Quick Review: Apple iPhone 5 Camera
1 Introduction / Low ISO Image Quality
Apple might not have set out to make some of the most popular cameras on the planet with its iPhone range of smartphones, but that's exactly what has happened. The evolution of the iPhone cameras has been interesting to watch, from the 2MP mediocrity of the original iPhone and iPhone 3G, to the more serious 5MP iPhone 4, and the genuinely very nice 8MP resolution of the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 5, Apple's latest model (actually the sixth iPhone, but anyway...) brings a larger screen, faster processor and redesigned camera compared to its predecessor. The pixel count is unchanged though, at 8MP. On paper, the iPhone 5's camera offers very similar specifications to that of the iPhone 4S, but according to Apple, the new model should give superior results. In this short article we're going to take a look at how the iPhone 5 stacks up aginst the iPhone 4 and 4S. We're working on a more in-depth test, which will compare the iPhone 5 against competitive smartphones, and that should be ready in a few days.
Studio Scene (indoors, artificial light)
Inevitably, the lack of white balance and ISO control means that our comparison images vary a little in exposure and color. The iPhone 4S, especially, delivers a noticeably warmer rendition in comparison to the other models. In the bright lighting of our studio, all three cameras selected their base ISO sensitivity settings - ISO 50 for the iPhone 5 and 4S and ISO 80 for the iPhone 4.
Exposure and white balance was (by necessity) automatic on all three phones.
|iPhone 5 (100% Crop)||100% Crop|
|iPhone 4S (100% Crop)||100% Crop|
|iPhone 4 (100% Crop)||100% Crop|
At first glance there doesn't seem to be much appreciable difference between the 4s and the 5 except for a slight variation in sharpness and contrast. Both however, are significantly more detailed due to a 60% increase in pixel count over the iPhone 4.
Compared to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5's output is slightly smoother, and this 'softness' has been widely discussed since the phone was released. But close examination reveals that while images from the 5 may be perceptually slightly softer, detail capture is virtually identical to images from the iPhone 4S.
The slight difference in the look of the images is almost certainly due to tweaked noise reduction in the iPhone 5, which seems to be reducing the 'grit' of luminance noise more effectively, coupled with a different approach to sharpening. It certainly seems like the iPhone 5 applies noise reduction and possibly also sharpening selectively, depending on the scene content. Midtones are kept nice and smooth, thanks to relatively aggressive luminance noise reduction, but contrasty, detailed areas are grittier and sharper.
In good light each of the cameras has, as we'd expect, chosen its lowest ISO (50 for the 5 and 4s, 80 for the 4). All three iPhones have metered this scene well and saturation is fairly natural and pleasing. The iPhone 4 is noticeably more saturated than the other two and the higher contrast makes images look more 'punchy' alongside the same shots from the iPhone 5 and 4S.
As far as detail capture is concerned, there's not much to choose between the three phones, and certainly not between the 4S and 5. The iPhone 4's files are slightly smaller, obviously, but in the favorable conditions of a sunny day, it's done well here, despite the smaller pixel count. If you look very closely though you should be able to see that the 5MP iPhone 4 can't quite render the small text on the lifebelt in the left-most crop, above.
Turning our attention to the plain blue sky, all three cameras show moderate luminance noise but close inspection reveals that as we suspected, the iPhone 5 is applying more aggressive smoothing. The difference is subtle but there is a difference. In general, adaptive noise-reduction is a good thing - smooth the areas that can safely be smoothed (areas of plain tone) and leave the luminance 'grit' in the areas where noise reduction might compromise resolution (areas of fine detail). We've seen it work well on some recent compact cameras, and it seems very likely that Apple is using the same principle here.
|Intrepid View-072500 by vbuhay|
|Jazz Hands_ by Imagemi|
from Musical instruments
|Fire Urchin by sgitlin|
from Ricoh Challenge
Checkout allows Instagram users to select products for purchase and make payments directly in the app.
GauGAN as it's known, can create photorealistic images from basic drawings using the power of artificial intelligence.
The EOS RP is Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, with diminutive dimensions and a diminutive price. Find out how it stacks up and get our thoughts in our early review.
Montana judge Dana L. Christensen has ruled the Republican National Committee did not infringe upon the copyright of photographer Erika Peterman after they took a photo from a Democratic candidate's Facebook page without permission and altered it to use in a derogatory promotional mailer.
Nikon has launched updates for three of its programs to address various bugs and glitches that could cause crashes and unwanted results.
LEE Filters has launched the LEE100, its next-generation filter holder that improves the design and looks in all the right places.
With the arrival of some much-needed sunshine and final production firmware for the Panasonic S1, we've been able to get outside and really start putting the camera through its paces.
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.
Now that our Panasonic Lumix S1R has final firmware, we couldn't wait to get out shooting with it - and we also tried the high-res mode, which combines files to get 187 megapixel images. Because sometimes, 47 megapixels just isn't enough.
In this article, travel and landscape photographer Mitch Green encourages us to spend more time in the the field.
the lens lacks any electronics whatsoever and is constructed entirely of glass and metal. Of course, that comes at the expense of weight — this thing weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.43lbs.
Drones can be useful tools in urban areas, where they're utilized for everything from news reporting to building inspections, but flying in these areas requires careful preparation. Here's what you need to know to do so safely.
Hasselblad has released a new cable release and USB double battery charger for its X1D medium format camera .
After a report published by NBC News, Flickr has taken heat for allegedly letting IBM 'scrape' photos for use in its facial recognition datasets. But the problem isn't what it seems on the surface.
Samyang has announced the impending arrival of the AF 85mm F1.4 FE lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Some Photoshop shortcuts are simple and obvious. Others, not so much. Here are 15 shortcuts that are actually useful.
Twitter has redesigned its in-app camera for easier access from the timeline screen.
Independent cinema lens manufacturer SLR Magic has announced it will offer all of its existing MicroPrime range in the Fujifilm X mount and has even created a Fuji-specific 12mm lens.
We've updated our buying guides with three more cameras: the Canon EOS RP, Nikon Z6 and Olympus E-M1X.
CFexpress 2.0 cards will come in three different form factors, each of which will offer different maximum speeds.
Lensbaby has added a third tilt lens to its Optic Swap system, this time a 35mm lens, adding to the existing 50mm and 80mm options.
Sigma has released firmware updates for a number of its lenses as well as its EF-E adapter to address various errors and features with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
We've added the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400 to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide. These two mirrorless models pack in a lot of features for just $900 body only.
Instagram, Facebook and other Facebook-owned services are down for users around the world.
Think Tank Photo has unveiled its new Vision series of shoulder bags, including the Vision 10, Vision 13 and Vision 15.