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At the iPhone 4's introduction at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple made significant mention of the device's capabilities, noting that while the device carries only 5 megapixels in comparison to the 8-megapixel cameras that are becoming standard on the latest smartphones, the new iPhone offers a great deal beyond simple pixel count that contributes to superior performance.

With iPhone 4 now on the market, and samples of Motorola's new Droid X, introduced on Wednesday, coming available, objective camera tests for both still and video imaging have become possible using the latest devices.

Macworld performed a series of tests comparing iPhone 4 with its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS, as well as the Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Galaxy and HZ35W, as well as basic Samsung and Sony point-and-shoot cameras. For video tests, the publication also threw in the Flip Video M2120. A series of images and videos was taken with the devices, and a blind evaluation of their quality was performed.


151916-macworld_camera_rankings.jpg


Macworld's camera quality rankings
In still image testing, the two point-and-shoot took top honors, with Apple's iPhone 4 right behind, leading the pack of smartphones, supporting Apple's claim that pure megapixel count is not a sufficient measure of image quality.
The iPhone 4 had, by a healthy margin, the best exposure and color scores of the entire bunch, beating out even the point-and-shoot cameras. It did run into trouble in the sharpness and distortion categories, performing much lower than the pocket cameras and similarly to the Droid.
For video quality, iPhone 4 topped all other smartphones, as well as the point-and-shoot camera, losing out only to the dedicated Flip Video camera.
While its image quality was impressive, it was the iPhone 4's video capabilities that really stole the show in our lab tests. Of the eight devices we rated for video, only the Flip Video M2120 scored higher. The Flip, which also records 720p, 30fps video, had just slightly better video quality than the iPhone 4, even in low-light.
Audio was a bit less impressive on iPhone 4, only matching the Droid X while the Samsung Galaxy took the top spot for smartphones behind the Flip camera.

Boy Genius Report has also performed a comparison of iPhone 4's HD video capabilities to those of Droid X, which both shoot in 720p. The report awarded top honors to Apple's iPhone 4, in part due to its superior framerate of 30 fps versus 24 fps for the Droid X.

iPhone 4's use of the H.264 format also allowed it to achieve the better performance with file sizes less than half that of Droid X. Despite iPhone 4's overall victory, however, the study found that Droid X beat out iPhone 4 in both color accuracy and audio quality, somewhat disagreeing with Macworld's assessment on those aspects.

Article Link: iPhone 4's Camera Capabilities Evaluated
 

TheOrioles33

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2008
296
0
I'm very impressed so far with the quality of my images taken with the iPhone 4. Especially in low light.
 
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0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
2,908
That's pretty useful to hear. I'd consider getting a Droid X after this report and the recent iPhone 4 problems (a manufacturing problem that the CEO turns down as "a non-issue" doesn't ring well with me).
 
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amusiccale

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2007
310
0
Regardless of the quality, I'm just glad that basic optics and image quality for once took precedent over a megapixel numbers war...
 
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amac4me

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,303
0
I'm very impressed so far with the quality of my images taken with the iPhone 4. Especially in low light.

I agree. Got my phone yesterday and haven't been able to put it down. Ran a number of video tests (different situations and lighting conditions) and the results are indeed impressive.

Overall, I'm more than happy with the video quality.
 
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kornyboy

macrumors 68000
Sep 27, 2004
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0
Knoxville, TN (USA)
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I've really been impressed with the quality of the pictures and video from the iPhone 4. For essentially an all-in-one device that goes everywhere with you it does a good job. I'm not getting rid of my DSLR anytime soon though.
 
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FFArchitect

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2010
196
0
Agreed. Both photos and video capabilities are extremely impressive.

Given the convenience of having this much power in your pocket all the time, we think this may truly signal the beginning of the end for low-end consumer camcorders.
 
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splashnader

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2008
839
0
Via Satellite
Wasn't this the one area where all the pundits on the Internet were claiming that Andriod phones, like the EVO, really put the iphone 4 to shame. I mean I think one reviewer even said that Apple should be ashamed that they were using only a 5 MP camera while other phones, like the EVO, were using 8 MP.

Looks like MP aren't the end all be all.
 
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SPUY767

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2003
2,029
113
GA
Watching the second video, it's quite obvious that the 4G has a much better lens. The iPhone can focus on the Droid in the picture, but the Droid is unable to focus clearly on the iPhone.
 
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bruinselmann

macrumors member
Sep 13, 2009
41
55
Germany
Does anyone know why the YouTube videos embedded in this article aren't watchable on an iPad ?

Is it a problem with the way the videos are embedded, or is the video material simply not available (yet ?) in an MPEG4 compatible format ?
 
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xfiftyfour

macrumors 68030
Apr 14, 2006
2,573
0
Clemson, SC
Man those direct comparisons definitely show the weaknesses/strengths of each phone. I gotta say, compared to the Droid I'm a little disappointed with the color/contrast of the iPhone and its audio.. could be personal prefs (saturated vs. truer and whatnot), but just IMO. The blacks in the second vid are definitely poorer for the iPhone than the Droid though.
 
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locust76

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2009
678
75
Poor EVO owners.

Yes... how do those poor people go on about their lives, knowing that the iPhone records 6 more frames per second than their phones?

I bet we will see a string of suicides in the next weeks, with each victim clutching their EVOs with a note explaining how they couldn't live any longer knowing that more megapixels doesn't automatically make a better image.
 
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locust76

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2009
678
75
Does anyone know why the YouTube videos embedded in this article aren't watchable on an iPad ?

Is it a problem with the way the videos are embedded, or is the video material simply not available (yet ?) in an MPEG4 compatible format ?

It could be that they're not done converting to all formats yet.
 
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smoked

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2009
128
0
I shot and edited a video using iMovie last night.

Transferred to my AppleTV and watched on the HDTV.

Very impressed with image quality and most importantly the ease of it all.


Just wish the Atv and MobileMe had better support if the video!
 
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aaronsullivan

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
152
24
Rochester, NY
I am so impressed that no one took that bait earlier in the thread!

This info is really encouraging, but it's driving me a bit nuts that we didn't pick up an iPhone 4 before a trip we are going on next week.

Last chance is AT&T on the 29th, the day we leave.
 
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rickdollar

macrumors 6502
Mar 12, 2007
466
17
I've noticed that the iPhone 4 tends to overexpose a bit. It would be nice to have a slider, like the digital zoom, to adjust the exposure.
 
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till

macrumors member
Dec 3, 2007
97
1
New York or Berlin
Looking at the 720p recordings, the iPhone 4's video is MUCH smoother, and the color isn't oversaturated.

Yeah, the green colors on the Droid X video outside are ridiculous. I've been consistently disappointed by the photo quality on my plain old Motorola Milestone (aka GSM version of Droid), despite the 5MP camera and dual LED flash.

There are plenty of Android devices that have hi-res screens (mine is 265 ppi), which look fantastic next to older iPhone models. Plenty that have good mics and do noise-cancelling. But the camera hardware is at least a generation behind. It's strange...there's nothing preventing manufacturers from making a really high-end Android phone for that market, unlike Apple who wants to sell the same model to everyone.
 
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SnowLeopard2008

macrumors 604
Jul 4, 2008
6,772
10
Silicon Valley
Does anyone know why the YouTube videos embedded in this article aren't watchable on an iPad ?

Is it a problem with the way the videos are embedded, or is the video material simply not available (yet ?) in an MPEG4 compatible format ?

YouTube takes time to encode the videos in different formats. Flash version is always done first.

Man those direct comparisons definitely show the weaknesses/strengths of each phone. I gotta say, compared to the Droid I'm a little disappointed with the color/contrast of the iPhone and its audio.

The contrast is artificial in the Droid. I doubt that's what you would see in real life. You can always fix the video's color/contrast in a video editor. Or maybe there's an app for that! :)

That's pretty useful to hear. I'd consider getting a Droid X after this report and the recent iPhone 4 problems (a manufacturing problem that the CEO turns down as "a non-issue" doesn't ring well with me).

It is a non issue. Other phones have this "phenomenon" as well. It's not a manufacturing problem but an engineering one. I read this thread last night with some EE major explaining the way antennas work and how skin contact affects the impedance or whatever. I'm only a 16 year old so you can be the judge of the validity of that thread.

Link: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/949326/
 
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aaronsullivan

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
152
24
Rochester, NY
Man those direct comparisons definitely show the weaknesses/strengths of each phone. I gotta say, compared to the Droid I'm a little disappointed with the color/contrast of the iPhone and its audio.. could be personal prefs (saturated vs. truer and whatnot), but just IMO. The blacks in the second vid are definitely poorer for the iPhone than the Droid though.

The droid stuff looks hyper saturated to me, especially outdoors. I do agree the indoor stuff looks a little washed out, but it's obvious which video you'd rather have in that particular case! Plus, you can always add deeper blacks in post. Can't go the other way. :)
 
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