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A Look at iPhone 4's Camera Quality

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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One of the major enhancements included in iPhone 4 is a new camera system, integrating a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera including LED flash with a VGA-quality front-facing camera. While the rear-facing camera fails to match the resolution of other smartphones moving to 8 or even 12 megapixels, Steve Jobs was careful to mention during the iPhone's introduction that image quality also depends in large part on other factors, and the iPhone's backside-illuminated camera sensor with large pixel sizes allows it to deliver excellent image quality under normal and low-light situations.




As part of its feature page on the new camera, Apple has posted several example photos, noting that they are actual, unretouched photos taken using the iPhone 4. The images show clear, high-quality photos taken under optimal light conditions. Gizmodo took a look at the metadata included on one of the photos and offered its perspective on the image quality.
The performance under obviously optimal light is very good. The processing leans a bit to over-saturation and over-exposure, which is not a bad thing. Nikon goes for a similar image processing treatment in their cameras.

However, keep in mind that this image doesn't confirm Apple's claims about higher ISO and better performance under low light conditions, which is supposed to be a lot better thanks to the bigger backlit sensor. We will have to wait to see this in our review.
In addition to the image quality enhancements in the new rear camera, the system also supports 5x digital zoom, tap to focus, and simple sharing options.




And besides the still image features, iPhone 4's rear camera is also capable of HD video recording in 720p at 30 frames per second. With tap to focus, LED flash for video, and iMovie for iPhone for editing footage, Apple touts the new iPhone's ability to shoot, edit, and share high-quality video all on a phone with no need for access to a computer.

Article Link: A Look at iPhone 4's Camera Quality
 

amac4me

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,303
0
As a person who like to take photographs on a semi-professional basis, I'm eager to see how the photo quality stacks up to my SLR cameras. Megapixels are not the whole story when it comes to photographic quality. The optical quality of the lens is essential and hence, I'd like to know what Apple is using in this new iPhone model.
 

carmenodie

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2008
775
0
my iphone 3GS shoot awesome pictures! So I can only imagine the stuff the new iphone 4 can shoot.
 

sportguy0913

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2008
312
0
USA
As a person who like to take photographs on a semi-professional basis, I'm eager to see how the photo quality stacks up to my SLR cameras.

It's still a phone camera with measly flash so i'm guessing it is no where near as good, but hoping it is one of the better on a phone. Though, I'm not getting the iPhone 4 unless it comes to Verizon (or an iPhone at all unless one comes to Verizon), so My opinion doesn't really matter haha
 

Evangelion

macrumors 68040
Jan 10, 2005
3,314
5
It's amazing how there are multitude of people who think that it's the number of megapixels that determine the quality of the camera...
 

madmaxmedia

macrumors 68030
Dec 17, 2003
2,922
33
Los Angeles, CA
As a person who like to take photographs on a semi-professional basis, I'm eager to see how the photo quality stacks up to my SLR cameras. Megapixels are not the whole story when it comes to photographic quality. The optical quality of the lens is essential and hence, I'd like to know what Apple is using in this new iPhone model.

Then you should already know the answer to this- not even close. ;)

It would be more realistic to compare the new iPhone camera to compact cameras with smaller sensors. The photo quality is likely inferior to even those, but the samples do look pretty good (even considering they were not taken in low-light conditions.) Certainly good enough for small prints.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,311
32
People are amazed when they see photos taken with my iPhone 3Gs.

Grrr got this same story in the cooker...
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,166
15,133
Central U.S.
I'm glad that there are some people at Apple who know what they are doing when it comes to camera technology. All too often camera manufacturers push the megapixel myth. I'm especially glad for these developments, as I don't typically have a P&S on me since I shoot on large-bodied dSLRs. When I'm out having fun with my friends I take shots with my iPhone. They're not perfect, but they're satisfactory for snapshots and the like. The best camera is the one that you have on you. Just a few years ago most people had 5mp cameras anyway. More than enough for 5x7" prints. I'm also interested to see how the low-light performance stacks up. That has traditionally been the iPhone camera's weak spot. I wish that they could cram a 2x optical zoom in there! Sony uses a periscope type vertical zoom barrel in their super thin T series P&S cameras.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Higher MP = more noise, bigger file sizes, slower transfers, slower editing, wasted storage, and a nice bullet point for an ad :)

I’ll take improved optics and electronics over megapixels any day. And I do NOT want to be storing 8MP images for no reason. (5MP is already huge and detailed—far bigger than most people view photos, or need for the sake of printing even.)

These samples look significantly better than the trusty Pentax Optio I’ve been carrying for years. I feel no more need to replace the Pentax now—my iPhone 4 will have the quality I need. And be far easier to use.

Two things I’ll hang onto the old Pentax for:

* More powerful Flash (just guessing on that) for certain rare instances

* Certain specific custom settings I can achieve for certain VERY rare instances

And maybe someday I’ll buy a new standalone camera for the sake of extra zoom.
 

addicted44

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2005
532
168
When the Droid came out, professionals comparing its 5MP (?) camera to the iPhones 3MP camera found the latter's pictures much more accurate, except in low-light situations (because of the flash). and certain other cases with great detail (where the iPhones lower resolution lost the detail).

It just goes to show that there is a lot more to a camera than resolution.

Which also applies to things like RAM...More helps, but just because one device has more doesn't mean anything (Android being such a general purpose OS probably wastes RAM on a bunch of things the iPhone, especially with teh custom A4 chip, wont have to bother about).
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
9,004
26
Portland, OR
As a person who like to take photographs on a semi-professional basis, I'm eager to see how the photo quality stacks up to my SLR cameras. Megapixels are not the whole story when it comes to photographic quality. The optical quality of the lens is essential and hence, I'd like to know what Apple is using in this new iPhone model.

You must not know much about SLRs if you're going to compare one to a camera phone.
 

rickster2k

macrumors member
Jun 13, 2007
48
0
Southampton, UK
The true test will be the real life photos. I remember the samples Apple supplied on the 3GS, they looked great, but in the real world the camera wasn't as great as the photos Apple originally posted made out.

The big issue I had with the 3GS was it tended to underexpose.

Granted these look a lot better. I would have still like to some some more manual control on the OS photo screen (changing exposure levels, etc).
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
I'm glad it's not a bigger MP capture in the new iPhone... Quality is what matters and MP's don't mean better quality. Just more pixels. I just want good off-the-cuff shots on my phone. When I want to be artistic, I'll switch to one of my SLR's or my old Olympus 3.2MP camera that takes better pictures than my 10MP Canon SLR Rebel. :)

I'm glad to see Apple being smart.... sometimes it's better to be reasonable than just toss a big number out there.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68040
Dec 31, 2007
3,016
2,602
Milwaukee Area
I gotta say, if I had to choose, between a 10 megapixel image with the quality of a cellphone camera, or a 5 megapixel image with the quality of a real camera, I'd take the latter.
 

addicted44

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2005
532
168
It just struck me how it is funny that Apple gets slammed for putting "marketability over function", when most of their improvements are small interface changes that are really hard to market. Its a testament to Steve Jobs' presentation skills (RDF?), and the designers who give these features so much polish and careful attention that Apple can make them sound interesting.

On the other hand, other manufacturers are only bothered about feature lists. Which is why their press releases focus primarily on:

8MP camera, 1GHz Snapdragon Processor, 512MB Ram.... Numbers which have no meaning unless placed in the correct context, which is never provided.
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
You must not know much about SLRs if you're going to compare one to a camera phone.

I think he was just making note that he wants to see how the iPhone stacks up with the new technology against a known good quality device. That's all. I don't think he expects the iPhone to match or beat it. :D

It just struck me how it is funny that Apple gets slammed for putting "marketability over function", when most of their improvements are small interface changes that are really hard to market. Its a testament to Steve Jobs' presentation skills (RDF?), and the designers who give these features so much polish and careful attention that Apple can make them sound interesting.

On the other hand, other manufacturers are only bothered about feature lists. Which is why their press releases focus primarily on:

8MP camera, 1GHz Snapdragon Processor, 512MB Ram.... Numbers which have no meaning unless placed in the correct context, which is never provided.

I couldn't agree more! Most competitive phones I've touched (or laptops, etc...) just don't have the same overall tight feel and refinement that Apple seems to put in it's products. I think that's why so many keep scrambling to build the feature list big.
 

Mr. Retrofire

macrumors 603
Mar 2, 2010
5,039
470
www.emiliana.cl/en
Nice Ideas-Mixed Results

Picture 1: A human face in the foreground. Smooth background. It should not be a problem for any mid-range camera to produce a good, but not impressive picture in this situation. The iPhone 4 does exactly that, but not more.

Picture 2: Most details are in the background. The foreground does not contain a lot of details. It should not be a problem for any mid-range camera to produce a good, but not impressive picture in this situation. The iPhone 4 does exactly that, but not more.

Summary: It is not difficult to produce these pictures, and they are choosen, so that they do not tell much about the quality of the iPhone 4 camera in RL situations.

HD Video on the iPhone: A great idea, but someone @ Apple did forget to increase the built in storage (32 GB or less).

:rolleyes:
 

Mattsasa

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2010
2,333
735
Minnesota
Question

Is apple done announcing stuff for WWDC? Like Mac Pro, Mac Mini, MB Air? So none of that is happening?
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,235
Washington DC
* Certain specific custom settings I can achieve for certain VERY rare instances

There are already a lot of iPhone apps that are basically the camera with more options. I'm wondering if all these new APIs will give even more control soon.

In other words, I wonder if there might soon be apps out there that erase this item from your list of reasons.
 
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