overkill stuff.

June 19, 2015 at 6:17PM

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Adrian Tan
Videographer
889

It could be an interesting B-Cam, but they would have to open up the API's to other app developers (like ProCam or MoviePro) to make it worthwhile.

June 19, 2015 at 10:18PM

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Tony Tibbetts
Director/Cinematographer/Editor
754

What goes through my head?

For a vlogger/smartphone addict this might be interesting. Does it have a mic?

The price is the only thing that makes me wonder IF people will buy it. If it was around 200/300 usd it would appeal to a much larger market.

You still need large pockets to carry it and how will it resist to damage of being in a pocket (coins, keys, getting squished)?

How/ will it work if you have a phone case?

June 20, 2015 at 5:20AM

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gandulf charpentier
director of pornography
628

These samples look great! Taking iPhonographers to the next level, which is what I love about technology.

June 22, 2015 at 11:34AM, Edited June 22, 11:34AM

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Tim Ryan
Filmmaker
253

I'm surprised by just how nice those sample photos are. I've just come off the back of shooting a feature and all my behind the scenes photos taken on an iPhone kinda suck. But with that little fella in my pocket I could take some lovely location photos and what looks like a pretty good quality. I defo wouldn't have wanted my DSLR in my pocket while on set.

Does anyone know if there is an Android version of this for a Sony Xperia?

June 23, 2015 at 6:15AM

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