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DxO One review: A better camera for your iPhone

William Porter | Oct. 22, 2015
Camera add-on brings DSLR quality to the iPhone.

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iPhone 6 Plus, using flash. Credit: William Porter

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DxO One, handheld, in M capture mode. Shot with flash. To do this shot, I held the DxO One/iPhone 6 Plus so that the One was on the bottom and the iPhone on top. That meant that the flash (which comes from the phone) was coming down from above—much as it would if I were using a digital camera with a professional, detachable flash unit in the hot shoe. Processed with normal ‘fast’ noise reduction in DxO OP. Credit: William Porter

Image quality

Shooting with a DxO One instead of your iPhone won’t make you a better photographer. But if you know what you’re doing, it will help you get photos with above-average image quality. The photos I took with the DxO One were not just relatively noise free: they were technically excellent in every way (contrast, sharpness, tonality etc.). The color of the DxO One’s image is particularly noteworthy. Since the DxO One gives you 20 megapixels to play around with, your images will often look even better on your retina iPad or MacBook’s display than they do on your iPhone. And 20 megapixels means you can print large or crop fairly aggressively. On the other hand, 20 megapixels is overkill if all you ever do is share photos on social media.

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DxO One produces images with excellent color and texture. Credit: William Porter

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Color not quite right in this iPhone 6 Plus photo. There’s a yellow cast that wasn’t there in real life. And since the iPhone’s camera doesn’t generate a raw file, fixing color balance is trickier than it should be. Credit: William Porter

Realistically, the DxO One isn’t going to replace system cameras with even bigger sensors, bigger and better lenses, terrific viewfinders and/or better body-based ergonomics. But, while there’s never been a shortage of cameras that are much better than the camera in your iPhone, the DxO One is the first camera designed to be better for your iPhone. If you carry around a high-end compact camera like the Panasonic LX7 or the Sony RX100, you might find yourself leaving them at home more often, since you’ll have the DxO One with you always. And once you’ve got a DxO One in your pocket, I predict you’ll pull it out, plug it in and use it even for silly photos that the iPhone’s camera could have handled—that was my experience.

 

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