iPhone 6s Camera Worse than 5s? Pics

thedatapusher

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 12, 2010
34
10
So pretty disappointed out of the gate. There is pitting on the corners and sides of the phone ever since I picked it up. That was a major downer. Now I finally started playing with the camera and am not impressed.

I loved the 5s camera. It took amazing pictures. So I splurged and got myself an iPhone 6s on launch day thinking it would be a major step up in the camera dept.

I took some pictures of family during the supermoon. It was unbelievable how bad how they came out. I thought it was a fluke. However, I just did some test shots and I can't believe how bad they are. The iPhone 6s side by side to the 5s is washed out, low contrast and the details are non existent. The 5s keeps the details in the image.

Same OS, same lighting, tried using both autofocus and touch focus. Same results. Notice how on the 6s, you don't even realize there is a pattern in the wood floor or any detail in the jeans.

Update: thumbnails only - click for normal size

Update: Apple has replaced the phone with pitting in the corners and sides with no hassle. Defect in manufacturing.

Update: Using 645 PRO Mk III has led to some much better shots. However low light is still an issue.

Update: The 645 PRO Mk III and Pure Shot apps are nice but very buggy. They freeze the majority of the time causing lost shots and need for power cycle. There is definitely an issue with the stability of both the 645 PRO Mk III and the Pure Shot apps on the 6s, however the quality is better than the default camera app can produce. If you can handle the freezing and crashing of the app, then it is worth the $4 for more control of the camera. There is still DNR processing on both apps regardless of what it says under the description.
 
Last edited:

Jsameds

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Apr 22, 2008
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"Live" mode is off.
Hmm, that's disappointing.. I've found low light to be a touch and go. I did a couple of test shots like yourself of my jeans in a fairly dark room and on one you could clearly see the detail in the jeans but the other looked muddy like a watercolour painting. I'll see if I can grab them now so you know what I'm talking about.
 

Jsameds

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Apr 22, 2008
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Also that 6s test shot - what is the gray smudge on the right? Is that in all of your photos?
 

Newtons Apple

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Mar 12, 2014
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Jacksonville, Florida
Low light images will not be the "S" series strong point. More pixels on the same size sensor will result in noise in low light and the phone will apply an extra helping of noise reduction which will result in loss of detail.

In medium to good light my 6S+ produces the best images I have ever got from a phone by far!
 

spinningfree

macrumors newbie
Sep 29, 2015
4
0
Megapixels have nothing to do with low light conditions, it's the aperture that makes the biggest difference.

It looks like the 6S is doing very heavy noise reduction, mainly because of the lighting conditions.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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33,717
Boston
Megapixels have nothing to do with low light conditions, it's the aperture that makes the biggest difference.

It looks like the 6S is doing very heavy noise reduction, mainly because of the lighting conditions.
Actually its both, because more pixels are crammed in and the aperture wasn't increased there's less light per pixel.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,211
1,162
Megapixels have nothing to do with low light conditions, it's the aperture that makes the biggest difference.

It looks like the 6S is doing very heavy noise reduction, mainly because of the lighting conditions.
Size of the pixels are a major player for ability to collect light.

A higher density sensor has small pixels, thus more noise.

That was Apple's entire mantra when they moved to 1.50um pixels with the 5S. Now they've moved backwards.
This is why my MILC blows iPhone away, with 4.00um pixels.

Megapixel related to sensor size, density, is the critical factor for low light performance. There are other mitigating technologies. But this is the biggie.
 

Jsameds

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Apr 22, 2008
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OK I've cropped the images so you can see the detail easier. These were taken seconds apart, both on iPhone 6s - the top one had live photos on the bottom one didn't. The problems with the top one look very similar to the problem with your 6s image, although you said live photos were off so live photo's may not be the problem.

As you can see it just looks out of focus.

IMG_0022.JPG


IMG_0023.JPG
 

roeiz

macrumors 65816
Sep 13, 2010
1,024
573
the 6S looks ok here. a bit more light, and some noise reduction.
so for this specific low light sample, i prefer the 6S.
it SHOULD be much better, that's true.
 

spinningfree

macrumors newbie
Sep 29, 2015
4
0
Actually its both, because more pixels are crammed in and the aperture wasn't increased there's less light per pixel.
Megapixel related to sensor size, density, is the critical factor for low light performance. There are other mitigating technologies. But this is the biggie.
Hmmm, I always thought the pixels made little difference and it was the size of the sensor / photo sites that mattered. I could be wrong.

Either way, that photo has some major noise reduction applied.
 

MaciMac100

macrumors 6502
Oct 26, 2014
336
176
http://9to5mac.com/2015/09/28/iphone-6-diary-camera-test/

Jump to "Low-light Photos"

"The 6s shot is noticeably less sharp due to the greater level of noise-reduction applied by the phone.

This reinforces what I’d long said: that Apple was right to refuse to enter the megapixel race and concentrate instead on quality rather than quantity. The more densely-packed sensor in the higher megapixel camera requires more aggressive noise-reduction to overcome the increased noise – and that is achieved at the expense of detail. So the higher resolution image does, in low-light conditions, end up less detailed than the lower resolution version.

This is, unfortunately, what happens when people who know nothing about photography simply count pixels and criticize Apple for falling behind. The company refused to play that game for a long time, but I guess this is the point at which it feared it would be panned for remaining with an 8MP camera for a fifth generation (after the iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and 6).

At a pixel-peeping level, then, the iPhone 6s sensor is actually a retrograde step, sacrificing detail for pixel-count."

So, is iPhone 6s camera worse than 5s? In low light, I would say yes. It was bad decision to enter megapixel race.
 

deadsoul

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2015
127
121
Welcome to your new nightmare :D this problem is caused by Apple they implemented a noise reduction algorithm, I have a 5s which takes crisp and better pictures, been waiting for this issue to be solved, unfortunately for Apple this seems to be a "feature" and no one seems to notice or they don't care because they think they have the "best phone ever"...

Keeping my 5s for another cycle...

For your reference:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...e-6-camera-please-help.1827634/#post-20467415
http://improvephotography.com/30019/iphone-6-camera-depth-review/
 
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NewdestinyX

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2007
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Yeah - it's a personal taste thing. In low light - I actually like the 'smoothing' effect. But I totally respect why the photographer enthusiasts and pros want the algorithm to not blur the detail. Totally get it.

I too regret that Apple had to respond to the megapixel war. People are just so uninformed and believer more is always better. Same thing with the RAM.. Apple knew all along that if they added more RAM - lazy code0writing developers would glut up their code and use more and more RAM still rending your phone laggy after a while. So like there are upsides to more megapixels there are also upsides to more RAM. So I'm not against either of them - but people need to educate themselves enough to know the 'trade offs'. More isn't always automatically 'better' in 'every way'.
 

JohnApples

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2014
1,505
2,354
I hope that the 7 addresses this and has a bigger sensor. I know that it would probably cause the camera to stick out again and the Protruding Camera Patrol would claim how hideous it is, but if we're going to have a protruding camera regardless, I'd rather them make it at least a little bit bigger.
 

TL24

macrumors 65816
Oct 20, 2011
1,095
708
This has been my biggest complaint since iOS 8 was released! They basically changed the noise reduction algorithm and totally F'd the picture quality. I still have pictures taken from my 5S running iOS 7.1.2 that look superior to even my 6S Plus which is sad! I'm not the only to have complained about this, I even create a separate thread about this on here and on the official Apple forums. I highly doubt Apple will revert the changes they've made, it's horrible man and I ***** hate it.
 

lordofthereef

macrumors G5
Nov 29, 2011
12,904
3,476
Boston, MA
OK I've cropped the images so you can see the detail easier. These were taken seconds apart, both on iPhone 6s - the top one had live photos on the bottom one didn't. The problems with the top one look very similar to the problem with your 6s image, although you said live photos were off so live photo's may not be the problem.

As you can see it just looks out of focus.

View attachment 587565

View attachment 587564
I have noticed that live photo pictures are more easily out of focus. I hope that we get a software fix. I'm mostly taking pics of my son and, as anyone would imagine, small children don't stay still for a long time. Live Photos are a fun idea, but if the still turns out blurry more often than not, I'd rather just have the clear still shot only.
 

TommyA6

macrumors 65816
May 15, 2013
1,056
516
Wrong. The 6S has a bigger sensor, in order to compensate for the 12megapixels.
The sensor is the same size as in 5s/6. Apple needs to increase the aperture or sensor size (or preferably both) for the iPhone 7.
That's why Galaxy S6 (f1.9) and LG G4 (f1.8) produce better low light photos despite having smaller pixels.
6 Plus produces the best low light photos of all iPhones (including the 6s plus).
 
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