iPhone 4S blurry pics in very low light

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by studmule, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    So when I take pics in very little, or no light, sometimes they come out crystal clear, and sometimes they come out blurry. I've tried tapping on the screen to manually focus. There's no rhyme or reason for it. They all come out clear in regular lighting. In very dark settings, though, sometimes they are clear, and sometimes they are blurry. Anybody else seeing this?
  2. macrumors regular

    May 1, 2007
    Low light shots require the shutter be open for a longer period of time. The fact that some low light shots are clear shows the camera is functioning properly. The blurred shots are caused by camera movement during the exposure.
  3. macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Everyone that takes shots with point-and-shoot cameras in low light experiences this.
  4. macrumors newbie


    Jul 25, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I'm having the same issues! Didn't seem to have these problems under similar light conditions with a iPhone 4 running iOS 5. It's weird because I could swear the photos were all awesome the first couple of days and now every nighttime shot turns out blurry. Before I hit the shutter button the picture looks fine. Then when I look at it in the camera roll it looks blurry.
  5. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I feel like the iPhone 4S photos are about 75% blurry. When they come out clear they are amazing...but I seem to get motion blur on nearly every photo I take....Even holding as still as I humanly can! Have they said anything about correcting this at all....also video seems even shakier than before. Low light makes video basically useless.
  6. macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2011
    I'm noticing the same thing. The iPhone 4 was much better in medium-to-low light. Even in situations where the lighting isn't terrible (like florescent lighting) the pictures turn out blurry on the 4S 70% of the time if there's any motion at all. Looking back at the pictures I've taken over the last couple weeks I'm very disappointed with the 4S camera when compared to the 4 in similar lighting.

    It seems to me like they increased the shutter time and reduced the ISO. This will result in better pictures if everyone holds perfectly still. Anyone trying to take pictures of their kids indoors will find this camera very hit or miss. I would prefer that they increase the ISO and reduce the shutter time. At least that way they pictures would be usable even if they were a bit noisy.

    Unfortunately, with all the positive hype surrounding the 4S camera it seems unlikely they will do anything to rectify this. Many people won't realize there's a problem because they didn't have an iPhone 4 to compare it to.
  7. macrumors member

    May 2, 2010
    I've got the same problem. I thought it was just me. Blurry pics on the 4S regardless of whether I'm using HDR or not. Definitely much worse than iPhone 4. Looks like I will be taking a trip to the Genius bar.
  8. macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    I don't know what a genius is going to do for you. This is a problem for photographers since the dawn of photography. If you care that much, buy a tripod.
  9. macrumors demi-god


    Jul 6, 2011
    CA Central Coast
    Yep, it's camera movement as noted above. Low light means slow shutter and any movement at all will blur your photos. In these situations, best to either use a tripod (can get a mini-one) or set the camera against something solid (table, wall) before you snap that photo.
  10. macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    I find a manual focus tap before doing a shot helps immensely. I just tap the screen, it focuses (even though it's pitch black), and then I can take a barrage of shots with little to no blur. It's definitely not a problem with your phone, you just have to give the camera a little helping hand.

    I think the focus can definitely be fixed by software. It doesn't seem to attempt to auto focus every time in pitch black or close to pitch black conditions. A simple tweak to force this would give more reliable/positive results.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2011
    Having the same issue here, most of the pictures I take look no where as clear as they should be. :(
  12. ecwhite4S, Dec 22, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011

    macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    All of the pics on my white 4S seem to come out near crystal clear, with or without focusing. If they're that bad, and you think there is something wrong with your phone, take it to the Genius bar, show them pictures, and demonstrate the problem in the store.

    Then again, I havent used the camera heavily, so maybe I will stumble across a blurry pic...
  13. macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2011
    I had a similar issue on my first 4s. There seems to be too many issues with the 4s. Even the Apple genius stated his camera randomly doesn't focus or work right. (my phone was replaced due to other issues besides camera).
  14. macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2008
    Me Too!

    Same issue with the iPhone 4S camera! My 4 took way better pictures. It's better at motion and low light when compared to the 4S. I used the iPhone 4 at Harry Potter Land where most of the shots are low light action. Majority of the photos came out great! Most of the people who've seen the photos are shocked it's an iPhone. My 4S can't even handle taking a photo of my still Christmas Tree is medium lights with it's lights on too! Hella noise and blurry detail. I uploaded it! One thing is for sure better on the 4S, White Balance! The 4 makes my house look yellow, but the 4S shows it as white.

    For some reason one of the photos showed up sideways, but I want to let y'all no I'm not an idiot. It's the website. It is correct on my Mac.

    1st photos 4, 2nd photo 4S

    Attached Files:

  15. macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2012
    Help to correct problems?

    I just notice not everyone that has a 4S has the same problem. Do I have to have my phone replaced?
  16. macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Not really blurry but very grainy

    I'm having the same issue and it is not from shake the photos are not blurry but are very grainy. Same deal as a previous post. They look clear in the screen and then turn grainy right in front of my eyes while the shutter does it's thing. has anyone tried a different camera app?
  17. macrumors regular

    Aug 24, 2011
    This might sound like a stupid question but did you take the picture with your 4 on HDR setting and not with the 4S?

    HDR takes two snaps and changes the light exposure in the second one slight and overlays to get the best picture.

    If the 4S has HDR on turn it off and set your flash focus to auto and see if that helps
  18. macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2012
    An apple genius told me to remove the case when this happens. The reflection of the case is shadowing the picture whenever the flash is used in low lighting situations. Without the pink case, I get great pictures that are sharp, rich and clear. No more grainy pics for me. Try it; I hope it works for you all.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2008
    That's not what we are talking about. What the flash causes is vinetting we are not talking about that.
  20. throAU, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012

    macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    To get a good shot in low light, you (or rather, the camera, as it is automatic) have 3 options:

    - lower shutter speed (collect more light by opening the shutter longer - if the shutter speed is slow enough you may need a tripod or other STABLE/fixed support for the camera - your hand will shake too much)
    - higher ISO (make the sensor more sensitive to light - this causes noise - random coloured speckles)
    - add more light

    If you don't add more light, the iphone (or any camera set to automatic - including full on SLRs) will attempt to balance shutter speed and ISO to get enough light for a visible picture. Neither of these options are "free". You get speckles, more blur, or both, depending on how dark it is.

    Small point/shoots and phones are limited in lens size for capturing light so they ramp up ISO and slow shutter speed lots in low light. This is the major difference between a proper camera with a decent lens, and a compact/phone camera. The bigger lense can capture more light and thus you can shoot in the same light with no flash using higher shutter speed and/or lower ISO for clearer/sharper shots.

    The iPhone 4-s has a good lens for a phone, but it is still limited in size and will never rival a proper camera in low light conditions.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2008
    No that's not what we are taking about, but thank you captain obvious.
  22. macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2013
    I just tested it out and I noticed that if you have a case then the pics come out blurry but if you take it off it comes out clear. At least it did for me, only way to find out I'd to check it out yourself.


    Tried and true! Thanks!

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