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Take Better Photos offers photographer's take on iPhone 5 capabilities

By dpreview staff on Sep 24, 2012 at 18:17 GMT

Take Better Photos has published an insightful look at the iPhone5, from a photographer's perspective. In keeping with the site's maxim that photography should be a joy, not a science exam, the article looks at how the latest handset behaves, compared to its predecessor (and compared to cameras including the Nikon D3). However, this photographic focus doesn't preclude some more technical detail about the new camera's program line and just how effective its 'dynamic low light mode' is.

Click here to read Take Better Photos' review of the iPhone5

Writer and photographer Dean Holland looks a the iPhone 5's additional features, which are worth investigating if you're thinking of moving to the new handset or planning to upgrade to iOS 6 to add the panorama function to your existing iPhone.

It's worth noting that the site is Australian, so any references to $ are Australian dollars (4% stronger than $US and 20% lower in value than one Euro).

Comments

Total comments: 231
12
MPA1
By MPA1 (Sep 25, 2012)

"But technical quality is only one type of quality. Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke of his camera as a “sketchpad” for recording intuition and spontaneity. He was constantly amused by what he saw as peoples' “insatiable craving” for sharpness."

A comment from the review that all Pixel Peepers should be reminded of!!

7 upvotes
writelight
By writelight (Sep 25, 2012)

Thank you. Pictures aren't taken in forums.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
DonaldHaines
By DonaldHaines (Sep 25, 2012)

What happens when we further blur the lines and the iPhone becomes the "tilt-swivel" screen on a wireless enabled DSLR?

3 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Sep 25, 2012)

My iPhone 5 should arrive this week so I can see for myself.

I use the camera as a visual note taker mainly - if I see a poster or magazine article or some such that I want to remember, I snap it and that reminds me to look it up later on.

Sometimes of course, your phone is the only camera you have - if I see Nessie or Lord Lucan, I won't be ashamed to capture the moment on my phone if that's all I have!

5 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Sep 25, 2012)

Indeed there are situations when phone can be the only camera you have and in certain sense the best camera is that one you have with you when needing camera.

But there's big difference in getting photo in one time only situation and that photo being actually usefull for something. And that's something never, ever acknowledged by these "Phones have already replaced all P&S compacts blah blah" consumer drones:
Resulting picture is probably maybe even hundred pixels in size because of lack of real optical zoom which is something almost all compacts have and soem even have very good zoom ranges.

0 upvotes
Bilgy_no1
By Bilgy_no1 (Sep 25, 2012)

@Esa Tuunanen
I think the fact is that more and more people do not buy a dedicated camera, but rather use their phone for documenting their city trips, social events or just something they see on the streets.

These pictures' usefulness depends on whether you can recognize the faces and if it looks pleasant in small web viewing. It will of course not suffice for anything professional, but that's not what people are looking for.

In the meanwhile, simple compact sales have been declining for years. People just use their phones instead.

1 upvote
markbonolac
By markbonolac (Sep 24, 2012)

Better to post photos your taking with you're phone/camera. Why are we talking about an iphone on a camera site.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
writelight
By writelight (Sep 25, 2012)

Actually, it's a photography website:>)

2 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 25, 2012)

do you not talk about film cameras and 'flip' type cameras here too. Is there a difference?

1 upvote
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 26, 2012)

Why not? It has a camera. As opposed to the software recently announced for which there were also articles, for instance. Did you complain about those even less "camera-y" articles?

0 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Sep 24, 2012)

I have not had a chance to try many of these phone cameras but i can say that after spending a lot of time with my wife's iPhone 4s, I have to say that I am completely underwhelmed. If you are outside, in good light and your target is stationary, then yeah it can rival a cheap point and shoot but we are light-years from these things replacing a dedicated camera.

Try taking an iphone it to your next indoor gathering and let me know if you agree. It feels like shooting ISO 1600 a decade ago.

0 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (Sep 24, 2012)

Since the QLD floods, the water there has produced some strange effects on some people. The author of this "review" should seek medical help. But, they do offer iPhone Photography Course through their WEB site, which tells a whole lot more.....So iPhone is finally at the level with for example Xperia Arc from 2011? Or I'm missing something here what I should be excited about (in hotogrpahjy terms)?

1 upvote
attomole
By attomole (Sep 24, 2012)

I had a 3s it was actually pleasingly bad, Fidelity does not necessarily produce great photographs.

1 upvote
writelight
By writelight (Sep 24, 2012)

For all the "whiners" out there: Just make sure your phone doesn't have a camera, but if it does, please disable it. ;>)

3 upvotes
idbar
By idbar (Sep 25, 2012)

Slippery slope when dpreview starts posting about a single device, because I want a fair comparison, not advertisement from a single brand. If I wanted to hear how good the glorified iPhoney is, this is probably not among my top sites.

3 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 25, 2012)

@ idbar
I am pretty sure there will be a review for Nokia 920

1 upvote
3DSimmon
By 3DSimmon (Sep 24, 2012)

iphone 5 is still way behind the pack, not overly impressed about it's camera at all, and the new panorama function?? has that not been around for years amongst the competition?, let's just hope they don't screw up the new maps in iOS 6, or?, hey wait a minute...

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 26, 2012)

Has the "competition" had built-in panorama functionality? Or through apps, which also the iPhone has had for years?

0 upvotes
Oery
By Oery (Sep 24, 2012)

I use camera to take picture
I use notebook/PC to do computing work
I use audio-player to listen music
and
I use phone to..... take a phone call
:)

8 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Sep 24, 2012)

Me too! So it really is annoying that there are so much articles about camera phones on a site about cameras. Really, they could release Iphone 6 or Nokia smartphone with 80MP, I´m not interested. Phones are phones and not cameras. There are photo forums that don´t allow any discussion about cameraphones because they aren´t dedicated photo devices. Wish DPreview would handle it this way, too.

3 upvotes
mmcfine
By mmcfine (Sep 24, 2012)

That's not what 99% of the planet think. phones are replacing P&P, just check the stats. Image quality for the average family/ user is plenty. Change the word 'phone' to something else "mini pc" or "handheld pc" and switch the way you think. The phone, the thing in your hand can ALSO make phone calls.

3 upvotes
pumeco
By pumeco (Sep 25, 2012)

@Oery
You are so right!

@Lupti
And so are you!

@mmcfine
The problem though, is people have no grasp of what damage these devices are doing to jobs, the economy, and our quality of life in general.

Take this review for example (yes, I read it). They state that the decline of real point and shoot camera sales are being blamed on these devices, well of course they are, just like the decline of music dealers along with their jobs the world over are being wiped-out because of these damned devices. Reviews such as this help it all along, help Apple sell yet more phones, and help other companies go to the wall as a consequence of it.

Comparing an iPhone to a Nikon D3; the problem is they are comparing it only on a basis where the iPhone is better, meaning there's going to be a bunch of retards doing the rounds on YouTube who will actually think their iPhone is better than a Nikon D3. I didn't see them comparing the bokeh of the iPhone though, where the Nikon would obviously have won.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 25, 2012)

@ pumeco
Did you just said technological advancement is damaging to the economy? Do you miss the day when Kodak sells consumable films? How about those poor coach builder and horse breeders?

2 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Sep 25, 2012)

Pumeco is right about all this BS hyping being harmfull to photography.

Sure phone can be used even for trying to take photo in one time only situation but there's big difference in having photo and it being really usefull. And that's something never acknowledged by these "Phones replaced P&S compacts blah blah" consumer drones.
Because of fixed focal length actual picture of target might be maybe even few hundred pixels in size because of lack of real optical zoom which is something almost all P&S compacts have and some compacts offering also >10x zoom ranges.

Also this hype about bigger sensor compacts often with fixed prime and mirrorless systems destroying need for P&S is full BS.
Like iPhone Sony RX1 is sure one the most overhyped cameras there is.
Neither can any mirrorless systems offer equally pocketable package with good zoom range.
So there's definitely firm place for few types of smaller sensor compacts.

We should be embracing diversity of cameras, not killing it!

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 27, 2012)

Ah "real optical zoom"... I guess all those photographers buying prime (non-zoom) lenses for their DSLRs have been fooled then.

0 upvotes
Snappy Happy
By Snappy Happy (Sep 24, 2012)

I'm shocked. The iPhone5 has worse image quality than the 4s! Heavy-handed noise reduction smears away detail. What makes you shake your head is that it doesn't even have a higher MP count.

6 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Sep 24, 2012)

Yup, the HDR comparison has bad leaf smearing - much worse than that of the 4S.

0 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Sep 25, 2012)

Yep, this is basically what marketroids declare as advance in cameras:
Having more heavily NR blurred pixels, with image outside center further blurred by stretching in software to cover up semi fisheye geometric distortion and image corner area noise pushed up to cover up bad vignetting.

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Sep 24, 2012)

BTW, these shots also show that there was something fundamentally wrong with the 4S in Gizmodo's comparison: http://gizmodo.com/5945262/iphone-5-camera-battle-is-it-the-best-smartphone-shooter

There, the 4S produced far worse results. Grease on the lens?

0 upvotes
Menneisyys
By Menneisyys (Sep 24, 2012)

The part on the low-light performance shows that there isn't any magic going on there in the iPhone 5, unfortunately... It justs amplifies the signal - which can equally be applied to the 4S shots - and the latter, after PP, are somewhat better.

0 upvotes
rockjano
By rockjano (Sep 24, 2012)

This comparison is plain stupid I think.

They compare the iPhone to a Nikon D3 and they feel that the iPhone is better.

They want the same depth of filed from the large sensor as with the tiny sensor of the iPhone so the crank up the iso to the max with the D3, and they find it noisy :-) Why don't they try to get shallow DOF with the iPhone good luck for that.

Anybody how shots seriously knows how much more a DSLR is than any small sensor cam. But they really rivals the compact crowd that is true.

2 upvotes
spaltzer
By spaltzer (Sep 24, 2012)

They did state that that particular comparison was heavily stacked in favor of the iPhone. I think it was a fun way to describe *one* particular scenario that the iphone might actually be better then a DSLR. Of course there are countless other scenarios that the iphone is much worse compared to a DSLR.

4 upvotes
idbar
By idbar (Sep 24, 2012)

The odd part of the comparison is that it turns all the nobs to make the iPhone picture looks better, and conveniently turns all the nobs to make the D3 pictures look bad. He had a 25k ISO with F/16, so when he moves to ISO 200, suddenly seems obvious to switch to F/22.

I'm guessing the author is playing mathematically with sensor size/ISO/aperture/shutter speed. But honestly, the D3 seems to me set to improper values.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rockjano
By rockjano (Sep 25, 2012)

I think the iPhone a great phone and it's cam is really great and remarkable. But to compare it to a very special tool like a D3 (or even to a D3100) is pointless, they are just sooo different.

Many people don't understand the difference and they don't understand why I can make a lot better photos than they can with their compacts and phones.

Lack of knowledge should not be spread.

It is great what you can do with the iPhone but it is not the same kind of photographic tool...

0 upvotes
KennethKwok
By KennethKwok (Sep 25, 2012)

A lot of people like shallow depth of field.
I, on the other hand, often appreciate a deep depth of field.
If I take a photo of five persons standing together,some a step forward, some a step backwards... it is difficult to have everyone's face in focus. And sometimes, we cannot direct our subjects to move.
I think the comparision is made for deep depth of field photos. I think that this is an amazing attribute for small sensor. Everything looks sharp.

The D3 was "twisted" to give a very deep depth of field. I have a D700, and I think it is hard to have deep depth of field, without tripod. Actually the same situation with the dynosaur photo here.
In here, I want the head and tail to both be sharp. I think having a small aperture is one of the few ways to achieve it.

2 upvotes
Dean Holland
By Dean Holland (Sep 25, 2012)

I don't think anyone is saying that a smartphone is better than a D3. It's not - for 99.999% of photos.

That's why I was so surprised to find one situation where it was: in dim indoor light of EV4, if you want equivalent depth-of-field to f/19 or more, and a shutter speed of 1/15s or shorter, the D3 can't match do it. It either gives worse image quality if you crank up the ISO (as I did), or shallower depth-of field, or a slower shutter speed. I expected that the better sensor of the D3 would be enough to overcome the 6-stop advantage of the iPhone at that depth of field, but I was wrong.

I wonder what format is currently the best at this type of challenge, where you want great depth of field and short shutter speeds? I'll speculate that micro-four-thirds or good compacts will do best, but I'd love to see someone test it!

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 24, 2012)

"Smartphones are a different type of brush for painting photos." What a dope! A box of crayons in a coloring book is more like it.

As a comparison: I think cooking should be fun, I have no desire to spend hours in the kitchen making everything from scratch and learning how to grow my own tomatoes in a garden & make my own flour from scratch. I LIKE it that you have quick & easy options, and I use them. Moreover, I eat the food & I enjoy it, I don't care how many cooking "purists" scoff at my "dinner in a bag" solutions. Not all of us are cut out for all of that, and it doesn't mean we should settle for yucky tasting food just because we don't all wear white hats and aprons & didn't graduate from culinary school.

But I'm not delusional enough to think I'm a chef, and I have no argument with those who seek to keep the distinctions obvious. I see no difference here.

4 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

Or another way of thinking of it; An iphone / any phone is possibly better than a dslr + lens for street photography. I would almost guarantee you could get more exciting, natural shots with a phone on a busy street than with a dslr.

3 upvotes
rockjano
By rockjano (Sep 24, 2012)

Try it at night time, one of the best time to get nice pictures.. Good luck for that...

2 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 24, 2012)

There's always mirrorless or a Sony RX100.

0 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

At night time ill use the GRD4 / RX100

0 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Sep 24, 2012)

1- if your meals consist of sandwiches with limited amount of ingredients your logic will work here. I accept that a sandwich will do the job at times.
2-You can't use variety of lenses on phones.
3-Please don't put down the chefs as "culinary purists". Cooking is a very creative profession which requires talent, perseverance and knowledge

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Sep 25, 2012)

(oselimg) I think you misinterpreted my posts. I agree with you. Yes, I I have no doubt that cooking is a very creative profession & calling them "purists" is most definitely an insult. I completely AGREE with you. That's my point: the same thing applies to photography. With cooking: I know people who aren't even chefs but they make everything from scratch, grow their own vegetables, they make an art form out of what they cook. I would never insinuate that me cooking Stouffer's in a zapper is equal to what they do, that it's "just another tool." I respect them for trying to learn how to make it from scratch & would never insult what they do by acting like I can just stroll into the kitchen, not having even tried to learn anything real, & just toss Stouffer's in the zapper & act like it's the same thing they're doing. That's an insult to all the effort they've put into trying to do in achieving excellence doing it that way.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

5 vs 5d3!
http://dcurt.is/iphone-5-vs-5d-mark-iii

2 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (Sep 24, 2012)

I'd like to see dcurt take some comparison photos indoors. No, the IP 5 does not stack up well against a 5d-M3...unless your target audience is a 5x4 cm facebook post.

0 upvotes
Caleido
By Caleido (Sep 25, 2012)

Too bad the 5d3 image had a bad focus - clearly behind the sign.

0 upvotes
Boky
By Boky (Sep 25, 2012)

canon CAN NOT focus!

0 upvotes
spaltzer
By spaltzer (Sep 24, 2012)

I think it would be very interesting if dpreview shot the studio scene comparison shot with the current iPhones. It would give a better understanding of what to expect from the phone versus a 'real' camera.

8 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

At the risk of sounding like a 'fan' - do you really use a 'real' camera to shoot pics like that? I don't think anyone is under the assumption that an iphone is a studio camera of any sort.

0 upvotes
spaltzer
By spaltzer (Sep 24, 2012)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I find the dpr studio scene shot useful to compare cameras - therefore I think it would be interesting to see how an iphone would do.

1 upvote
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

yes you're right. I just find real world shots better to judge by.

0 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Sep 24, 2012)

I would have liked to seen the Nokia N8 and 808 cameras in this review/comparison as well. My guess is both would blow the iPhone 5 cam out of the water! ;)

6 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

You're probably right, but as an overall package I think the iphone is a lot better.

3 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Sep 24, 2012)

Valid point Craig. ;)

2 upvotes
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Sep 24, 2012)

Valid point Craig. ;)

0 upvotes
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

I dislike system cameras. I use a GRD4, RX100, X100 [replaced by the RX]. I had an OMD and a G3. I think the iphone is great. The camera might not be as good as some phones but the phone itself is more discreet, leading to better images IMO. This is an iphone pic, edited in LR. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_majzw6PByC1qg7x65o1_1280.jpg - I thought it was ok. It's not an M9 but I saved £4500 too. It's not an X100, but the AF is faster, and I can take calls on it. Purists will hate me but really I think camera phones are at a level now where we can take decent shots in some situations and print well from them.
Here's another http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_makaujhGpq1qg7x65o1_1280.jpg

5 upvotes
Daxs
By Daxs (Sep 24, 2012)

And? What I have to do? Sell my camera and by iPhone? Its nice when we have phone with camera, but that's not really important who have more pixels! These reviews here is for kids to be a cool man with cool phone!

3 upvotes
writelight
By writelight (Sep 24, 2012)

Actually, this article is very well thought out and presented. For those of us who have cameras and iPhones, understanding the latter's limitations and advantages is quite useful. Sure, it's a phone and computer mostly, but so what? Like it or not, phone cameras are replacing p&s for most people. Better to know it's parameters I say. Lastly, anyone whose sensitivities are threatened says much more about the person than the device. What's that about " the best camera..? If you're an elitist you better be a pro shooter.

10 upvotes
Kexi Cao
By Kexi Cao (Sep 24, 2012)

there is another review shows huge difference between 5 and 4s:
http://gizmodo.com/iphone-5-camera/
Could it because that one used tripod to take the pictures for the review?

0 upvotes
W5JCK
By W5JCK (Sep 24, 2012)

The camera doesn't matter as much as the lens. In the case of a thin iPhone the lens will always be little more than a toy. I don't care how much you love Apple or Android, the camera phones are not good enough to even rate a mention on this website, much less an article.

4 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (Sep 24, 2012)

I normally shoot Sony A900 with premium lenses; however I find that my iPhone 4GS's camera is adequate for a lot of personal daytime uses. Certainly only a few years ago there were point and shoot digital cameras that did not provide the end result as good as the current iPhone camera. It is important to keep the lens clean - the smaller the sensor the more important that is, but I don't find that especially difficult.

1 upvote
ybizzle
By ybizzle (Sep 24, 2012)

Nokia N8 and 808 both have outstanding cameras. It's only going to get better from here!

1 upvote
rurikw
By rurikw (Sep 24, 2012)

How can it be a toy when it gives decent 8MP files equally sharp and free of CA all across the frame? I am still impressed after 9 months of owning the iPhone 4s.

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Sep 24, 2012)

Double Face Palm!

Just please concentrate on on the phone functionality Apple. Forget about camera, it is not for you.

1 upvote
Craig Atkinson
By Craig Atkinson (Sep 24, 2012)

or perhaps its not for you?

5 upvotes
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Sep 24, 2012)

*Face Palm*

Its just a phone....Just like the 15 other phones that have been released this year. There are better phones with better cameras.

Once one has one of the exmor RS sensors wake me up.

11 upvotes
privater
By privater (Sep 24, 2012)

iPhone share the same sensor with others, but it has distinctive apps make it better for casual and creative photo taking and sharing.

3 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Sep 24, 2012)

Yes, it is a phone. And that is the problem. It´s not a camera. So if I want to take photos with it I have to buy a device which main purpose isn´t taking photos. Therefore I buy other features like iOs, the possibility to play music, install "apps" and and putting a nano-SIM in it. The problems are: I don´t need the first and don´t have a nano-SIM. So I spent money for a device that has features I don´t need and for that I have to ask my provider for a new SIM. And all this effort for taking photos with it. Ummm...

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Sep 26, 2012)

*sigh* A four-track tape deck in a basement is not a full modern music studio. But "Nebraska" is still a better music album than the latest over-produced Lady Gaga output.

It's not the equipment, it's the skill and circumstances. If you see a beautiful sunset, and the person next to you snaps it with his iPhone while you left your heavy and expensive DSLR in the safe at home, it is the iPhone owner who got the shot - not you.

1 upvote
Total comments: 231
12