iPhone takes bad quality "muddy/paint-like effect" photos

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by venividivigor, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. venividivigor macrumors 6502

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    #1
    This wasn't the case with the camera before the iPhone 6, and I was hoping this would have been fixed for the 6s, but it hasn't.

    And it's not like I take bad photos, or the lighting is poor. The quality is just not decent, because photos look really bad for interior shots or photos taken in artificial light compared to using natural light.

    The photos look muddy and paint-like when zoomed in. It isn't that apparent when scrolling casually thru photos on iPhone, but it's quality is especially awful when you view them on an iPad or a retina MacBook Pro.

    I truly wished that the 12 mp camera would be an improvement, but to be honest I don't really see any. Photos look exactly like the generation before it, if not worse.

    And I'm not bashing iPhone, but I don't get how people say that the iPhone has the best camera in the world...
     
  2. lagwagon, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016

    lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    #2
    It's because camera phone sensors are so small in order to fit in such a compact space. All camera phones will have this to some degree because the sensors needed to be used are inherently weak in just about anything in less than great light. So the degree of the "muddy", "paint like" depends on how much noise reduction each phone puts into place. Adding more megapixels doesn't mean the issue gets fixed.

    Also I think you are mixing up your statements. No one has said the iPhone is the best camera in the world. The iPhone is the MOST used camera in the world. There have been statistics each year proving this many years in a row. It's not because it's the best. It's because it's the most widely available camera being in so many people's pockets everywhere they go.
     
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #3
    It's nothing to do with the sensor and all to do with iOS's noise filter working overtime
     
  4. lagwagon, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016

    lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    #4
    Which wouldn't be needed if camera phone sensors weren't too small with super tiny pixels than perform terrible in anything less than great light. The noise reduction is a bandaid for all that but in return cause the issue of what the OP is talking about.

    iPhones aren't the only ones that get the same effect. Just about every camera phone can.
     
  5. GreyOS macrumors 68030

    GreyOS

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    #5
    Even compact cameras
     
  6. Bhavesh Parmar macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Yes, this bothers me too on my iPhone 6. Maybe this is the reason for the proliferation of many filter apps. As applying filters makes the photo look better than default.

    I have created a workflow as follows. I take photos in burst mode in Superburst app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/superburst-camera/id791466633?mt=8). It produces full resolution 8MP photos at 30 fps. I take first 8 photos & process them in PhotoAcute Studio (http://photoacute.com) for superresolution. This removes noise, doubles the resolution and makes the photos better in quality.
     
  7. Q-Dog macrumors 6502

    Q-Dog

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    #7
    The best camera is the one you have with you when you need it. That said, Our several-year-old 7 megapixel point and shoot camera makes better quality photos than the iphone 6s and 5s that we have.

    When I intend to take pictures I use my DSLR because, as expected, it bests all of these.
     
  8. JackieInCo macrumors 601

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    #8
    I have a 3.2MP Sony camera that takes pictures and then places them on a CD within the camera. I bought that camera new in 2001 for $1000. Even that camera takes much better pictures than the 6S/6S+ does today. That camera has a Carl Zeiss lens.
     
  9. Q-Dog, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016

    Q-Dog macrumors 6502

    Q-Dog

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    #9
    And I have yet to see ANY camera on ANY phone that is better than the average modern point-and-shoot. Bigger sensor and bigger lens beat tiny sensor and tiny lens no matter how much processing the phone has.

    Ever time I see bragging about having 4K on a phone it makes me laugh.
     
  10. macfacts macrumors 68000

    macfacts

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    #10
    If the camera has low MP value, then you can't zoom in or else you will see those problems.
     
  11. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #11
    The still common 1080p display has 2.1 million pixels. "4K" is 8.3 megapixels,

    The iPhone 6s has a 12 megapixel camera.

    By all rights, you should be able to expand those images to full screen, and see more detail, not less. OK, fine. My imac has a 14.7 megapixel screen. But the point at which iphone photos become distressingly blotchy is much, much less than the claimed resolution.

    (yeah, bayer interpolation throws a wrench into the whole notion of equating a filtered, black and white sensor to a monitor. But frankly, it's time to stop making excuses, and realize that exceeding the technical limitations of the iphone camera is ridiculously easy.)
     
  12. minimo3 macrumors regular

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    #12
    I've had iPhones since the original model in 2007 and have always assumed (based on reviews) that it has the best/one of the best phone cameras. Recently I saw photos taken by a friend with a galaxy s6 compared with an iPhone 6. Wow the difference in low light / dark scenes is pretty stark. I dunno what the s6 does but it seems to process v dark scenes much better. I have a 6s myself and while it's ok, I'm not exactly blown away by it.
     
  13. jerwin macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Low light is quite vague. To a human, "low light" implies "lit by candles". To a camera, which is typically far less adaptable than the human eye, it can mean "interior shot with natural lighting". It can mean "late afternoon on a cloudy day in winter with no snow cover".
     
  14. Merkie, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2016

    Merkie macrumors 68020

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    #14
    This is completely false. The 6 (8MP, just as the 5s, 5 and 4s) also has this problem. The 5s doesn't have this problem, despite having the same amount of pixels. Also, the Galaxy S6 takes photos that are way better than 6s photos, and it has even more pixels than the 6s camera.

    The problem is not in the noise (which comes from increasing pixel density, as you were trying to say), but in the agressive noise reduction algorithm Apple uses since the iPhone 6.

    --- Post Merged, Feb 7, 2016 ---
    The 5s doesn't do this.
     
  15. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

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    #15
    I've long hoped that Apple would keep the MP count down in order to avoid the inevitable over processing. This is an issue that will leave people unhappy either way.
     
  16. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #16
    This is what happens when you increase megapixels without increasing the size of lens and sensor. All that does is increase noise.
     
  17. lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    #17
    Read the second post you quoted. The aggressive noise reduction wouldn't be needed if the camera phone Sensors weren't inheritly bad in less than great light. So yes, in the end it does boil down to the Sensor.
     
  18. minimo3 macrumors regular

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    #18
    The Galaxy s6 has 1.12um pixels (can't find the symbol for micro) whereas the iPhone 6 has larger 1.5um pixels, but the Galaxy manages to take better low light pictures, particular night scenes with minimal lighting sources (eg. Street lamps). So it's not just sensor/pixel size. The Galaxy photos do have noise obviously but viewed on a screen they look decent without a watercolor effect. I love my iPhone but I'd admit that With the latest phones Samsung has managed to develop better low light processing algorithms.
     
  19. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #19
    It is a compromise that Apple chose to take. Under GOOD lighting those extra pixels shine with lots of detail. But in low light Apple has to crank up the noise reduction. It is always a compromise.
     
  20. lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    #20
    Exactly. They chose to be a bit more aggressive with their noise reduction because they believe more reduction > more grain. Detail would be atrocious anyways in low light, so at least make it not as grainy, I believe is what probably is their rational to this. It's 100% the compromise they decided to take with the limitations of such small camera modules.
     
  21. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #21
    Ok, but the iPhone 5S camera was SO much better than the iPhone 6 in this regard.

    So it's not fair to excuse Apple by just saying "it can't be helped, it's a phone!"

    Yes, it sure could have been helped if they'd just left the damn camera un-touched 2 years ago. I'm not saying the phone has to be DSLR quality. I'm just saying it's lame that they made it worse than it used to be.
     
  22. lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    #22
    I agree that the level of noise reduction is quite bad. But that's the direction or compromise they have decided to take. Hopefully in the iPhone 7 (more specifically the 7+) things will change with the dual lens tech they are rumoured to implement from the company though purchased last year called LinX. It's supposed to improve overall performance and hopefully that means less aggressive noise reduction. But I believe the dual lens set up is a 7+ only feature, so it may not improve on the normal 7.
     
  23. venividivigor, Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016

    venividivigor thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Here are a few examples...
    --- Post Merged, Feb 8, 2016 ---
    image.jpeg

    This was taken with an iPhone 6s. As you can see, if you look at her hair, you can hardly see her hair strands.

    And look closely, the photos look smudgy, fuzzy and paint-like.

    This photo was shot at night in a living room with quite a bit of lighting.

    image.jpeg

    Look at the texture for the curtains, it's completely mushy, the details are missing. The images look like their spill and blend on each other.

    image.jpeg

    This was taken with an iPhone 5s, you can see her hair strands and the details are there. You can't see any paint-like splotches.

    Very crisp, and this was very cropped in, so you could imagine how sharp this photo looks when it's not expanded.

    image.jpeg

    This selfie was taken at night in a car and you can see the amount of detail in her hair without the "water color paint effect" the iPhone 6s creates.

    image.jpeg

    Once again this was shot with an iPhone 5s, this had little light and yet it looks crisp, has detail, and has no fuzziness like the 6s

    image.jpeg

    Now this selfie was taken with a 6s, and you can see how bad the fuzziness is and how unsaturated the colors are. She's supposed to have red hair and his hair is bright brown.
     
  24. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    #24
    You need to get out in the light if you want your images to be better. You images are typical in low light situations.
     
  25. KiraYamato macrumors regular

    KiraYamato

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    Oct 27, 2015
    #25
    Can't see the problems. Most probably because I was focusing on other things, can you post more of those pics focusing on the problem with long hair strands, I want to check on it in depth and help you out with a detailed analysis.
     

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