iPhone 4 camera is a step down

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Darkfox3889, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Darkfox3889 macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2010
    Hey everyone.
    As some you you may know, I am a big supporter of iPhone photography. I used my 3GS camera extensively for both artistic projects as well as everyday snap shots. I was always amazed at the quality of the tiny 3GS camera, and was very excited upon hearing the upgraded specs of the iPhone 4's cam.

    I now own the iPhone 4, and after nearly a week of use, I must admit I'm quite disappointed with it.

    The two main issues I have with the new camera; Noise and Over-Saturation.

    With regards to the problem of increased noise over the 3GS, this seems completely backwards! The iPhone 4's larger lens diameter, along with the backlit sensor, were supposed to increase low light capability; and in theory also decrease noise in turn (less light sensitivity needed "ISO"). Even in fairly well lit, daytime settings I can see very obvious noise vs what I typically got with the 3GS.

    Now onto the problem of Over-Saturation. Simply put, you can't take a picture of nearly anything without the iPhone 4 completely blowing out the colors. Almost any subject featuring vibrant colors is reduced to a flat blob of peaked color. Color correcting on a computer or using one of the many photo editing apps available only make this problem worse.

    Ironically, what first got me to respect the 3GS camera, was a series of shots I took of a friend's band playing in a small club. Despite the very low lighting and constantly flashing colored lights, the pictures turned out pretty great.

    Now tonight, I shot the same band, at a very similar venue, this time with iPhone 4. Nearly every shot was painfully noisy while still being dark. The shots that were nice and bright from the colored lights, were unfortunately turned into what looks like a "comic book" filter, due to the iPhones built in over-saturtation.

    Lastly, the digital zoom slider makes it impossible to focus or expose for anything near the bottom edge. The digital zoom is a feature I will never use, an option to disable this would be much appreciated! =)

    Sorry for my lengthy rant.
    Luckily I do believe that both these problems, especially the over-saturation, can easily be addressed by a software update should Apple choose.

    Am I the only one who currently thinks the new camera was a bit of a step backwards? =(
  2. macjram macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2008
    care to post up shots of the band from the 3Gs and 4 so we can compare for your pov?
  3. Jonny.5 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    whatever, all I know is it sure out-beats the 3g!
  4. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    I don't think there's a particular over-saturation problem, though there is a tendency to overexpose at the moment - hopefully a better camera app with more exposure control will come along or it'll be fixed in a firmware update shortly.

    I don't agree there's more noise than the 3GS camera either (which was... not good), though there is certainly a bit more noise than I'd have hoped.

  5. decadentdave macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    Exactly. My 3g took the crappiest pictures that were always blurry, fuzzy and out of focus with LOTS of grainy pixels. 5mpx may not sound all that impressive to those used to taking 10+ mpx digital camera photos but it's a hell of an upgrade from the previous 2 plus the 5x zoom keeps the images much more in focus.

    As for saturation that's what Aperature, Photoshop and iPhoto are all for.
  6. gmikesell macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2009
    I know what you mean!

    My wife literally took hundreds of photos every month (of the kids and such) with her 3GS and we loved them but the ones shes taken on her new iP4 look grainy and, in low light we've noticed that with the flash on, she's getting a bluish haze. Really disappointed with the iP4 camera. I think she's starting to wish she had sold her new iphone and kept the old one! Lol
  7. Darkfox3889 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2010
    I'm sure the iP4 camera is a nice upgrade from the 3G.
    Believe me, I went into this wanting to love the new camera. So far it plainly doesn't take photos as well as the 3GS did.
    Perhaps the increase in megapixels made the "blemishes" of such a small sensor more noticeable?
  8. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
  9. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    unbelievable. its a phone for that happens to have a camera on it for crying out loud. its really nothing more than a novelty camera. it is good for taking quickie pics of things when you dont have a real camera nearby, but if you want better pics and more control invest in a point and shoot.
  10. nohite macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2008
    iPhone 4 is better

    I was a 3GS owner and I found 3GS under-exposes in almost every shot. IPhone 4 might be using a higher ISO for the same scene but the overall quality is much much better than the 3GS.
  11. Jonmurgie macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Cheltenham, UK
    I couldn't disagree with the OP more... the iP4 camera is a HUGE step up from the 3GS, it's plain to see!
  12. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Same here. Either my wife and I had bad 3GS's, or he has a bad i4. My i4 blows our 3GS's away.
  13. 0101001 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2010
  14. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    No doubt there will be apps that extend the capabilities of the phone, such as adjusting colour balance and so on for different settings. Also, there are already photo-editing apps and free software (GIMP) that can help you adjust pictures, if you do not mind tweaking things. I've not seen the iPhone 4 camera in action, but increasing the number of pixels does give you an advantage if you are using filters in photo-editing packages. I wish I had a £ for the number of times I have taken an opportunistic shot on my 3GS and wished for higher resolution (pixel number). The resolution of the 3GS is not too bad, but not quite enough. I hope that by the time I can upgrade (iPhone 5?) that I can use the phone's camera most of the time for snaps and reserve my digital camera for more artistic shots.
  15. fobia79 macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2010
  16. Rooftop voter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 26, 2010
  17. Ferris23 macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2007
    Best camera phone I've ever owned, can't say I agree with OP.
  18. atiffarooq macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2006
    It beats my iPhone 3G camera hands down. O wait, that was to be expected :D
  19. Fraaaa macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    I had to reduce the quality of few megabyte for the iPhone 4 image - sorry - this is a comparison with 3G, no flash.

    iPhone 3G camera (the one with the car, not retouched 700k)

    iPhone 4 camera (originally 1.8MB decreased to 1.1MB)

    Attached Files:

  20. stlredbird macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2009
    I do agree about the noise. Unless I'm outside in the sun there almost always seems to be noise. Almost any photos taken indoors have to go through some PS filters.
  21. Fraaaa macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    Again iPhone4 pic was 2MB, decreased to 1.1MB

    Attached Files:

  22. Fraaaa macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    And again... this time decreased by 2MB.

    Attached Files:

  23. mrblack927 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 19, 2008
    I see what you mean, but wasn't that the intended effect when they upgraded to the new lens? Let more light in while upping the resolution proportionately?
  24. tknice macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2010
    not altered at all?
  25. Fraaaa macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2010
    London, UK
    Only decreased in quality(iPhone4) because otherwise I couldn't post it on the forum.

    PS: I don't know anything about photography, I made a comparison for myself and I read the thread yesterday. I decided to post them because have been asked and no one did yet.

Share This Page