Quick Review: Apple iPhone 5 Camera

Summary

As we mentioned in the introduction to this article, the iPhone in its various iterations, has become (quite unexpectedly) one of the most popular digital cameras ever invented. We've come a long way since the craptacular 2MP obscuroscopes offered by the early models, to the point where the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 actually offer genuinely useful image quality that in favourable conditions, is hard to tell apart from the output from 'proper' cameras.

This graph shows the most popular cameras used by customers of Flickr.com, one of the world's largest photo sharing websites. This graph is generated from Flickr's analysis of the device ID embedded in images that are uploaded to the site.

It's important to note that smartphones don't always identify themselves in the EXIF data of their photographs, so some smartphone models are no doubt under-represented in this graph (which Flickr freely admits) but the popularity of the iPhone 4 and 4S among photographers is undeniable. 

This is great news for people like us who write about digital photography, because it signals a paradigm shift. This doesn't happen often, and it's very exciting when it does. Already, we're seeing mainstream camera manufacturers scrabbling to add connectivity to their products, and it's not just desperation that's making them do it. If the iPhone, and devices like it, have had a transformative effect on the industry it's because they've had a transformative effect on peoples' expectations of cameras, and photography. And the industry is doing what it always does - moving to fulfill a need.  

The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and - crucially - it is supremely easy to use. It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare). When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn't with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display. 

We'll be taking more pictures with the iPhone 5, and doing more testing in the coming weeks. Until then, we hope you enjoy this gallery of real-world samples.

Real-world Sample Images

There are 35 images in our Apple iPhone 5 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.

Apple iPhone 5 Review Samples - published Oct 1, 2012

Comments

Total comments: 119
vsk_suresh
By vsk_suresh (Nov 2, 2012)

There is a Fix for the Purple Haze, Just rotate the phone upside down and shoot it as normal, the purple haze is gone. :-) I tried it and and wanted to let all of you know...

0 upvotes
Howzer
By Howzer (Oct 24, 2012)

Now that the iPhone 5 has been shipped for a while it would be interesting to hear more from the owners. Is it really as bad as the samples in the Quick Review?

0 upvotes
MDW
By MDW (Oct 16, 2012)

For the iPhone 5 lens, does anyone know what the equivalent focal length in mm be for full frame (i.e. is it a 35 mm slightly wide angle view)?

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 19, 2012)

33mm equiv, according to its EXIF

3 upvotes
dpfan32
By dpfan32 (Oct 9, 2012)

I dont know why you get such a good 4S results but on my iPhone 5 the image quality is 1000 times better than on my 4S:

iPhone 5
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41150345@N06/8012508872/in/set-72157631596179974/

iPhone 4S
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41150345@N06/6243570510/in/set-72157627766596659

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
ToTheEnd
By ToTheEnd (Oct 10, 2012)

Dude, nice comparison but I regret you took a long time between pictures. By the clouds, anyone can see that light, color, etc. was very different from on pic to another.

0 upvotes
fow
By fow (Oct 9, 2012)

http://www.telekom-presse.at/bilder/IP5-vs-IP4s-violett.jpg

0 upvotes
1androiddreaming
By 1androiddreaming (Oct 8, 2012)

I found Apple's response to this issue quite funny -- because it's true! They're telling people to do what Barney recommends here: "Really, our advice is not to worry. Just do what you should do anyway, and avoid putting bright lights near the edge of the frame when shooting."

0 upvotes
Thinkman
By Thinkman (Oct 7, 2012)

The bigger problem is that pointing any lens at the sun can permanently damage the camera's imaging sensor. SO STOP POINTING YOUR CAMERAS AT THE SUN!

2 upvotes
MichaelEchos
By MichaelEchos (Oct 10, 2012)

You should add "in my opinion".

2 upvotes
johnmcpherson
By johnmcpherson (Dec 24, 2012)

It's not an opinion. Leave a sensor pointing at the sun for any length of time and you run serious risk or ruining the sensor.
The same thing can happen to your eyes.
Also, do not point a laser, even low powered, into the sensor, or your eyes.

1 upvote
TimR-Niagara
By TimR-Niagara (Oct 7, 2012)

checking out the pano of the Virginia V ship (IMG_0123), I notice the pano rendering made the bow of the ship thin as a razor blade... could swear I could get a paper cut on it lol

0 upvotes
Infms
By Infms (Oct 6, 2012)

"In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now)"

Surprisingly, the 24 month old Nokia N8 still holds this honor too. With the general consensus being:

#1 Nokia 808
#2 Nokia N8
#3 Galaxy S3/iPhone 5/etc.

2 upvotes
MichaelEchos
By MichaelEchos (Oct 10, 2012)

iPhone 4S/5 is better than S3 actually.

1 upvote
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

i am not sure about #3 for neither

0 upvotes
smartImaging
By smartImaging (Oct 6, 2012)

The flare explanation is not necessary correct to me. Flare usually causes two kinds of artifacts. One is adding haziness to the whole image. The other is creating artifacts alike the ghost of lens' shape. Neither applied to iphone 5 purple images. Flare won't turn blue into purple. Purple means lack of green, which is closely related to luminance channel. If you check the purple haze of the images reported on CNN. The purple pixels are about [255 150 255] in sRGB space. So the luminance channel is somehow not preserved in final output image. Given purple haze happens at over-exposed area, it's odd that green channel is the lowest, while the B/R are saturated. I suspect there can be a bug in iphone 5 's camera image signal processing pipeline / algorithms. There might be something related to inappropriate handling of signal range during image processing that causes unwanted signal clipping.

1 upvote
Megumix
By Megumix (Oct 4, 2012)

Thanks Thanks Thanks!
This article is just what i was looking for.
upgrading from my iphone4
DPReview - i owe you a beer!

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 4, 2012)

I'll hold you to that! Thanks :)

1 upvote
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Oct 5, 2012)

Barney, could you explain the Face on Mars for us? Especially as it improved over the years. Two beers for you!

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (Oct 4, 2012)

The panorama's are pretty darn amazing ... from a PHONE camera !!! Download the Original File size and Magnify that:

http://masters.galleries.dpreview.com.s3.amazonaws.com/2245023.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=14Y3MT0G2J4Y72K3ZXR2&Expires=1349336661&Signature=ZUuLnDXq3xDOtG3AJJREMTO0ouo%3d

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

Photosynth from M$

0 upvotes
Hector1980
By Hector1980 (Oct 4, 2012)

Excuse my ignorance, but can anyone explain pixel binning and ISO in more detail?

As I understand it, ISO in a digital camera is the sensitivity of the sensor to light. So if the iPhone 5 sensor is not any more sensitive to light than the 4S, how does it achieve a higher ISO with pixel binning?

(As an aside, Camera+ for iPhone was updated to use the higher ISO)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (Oct 4, 2012)

As I understand it, pixel binning is a software feature that combines adjacent pixels as if they were one larger pixel. A pixel of any given size has a dynamic range largely dependant upon the size of the pixel so, if three adjacent pixels are combined with a single pixel to form one of an equivalent 4x the area, the dynamic range is enhanced and with the potential for a corresponding reduction in digital noise.

In theory, then, this larger "pixel" should exhibit less noise and therefore a higher ISO setting should be possible for a given noise threshold.

"Binning" therefore does not mean the pixels are discarded, but it does reduce the resolution. In my example, if a 2x2 array of pixels are combined on a 16 megapixel sensor, the "effective" resolution becomes 4 megapixels. So the "binning" refers more to the loss of 12meg of resolution as the trade off for higher dynamic range and less noise.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Hector1980
By Hector1980 (Oct 5, 2012)

Ok, but wouldn't that serve more to reduce noise?

0 upvotes
Freedom
By Freedom (Oct 4, 2012)

The options in terms of photography are endless. Please don't forget: Additionally the iPhone's cam is a…

— live TV camera (you can broadcast via UStream, try that with a compact or any other camera)
— slow motion, time lapse and tilt shift cam (software)
— photo camera (with TONS of great apps for editing, effects, collages, filters…)
— barcode scanner (saves a lot of money)
— QR code scanner
— document scanner (optical character recognition apps)
— facetime camera
— video conference tool
— loupe (esp. iPad)!
— mirror (frontside camera)
— augmented reality tool (social apps, sky explorer, games)

SD card reader (adapter). Organizer (check out 'Photo Manager Pro'). ExifRemover. There are pretty good remote control apps for Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Have your viewfinder on an iPad!

Connect and simultaneously record from up to EIGHT devices linked over WiFi (app "Video Camera"). The iPad can be used as a pretty good softbox. Have a look at 'SoftBox Pro für iPad'. ‘Action Movie FX’.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

and don't forget that there are phones that do those things and more a lot smoother (QR codes on windows phone, nokia city lens etc)

0 upvotes
dlapuma
By dlapuma (Oct 3, 2012)

Great review- thanks! As an owner of the iPhone 4s and previous owner of a Nikon D70, I can honestly say that the best things about this cameraphone are the optical quality of the camera and the versitility brought about via the many apps for shooting photos and videos. I've been using the camera to take photos through my 20-60x spotting scope (a process called Digiscoping), have been shooting video in slow motion (using the SloPro app), adding peripheral microphones for professional-level audio (via the awesome FiRe field recording app and an assortment of mics ranging from the Fostex AR-4i cradle to a modified miniplug adapter and a Sennheiser shotgun mic), and the list goes on. You can see some of my first digiscoping results in a quick write-up I put together here:
http://www.woodcreeper.com/2012/09/18/the-new-kowa-iphone-digiscoping-adapter/

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 3, 2012)

Why there is no Samsung phone on the chart? They supposed to be more popular than iPhone. Maybe Samsung phone users are less interested in photography.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
crateish
By crateish (Oct 3, 2012)

Note the title of the article.

1 upvote
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 3, 2012)

I mean Frickr Community chart on page 5.

0 upvotes
EricoftheNorth
By EricoftheNorth (Oct 6, 2012)

Because there is approx 10,000,000,000 models of samsung phones that, in aggregate, are more popular then the 1 iPhone model. Plus people who use the samsung phones tend to be less social and more geeky, less likely to use flikr and other sites like it.

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Oct 3, 2012)

Why is the studio scene picture taken with a tighter cropping than normally? Like this it is hard to compare the resolution with other cameras.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 3, 2012)

The iPhone's framing isn't 100% accurate, we can't zoom in to check critical alignment, and the fixed focal length means we're shooting from mere inches away from the scene, which causes distortion that messes with the framing. We're working on a much larger studio comparison scene, which will allow us to more easily compare large and small-format cameras.

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Oct 4, 2012)

Thanks Barney, you are doing really good work there at DPR!

One thing that I have been wondering about is that when you test lenses shouldn't you shoot studio scenes with a couple of different focusing distances, since lenses behave differently depending on the focus distance. Well yeah, I know things get complicated, and that would require you to have a pretty big scene there! :)!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 4, 2012)

Lenses are tested in an entirely different way, with a totally distinct methodology to take into account the issues that you've mentioned.

0 upvotes
nicco
By nicco (Oct 3, 2012)

Mr Britton,

re Purple flare:

I wonder how the HDR settings were set during the test. I have found that the flare character is completely different with the HDR setting off. What you have shown is consistent, in my experience, with HDR on.
With HDR off you can expose correctly on the darker area with little flare or correctly on the bright end with a petal shaped flare.
Using ProHDR, the flare is different again, but not entirely attractive either.

It may be worth examining this more thoroughly than I have and deciding whether to include it in an edit of the review.

And, for what it's worth, I think a review of one of the most widely used cameras is as valid a function of DPReview as reviewing a Leica M9, that only 4 real people can afford, and whom are unlikely to be affected in their decision by reading the site for its opinion....
;-)

1 upvote
chj
By chj (Oct 3, 2012)

The low light tests really have to be improved. One might have a fairly good impression of the iPhone's low light ability from this review. But look at IMG_0065. It's TERRIBLE.

0 upvotes
camera fan not photographer

No specs in an entire 5-page camera review? No sensor size. No focal length. No aperture. Huh? Just because it's a phone doesn't mean the camera fundamentals are suddenly not important.

2 upvotes
BaconBit
By BaconBit (Oct 4, 2012)

I would argue that it does. 99.99% of people using this phone to snap pics could not care less about sensor size or focal length or aperture (and BTW, aperture is 2.4). Why would they? How does that impact their snapshots? Only a really serious photographer would care, and what kind of serious photographer would be using a cell phone in such a way anyway? That isn't what it's designed for.

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (Oct 4, 2012)

You need to update ... a lot of "serious" photographers are using their iPhones to produce beautiful work. Look at sites like: http://mashable.com/2010/10/30/iphone-photography-websites/

0 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Oct 2, 2012)

What does the X-axis represent in the graph:

MOST POPULAR CAMERAS in FLICKR COMMUNITY

Surely it must be time, but what units?

Please avoid this common mistake of not giving us the most basic and must have information to really understand what information is presented.

Thanks,

Dan

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 3, 2012)

It's because one with iPhone uploaded 100 snapshots a day.

1 upvote
GlenL
By GlenL (Oct 3, 2012)

If you click on the graph, then you'll see Flickr's explanation of the X-axis. Spend some time researching before you start yelling at people.

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Oct 2, 2012)

Why the reviewer says there is little to pick between the 5 and 4s, I totally fail to understand...
I mean... look at the first picture, it's pretty obvious:

The 4s has a lot more DR. It's screaming in the highlights whilst in the shadows they are pretty much close.

The 4s has also a lot of over-sharpening halos, look at the rails. Heck, looking at the buoy I even thought it was purple fringing.

Come on, if you don't spot these issues at first sight you shouldn't be doing reviews...

3 upvotes
whyamihere
By whyamihere (Oct 2, 2012)

I totally fail to understand why you think that's what the reviewer is saying.

I'm looking at the first images, and I'm seeing effectively the same image with a little more smoothing in the 5 vs 4S, and a slightly more yellowish tinge to the overall photo.

The second images are also effectively the same deal: More smoothing on the 5 vs 4S.

If you're spotting these issues and complaining, it's pretty obvious that you've ignored the conclusion where the authors effectively state, "They use the same sensor, but the iPhone 5 gets one that's been binned to handle higher ISO, and there's more smoothing going on." I read that as, "It's a good camera when you consider that it comes attached to a phone."

By the way, you're getting worked up over a camera that's attached to a phone. I'm not buying a smartphone based on it's optical performance, and few people in their right mind would. Would you buy the Nokia Pure 808 for the camera? I hope not, because it's a terrible phone.

1 upvote
krloz
By krloz (Oct 3, 2012)

Well, I for one have replaced my iPhone 4s with a Nokia 808 Pureview 2 months ago and have never looked back. I am very happy with 808's performance as a phone. Certainly way better than the iPhone 4S in some key phone aspects for me (ie call quality, signal reception, battery life, Maps and GPS). On the camera front, the 808 blows the iPhone out of the water, both for stills and hd videos.
Definitely it is an acquired taste UX wise, but easy to get used to.
But if apps is your thing more than mobile photography or long lasting battery to power phone functions, than an iPhone or any android device is better suited.

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Peter62
By Peter62 (Oct 2, 2012)

German STIFTUNG WARENTEST (leading independent product test organisation) rated the iPhone 5's _video_ capabilities clearly ABOVE the Nokia 808.

1 upvote
Stevan G
By Stevan G (Oct 2, 2012)

link us we are curious to see that :)

3 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Oct 3, 2012)

Who cares? Everyone who ever has read one of the camera test from this magazine knows that they have as much clue about cameras as a pig about bicycling.

2 upvotes
Waffelbcker
By Waffelbcker (Oct 8, 2012)

That might be because the iPhone weighs less than the Nokia and thus causes less damage when it falls on your head. Or it might be because the font size in the manual is bigger. Or it might be because the video record button is easier to press for people with Parkinson's. Or it might be because of some other obscure reason. When it comes to new tech, Stiftung Warentest is far from being the place to refer to nowadays. They know about refrigerators and lawn-mowers and they should stick to that.

Btw their tests are behind a paywall, so no useful links are available. Plus their tests don't even make it on the net illegally, this is how bad Stiftung Warentest has become :)

0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

i think it is too independent. Independent of common sens too

0 upvotes
JesperMP
By JesperMP (Oct 2, 2012)

Most users probably couldnt care less about manually tweaking ISO, WB, exposure compensation etc.
But for me easy access to these things is a must.

1 upvote
Lawrencew
By Lawrencew (Oct 2, 2012)

Where's the review of the HDR and Panorama Modes?

0 upvotes
zoranT
By zoranT (Oct 2, 2012)

Just put Nokia's N8 or 808 samples next to it, just a different league I d say. Comparisons have been posted on the internet many times. iPhone is not about the camera, it is about the package. The two Nokia's are not about the package, they are about the camera.

14 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Oct 2, 2012)

Put Galaxy S3 next to it. It's like Night (samsung) and Day (apple).

3 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Oct 2, 2012)

Here, I'll save you the trouble: http://www.gsmarena.com/piccmp.php3?idType=3&idPhone1=4910&idPhone2=4238&idPhone3=4577

The Nokia trashes everything else. Between the S3 and the i5 (mostly like it was between the i4s and i5 and apart from DR) it's a matter of taste for NR and sharpening.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
bradleyg5
By bradleyg5 (Oct 2, 2012)

Based on your results, I have a hard time stomaching that there is any improvement in any shooting conditions over the iPhone 4s.

You didn't do side by sides in the low light shooting conditions, you showed the iPhone 5 but not what a iPhone 4s would do in the same situation.

I don't think your conclusion is supported in the content of the review. The 5 just looks softer and handles flare noticeably worse.

1 upvote
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Oct 2, 2012)

Actually reading the review and you would know iPhone 4s do not do ISO800+.

1 upvote
backayonder
By backayonder (Oct 2, 2012)

Nice review but I would like to see comparison figures for which phone camera has the worse camera shake when phone sat on cafe table and ringtone set to vibrate.

0 upvotes
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (Oct 2, 2012)

It's tough to say... The iPhone 4S had a linear vibration motor which would cause motion along the axis of the lens resulting in less motion blur caused by camera movement across the frame than the rotational vibrator in the iPhone 5. However, this is just speculation.

2 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (Oct 2, 2012)

Speculation but believable to some

1 upvote
megaresp
By megaresp (Oct 2, 2012)

Thanks for this review Barney. Can't wait to see the multi-phone comparison.

1 upvote
Sasparilla
By Sasparilla (Oct 2, 2012)

Nice review and excellent analysis on the flare that's been caught up on the tech sites - really nice job taking the time to show and explain it. Hats off to you guys.

Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of photo's from the iPhone 5 in the future as well.

1 upvote
Slava Rivkin
By Slava Rivkin (Oct 2, 2012)

Please dpreview, I think we are all dying to see a pixel-by-pixel comparason between an iphone and the d800e...
But please - only after the full d600 review. 6d would be nice as well.

1 upvote
lightandday
By lightandday (Oct 2, 2012)

Yes please - drop everything - very important !

1 upvote
Mrrowe8
By Mrrowe8 (Oct 2, 2012)

Stop this crap about "what about this phone or that " no one owns those phones ! They suck , just fact .. no one unless they are trying to make a bigger the statement of how anti-apple they are .,so DP is doing the rt thing by reviewing I-phone to I-phone ... And the douchetard that said a point and shoot is cheaper and better , c'mon man stop that crap to cause labor camp comment disqualified any of ur other ignorant statements .. The IPhone like it or not is changing photography as an art and is the death bell of ur cheap point and shoot cameras ...that is not a pipe dream it's a fact

8 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Oct 2, 2012)

+1

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 3, 2012)

+2

0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

"The IPhone like it or not is changing photography as an art " - what are you on?

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Oct 2, 2012)

Looking at the Flickr data....where's Nikon, Sony, Pentax?!
3 Canon cameras taking top 5 positions.

0 upvotes
Mike99999
By Mike99999 (Oct 2, 2012)

Canon is hip. Everyone has a Canon, no matter how dreadful their sensors are...

6 upvotes
Mike Griffin
By Mike Griffin (Oct 2, 2012)

So true

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Oct 2, 2012)

Nikon users are busy comparing ISO25600 shots of a brick walls.
Sony users are minority, and there are no Pentax users what so ever. If you ever seen a Pentax user - it was a ghost of a long-dead system user.

2 upvotes
Nerdlinger
By Nerdlinger (Oct 2, 2012)

I'm a Pentax user you D***BEATER. Not everybody paid at the door of the Canon/Nikon temple. I will take my better priced, better performing camera any day of the week. Thank you very little.

0 upvotes
Peter62
By Peter62 (Oct 2, 2012)

CANON rules! Their sensors are superior to those from NIKON and the rest. Only the new OM-D-EM5 is a remarkable exception from this rule!

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Oct 3, 2012)

Flickr data is interesting indeed. Why no Galaxy phones? They supposed to be as popular as iPhone.

0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 10, 2012)

have tried to browse iphone pictures on flickr?

0 upvotes
Vegasus
By Vegasus (Oct 2, 2012)

Dear dpreview, Good review, can't wait to own one, I don't see the point making comparison with other phones e.g. Galaxy S3, or others in this forum, unless dpreview make a new category like " dpreview mobile phone " where u guys talk about camera phones only. I think the word " camera " means a lot of things nowadays. .......

0 upvotes
liin
By liin (Oct 2, 2012)

As much as I love Apple, unless there's a major breakthrough announced, I would rather see other cameras being tested, SLRs or compact.

Flickr uploads is a very bad gauge of shutter frequency per camera or duration of camera on the hand of their users. SLR users tend to upload only a select few of a day's shoot, or outing. iPhone uploads tend to be massive, without filtering, like 2 photos of every plate they ordered that dinner, or a sequence of their kids that's close enough to be animated in gifs. So the volume upload does not speak of users and their shutter presses, or time spent handing the camera.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Oct 2, 2012)

One thing that'd be interested in this when you get a chance to expand on this and perhaps bring in the Androids is what effect the screen has on the viewing of images. In a portable space, these photos are often shared and viewed right on the phones and the screen has an impact. I've been pulling photos from the DSLR, processing them on LR on a calibrated screen and then when shared on the iPhone 4S (or older iPad) they look ... most un-goodest.

I know this doesn't directly affect the camera, but I think most phone users view the photos on the device. I'm guessing that even if the photo from the 4S and 5 are identical from the camera they look better on the 5's screen.

0 upvotes
StevenE
By StevenE (Oct 2, 2012)

Shouldn't you be comparing the iPhone camera to other smart phone cameras like the Galaxy S3.

I expect the 5 to be better than the 4 and 4S, but is it better than the competition?

Who cares about reviews of current cameras to see if they are better than the older technology? This only happens to Apple products.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

As I say somewhere in the comments on this article or the news story, we will do that. There's more content in the pipeline.

7 upvotes
Sasparilla
By Sasparilla (Oct 2, 2012)

Yeah, you have to read the story before commenting - they mention in it they will have a more lengthy review coming with comparisons to other smart phone camera's.

3 upvotes
NeilBart
By NeilBart (Oct 2, 2012)

Thanks for an informative review DPR.

The camera world has changed. The viewing of images in Albums on the iPad and at Flickr and similar sites has overtaken the old family photo album. The 8 by 10 inch print for a photo frame is no longer a test of a family cameras competence. If the Smartphone camera is a bit slow for action, then turn on the video on the Smartphone for the magic moments. These are the facts of life for family photography in the digital age of converged devices.

And the web is replacing colour print magazines with lower quality images at 72 rather than 300 dpi suitable; indeed 72 dpi is the standard. Location opportunity will continue to produce the best images for 24 hour news on the web.

Another area where the Smartphone camera is proving a winner is the capture of images alongside text for business use in home inspections, asset tracking, safety audits and many other applications. Check out Mobile Data Studio for that use at http://www.creativitycorp.com

2 upvotes
megaresp
By megaresp (Oct 2, 2012)

> And the web is replacing colour print magazines with
> lower quality images at 72 rather than 300 dpi suitable;
> indeed 72 dpi is the standard.

Unless the photo is being viewed on a recent smartphone or tablet. The iPhone 5's own screen delivers > 300pdi for example.

1 upvote
NeilBart
By NeilBart (Oct 2, 2012)

Megaresp makes a valid point re viewing of images on Smartphones and Tablets. Increasingly the images are both being captured on a Smartphone and viewed on somebody elses Smartphone or Tablet. Either direct or via web pages. For most such viewing the mobile device screen is relatively small, between 3.5 and 10 inch. Thus both dpi and 'pixel peeping' detail are irrelevant for most digital imaging in a mobile world.

The main point in my initial comment relates to the practical business use of cameras in Smartphones to capture images alongside other business-related data for reports. They work well with software that combines the two.

As a 'gadgeteer', I should add that recreationally I currently enjoy Canon G1X and Canon S100, and also have DSLRs. But either the iPhone 4S or Galaxy Note is always in my pocket. I look forward to testing the new Samsung Galaxy Camera (run in Android 4.1) with Mobile Data Studio.

1 upvote
dale thorn
By dale thorn (Oct 2, 2012)

Good scoop on the pixel binning.

6 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

It's pretty clever, we have to assume it's pixel binning of some kind. Definitely the most usable binned output I can remember seeing though, and the IQ is good enough for web/social use, which is the point.

3 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 2, 2012)

Why do you have all the time to do review for a crippled camera wannabee like iPhone and then not do a review for superzoom cams that are already out for almost a year now?

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

We don't have all the time - we put this article together in about 3 working days (including weekend time). That's much much less time than a full review of a conventional camera takes.

To address your main point though, when something has been out for almost a year I'd respectfully (and regretfully) say that it's not worth reviewing, but I'm curious about which product/s you mean?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 2, 2012)

So X-S1, SX40 and HS30 are not worth reviewing? They are at par if not better than what you have reviewed so far.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

Two points here - firstly, you know how small the team here is. We can't review everything. Actually, our review remit is much wider now than it was, but still, we can't hope to get everything covered.

Secondly, if for whatever reason we haven't reviewed something almost a year after it's been reviewed, there's very little point in reviewing it. We'd serve everyone better by reviewing the next version. Sometimes we won't be able to, but that's life. See point 1, above ;)

bb

8 upvotes
tlinn
By tlinn (Oct 2, 2012)

It's also worth pointing out that reviewing the number one source of photographic images on many major websites is more relevant than reviewing another of the many iterations of p/s cameras even if the iPhone 5 offers inferior image quality—which, clearly, it does. The thing sold 5 million copies in less than a week!

7 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Oct 2, 2012)

jcmarfilph Why woul'd you wanna read reviews of cameras you obviously already own (according to your gear list)?
I mean, you already bought them and used them, you must have formed an oppinion of your own by now?
You wan't to know if you made the right choice or what? If you're happy with your cameras, why do you care about an unwritten review?
So many questions.. :)

1 upvote
Jen Yates
By Jen Yates (Oct 2, 2012)

You don't understand there being some merit in reviewing the most popular 'camera' available at this point in time? (Based on the Flickr figures)?

Maybe because to address misconceptions that phones are 'crippled wannabee' cameras?

An iPhone isn't a superzoom, in the same way a superzoom isn't an SLR with pro glass.

Get over it and stop asking for reviews on obsolete camera models in a segment of the industry that the is diminishing because through improvements in technology, camera phones are growing in popularity.

2 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 2, 2012)

@JazzMasta:

It's not the camera I want per se but other more important and real camera that they should be reviewing. 3 days is too much to spend for a device like this. I bet it will not take an hour or two to do a side-by-side comparison of the recent superzoom cameras.

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Oct 2, 2012)

@Jen:

Most popular camera? Lol, Flickr is full of garbage shots from different phone cameras and the most of em from iPhones.

It's surprising that DPR skipped HS20, HS30 and now X-S1. I bet they will review FZ200 really soon.

1 upvote
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Oct 2, 2012)

@ jcmarfilph
Why would anyone want to read a comparison between smartphone and superzoom? I can see a RX100 vs. smartphone comparison but what you suggested made no sense.

0 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Oct 3, 2012)

That´s because DPreview has lost their nimbus in being the no.1 camera review site some time ago. If you want to read reviews of real cameras without every 2nd article being about a smartphone or other not really photography related devices you have to look elsewhere. There were times when I could check DPreview about most cameras I considered buying but today they review only a minor fraction of them. That´s sad. So I rather look elsewhere. Competition isn´t sleeping, there are a lot of photography review sites that stick to real cameras, doing a lot of reviews that are better than DPreviews ones. One of them is run by only one man who has done more reviews than big DPreview with their team of 14 people. Strange, not?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 3, 2012)

@Lupti - we're publishing more camera reviews than ever before. Check your facts.

1 upvote
makofoto
By makofoto (Oct 4, 2012)

And we live in a glorious time when there are so many new cameras, with every increasing quality and features ... that the reviewers can't review every one.

0 upvotes
Vernatropius
By Vernatropius (Oct 1, 2012)

Barney.

Can you make comparisons to Samsung GS3?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 1, 2012)

Peer comparisons will come, this is a short piece meant to examine the performance of the iPhone 5 in the context of its predecessors.

2 upvotes
RadPhoto
By RadPhoto (Oct 1, 2012)

I just got my iPhone5 10 min ago:-) thanks for the review

2 upvotes
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Oct 2, 2012)

Q: How do you know if a guy has an iPhone?
A: He tells you.

;)

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

Yep, funny when Zach Braff tweeted it first. Sort of....

1 upvote
JazzMasta
By JazzMasta (Oct 3, 2012)

My bad, I forgot, jokes are only funny if the original author tells it..

0 upvotes
jjlmoose
By jjlmoose (Oct 1, 2012)

Barney,
I always enjoy reading your reviews and this one was in perfect time as I should have my iphone5 delivered tomorrow. Thank you for the comprehensive review and samples.

While the iphone may not take top honors in the camera department right now, the samples are certainly nothing to laugh about. I can't think of another camera thats a little over a quarter inch thick, has an ISO range of 50-3200, has touchscreen controls with tap to focus, weighs a few ounces and gives you countless options to edit photos and videos and then post them online or send them to anyone in the world...oh, and its a phone too! Truly an amazing time we live in.

I know it's been touched on with the iPad but I would love to see a review of some of the editing options focused specifically on iphone users running iOS6.

Thanks again.

8 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

Thanks! Glad you like it. And worry not - all of (or some of) your dreams will come true, very soon :)

3 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Oct 1, 2012)

Dear Barney,
I am sorry you had to explain again that the accessory reviews are done by someone else, I didn't follow that close enough to know.
But this time your name is on the top of the reveiw and again I wonder why a phone camera (!!!) gets reviewed 1 week from its being released while there are 25 previews waiting.
I know, I don't pay anything for this site (not directly but with my visit you generate page views you sell), but still, as a regular visitor since 2002 I at least take the liberty to point it out.
I remember a time when compacts were out of the question and the site concentrated on the highest tier of cameras, now it's the IPhone, as popular as it may be.
Just my 2 cents.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 1, 2012)

I worked on this with our studio manager, Kelcey, partly over a weekend.

The reason there are so many previews waiting to be turned into reviews is primarily that we have very few reviewable cameras, yet (we don't review pre-production models). The production cameras that we have (Nikon D600 being a notable example) are being worked on. In fact, I published an update to that preview only a couple of days ago.

4 upvotes
GeorgeZ
By GeorgeZ (Oct 2, 2012)

Well obviously there are many new anouncments but what about the likes of Pana GF5, G5, LX7, Sony Alpha 37 or Fuji X-PRO1? They are all available.
Is the world's foremost site really unable to get those from the manufacturer or its parent amazon (which was said to be able to provide cameras faster back when Phil sold out)? Or, if eveything else fails, you could just go out and buy it, then sell it after the fact.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 2, 2012)

Ah, you've got all the solutions, haven't you, George? You're an ideas man. You missed something though - we did review the X-Pro 1, quite some time ago. We'll have an LX7 review ready very soon, and I'd love to review the other cameras that you mentioned. But we might not be able to. We can't do everything. Reviews take a huge amount of effort and we're a small team. Everyone has a pet camera that they want to see reviewed, sometimes they're disappointed. But we'll do all we can - as always.

2 upvotes
hiro_pro
By hiro_pro (Oct 3, 2012)

Do you ever start a review of a camera and become disappointed enough that you simply discard that review? just curious.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 3, 2012)

@hiro_pro - no, we've never done that. We've had to put reviews on extended hiatus when serious issues have come to light (the Fujifilm X10 review, for example, when Fuji committed, belatedly, to a sensor replacement program that took months) but we've never started a review and then stopped because we were uninspired.

1 upvote
RGBCMYK
By RGBCMYK (Oct 1, 2012)

It would be interesting to see a review of the sweep pano mode vs. apps panos.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 1, 2012)

We're working on a more in-depth and rounded review of the iPhone in the context of the marketplace. We fully intend to cover the panorama mode in that. There are some samples in the gallery attached to this review, too.

2 upvotes
kapanak
By kapanak (Oct 1, 2012)

Thank you, DPReview, for weighing in on the Purple Flare issue. A proper 'authority' in photography review world was required to bring real attention to the issue.

5 upvotes
fredtheflyer
By fredtheflyer (Oct 4, 2012)

Where did they weigh in on the purple flare issue? (The one I read about in the Gizmoto story.) I'm trying to find that. Can you please paste a link or the text of the comments?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 119