iPhone SE Is the 1.2mp front camera on the iPhone SE noticeably bad?

nelsonammo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2011
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I'm thinking of getting an iPhone SE. I like the 4" screen size and don't mind the lack of 3D touch or 2nd gen touch ID. And the rest of the internals are virtually the same as the 6s. However the one thing that is bugging me is the weaker front camera. Only 1.2mp in 2017 seems pretty bad.

For those of you who use the SE, how has the performance of the front camera been? Has it noticeably impacted your overall usage of the phone?
 

Droidzoid

Suspended
Mar 30, 2014
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It is pretty bad by todays standards. Almost all pictures in anything remotely not sunny will come out grainy/noisy.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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I'm thinking of getting an iPhone SE. I like the 4" screen size and don't mind the lack of 3D touch or 2nd gen touch ID. And the rest of the internals are virtually the same as the 6s. However the one thing that is bugging me is the weaker front camera. Only 1.2mp in 2017 seems pretty bad.

For those of you who use the SE, how has the performance of the front camera been? Has it noticeably impacted your overall usage of the phone?
When I owned the SE, I rarely used the front facing camera. However, it's quality was sub-par from my experiences.
 

Leo90

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2014
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I rarely use the front facing camera. The quality is ok I suppose. What really matters is the rear camera and this is one is brilliant!
 

nelsonammo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2011
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Thanks for the replies. A bit disappointing about the camera. I'm really hoping it was an engineering issue that prevented them from putting in the better camera, rather than that they wanted to save $3 per unit. :rolleyes:
 

UL2RA

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May 7, 2017
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It's not bad, but when compared to newer iPhones then yes, it's noticeably worse. It's most noticeable during webcam conversations.
 

peterpayne

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2017
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Thanks for the replies. A bit disappointing about the camera. I'm really hoping it was an engineering issue that prevented them from putting in the better camera, rather than that they wanted to save $3 per unit. :rolleyes:
I think it's just a business decision... to justify charging more for the 6s... which has bigger screen and better front camera.

If they were the same people who like/are happy with 4'' screens wouldn't even consider buying an 6s, 7, etc. They couldn't make the SE perfect if they want to keep selling their bigger phones.
 

Zaft

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2009
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Brooklyn, NY
It's not bad, but when compared to newer iPhones then yes, it's noticeably worse. It's most noticeable during webcam conversations.
The front facing camera has been HD since the iPhone 5 so video quality should not be worse overall.
 

UL2RA

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May 7, 2017
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The front facing camera has been HD since the iPhone 5 so video quality should not be worse overall.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say by "worse overall" ... that means absolutely nothing. It has most of the iPhone 6S components except for the front-facing camera, which is literally the same camera from the 5S from two generations prior. So yes, it's worse than it should be. That doesn't mean it's terrible, it's just one of the downsides of the SE. They had to get it down to the price it is somehow, so some sacrifices were made. It's still a great deal for what it is.
 

Zaft

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2009
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Brooklyn, NY
I'm not sure what you're trying to say by "worse overall" ... that means absolutely nothing. It has most of the iPhone 6S components except for the front-facing camera, which is literally the same camera from the 5S from two generations prior. So yes, it's worse than it should be. That doesn't mean it's terrible, it's just one of the downsides of the SE. They had to get it down to the price it is somehow, so some sacrifices were made. It's still a great deal for what it is.
Where did I write its terrible? You misunderstood my post from the beginning. All I was saying was that unlike for pictures which are 1.2mp the video is HD so it should not be much worse than the higher end iPhones.
 

UL2RA

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Where did I write its terrible? You misunderstood my post from the beginning. All I was saying was that unlike for pictures which are 1.2mp the video is HD so it should not be much worse than the higher end iPhones.
It's noticeably worse than newer phones. I video chat a lot. If you don't think so, that's fine. That's just not been my experience.
 

dcpmark

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
910
667
Left is the iPhone SE, right?
Left:Lumia; Right: iPhone
Is the left the iPhone SE and the right the Lumia Phone ?
And the winner is.....Le Big Mac! (and Saintsfan1970). The 1.2 MP face-facing camera even has better detail than the 5 MP Lumia front-facing camera, although the Lumia has better tones.

There is a huge misconception that more MPs automatically means better pictures. Low-light noise is about sensor size more than anything else....a 1" 1.2 MP sensor will be a ton better in low light than 1/3" 14 MP smartphone camera sensor. Processing also plays a part, which is why lower-MP iPhones have won many head-to head photo reviews with higher-MP Samsungs and others in the past.

You also have to consider what your selfies are for......are your selfies to be displayed on your cell phone, tablet, or computer monitor, or your 65" 4k TV? Are you printing your selfies at poster size or blowing them up to crop them, then printing them out ?? If your selfies never leave Facebook/Instagram/etc, and you are always displaying them on your cell/tablet/laptop, 5 MP is probably overkill. Now, the selfie sensor could be bigger, but then you give up screen real estate.

Remember that for YEARS Apple refused to play the spec game, and was even secretive about specs at times, preferring to focus consumers on the end product. But I think that they have succumbed to the same marketing tactics that first PC and now smart phone manufacturers know, that they can get people to buy their products with a simple spec bumps without many consumers thinking about why they need to have the higher specs. I firmly believe that we are reaching the point of diminishing returns.....why do you need a 4k screen in a 5" cell phone display? Yet some are clamoring for them.

As always, JMHO.
 

nfl46

macrumors 604
Oct 5, 2008
6,898
3,952
The iPhone SE front-facing camera reminds me of the 12-inch MacBook front-facing camera. They are both bad.

But, yes, there's a noticeable difference when you compare to it the iPhone 6S/7 line of iPhones.
 

nelsonammo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2011
158
179
The right one is the iPhone SE? The quality of the two pics looks the same but the colors of the left one are much more vibrant. What a disappointment.
 

dcpmark

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
910
667
The right one is the iPhone SE? The quality of the two pics looks the same but the colors of the left one are much more vibrant. What a disappointment.
The right one was from an iPhone 6.

Here's a better comparison for you: an SE vs a 6s, which you would probably prefer since it has a 5 MP front camera.


IMG_0854.JPG
 
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