Why is the iPhone camera not in the centre?

dave559

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 30, 2015
20
1
Does anyone know why Apple chose to position the iPhone rear camera very close to the corner edge and not in the centre of the top instead (similar to many other mobile phones)?

If you want to try to take a landscape photo you naturally want to try to grip the phone firmly with both hands, to keep it steady, but the position of the camera means that you can easily end up with your fingers in shot, if you're not careful about how exactly you place them, which is definitely less than ideal if you're needing to take a quick picture before the moment passes.

If the camera was in the centre of the top of the phone, it'd be equally distant from each corner and so there would be far less risk of your fingers getting in the way. It seems a bit of an odd design decision therefore, so I'm wondering why it was chosen..?
 

Eileen89

macrumors 65816
Aug 12, 2014
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I don't know the answer to this, but I also don't think it matters since the positioning doesn't interfere with the iPhones awesome picture quality. I've had 7 iPhones now and Hand placement is no longer an issue whether I'm taking a portrait or landscape shot. I might be the odd woman out here, but I actually prefer the current position of the camera over having it placed in the middle like Android devices are.
 

DoctorKrabs

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2013
676
824
The iPhone wouldn't look like an iPhone that way. It would instead look like a cyclops. There is a facial quality to the camera being off to the left.

There is also already another phone that took that idea:



It would be the difference between seeing this:



And this:

 

ross1998

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2013
948
194
because the speaker(and front camera) that you use to hear calls with is in that spot and they would have to move that speaker to the side somewhere which would be extremely awkward to talk on phones with.
 

dave559

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 30, 2015
20
1
The iPhone wouldn't look like an iPhone that way. It would instead look like a cyclops. There is a facial quality to the camera being off to the left.

There is also already another phone that took that idea:

I think that usability has to win over aesthetics (I'd say that if appearance sacrifices usability, then it's not truly aesthetic), but you're right that there is something unattractive about the (clearly iPhone-inspired) HTC phone: I think it is because the camera is just too close to the edge and so the balance doesn't look right. If the camera was instead below the dividing line, I think it would look much better (and would be further away from errant fingers, too).

I take the point that others have made that the camera position has to be influenced by the loudspeaker position on the other side of the phone, which I hadn't considered. I think my old phone manages to get the positioning right (the loudspeaker on the other side is nearer the top) and is both usable and not unattractive:

IMG_0161-640px.jpg

Maybe I will just need to gradually learn to be much more careful about where I position my fingers when holding the phone..

Your pictures of the dogs made me laugh (but also feel uneasy!), by the way! :)
 

Qbnkelt

macrumors 65816
Oct 15, 2015
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Mid-Atlantic
I think it's more natural on the side. Thinking about it, most cameras have the viewfinder on the side, don't they?
 

mrex

macrumors 68040
Jul 16, 2014
3,284
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europe
i always take photos of my fingers... they should fire the person who decided to place the cam to the corner.
 

mtneer

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2012
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I think that the camera assembly needs the entire depth of the case to fit in (and even then the lens juts out). If I am not mistaken, the center of the phone has the main logic board and there is no way the lens assembly would fit over the top of that without thickening the case.
 

HEK

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Sep 24, 2013
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Why do most other devices than iPhones have their cameras in the middle. With the iPhone I can grasp the phone in landscape on left and right near the center and not get fingers in the shot. The lense is up high when holding iPhone with home button on right.

When I use the android or htc with camera in middle I cover the lense holding in landscape mode. Camera is right where I put my finger. Why can't their designers put it in corner so it's out of the way. Very poor design centering it as no matter how you hold it less room for fingers.
 
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ericgtr12

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Mar 19, 2015
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The iPhone wouldn't look like an iPhone that way. It would instead look like a cyclops. There is a facial quality to the camera being off to the left.

There is also already another phone that took that idea:



It would be the difference between seeing this:



And this:

I don't necessarily agree with this posts but it did make me LOL.
 
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thatanonymoususer

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2015
248
315
I think it's easier to repair that way. If you put it in the middle, it might take a bit more glue to keep it in place with the circuit board so that it doesn't bump around too much. When I opened up my iPhone 5s, it was really easy to take out the camera without worrying about bumping into the other components (There was some dust between the module and the glass, and it was out of warranty). The HTC M9 (couldn't find the A9) seems to have a hole in the motherboard to fit the camera through which might open up the possibility of bumping other surface-mount components.
 

mrex

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Jul 16, 2014
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Why do most other devices than iPhones have their cameras in the middle. With the iPhone I can grasp the phone in landscape on left and right near the center and not get fingers in the shot. The lense is up high when holding iPhone with home button on right.

When I use the android or htc with camera in middle I cover the lense holding in landscape mode. Camera is right where I put my finger. Why can't their designers put it in corner so it's out of the way. Very poor design centering it as no matter how you hold it les room for fingers.
during these years when using an android phone i havent taken photos of my fingers as many as i have shot by iphone in a month. so iquess im just using my iphone/ipad wrong because i always cover the lens by my index finger..
 

baller1308

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2009
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That's just how it was designed and engineered. Maybe how things are laid out internally resulted in the camera being off to the side.
 

baller1308

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2009
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during these years when using an android phone i havent taken photos of my fingers as many as i have shot by iphone in a month. so iquess im just using my iphone/ipad wrong because i always cover the lens by my index finger..
Or you know, you are just used to taking it one way which is by habit.
 

kasakka

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Oct 25, 2008
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It's mainly an internal design choice. There's a lot of components in that upper quadrant - back and front cameras, a speaker and some cables going to the display assembly.

I don't think there is an ideal placement for the camera. Any position is a compromise when you consider how the phone is held in portrait and landscape.
 

XTheLancerX

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Aug 20, 2014
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I kind of like it on the side, if I for some reason am taking some artsy picture, for example, a pic of grass and the sky above, I can put the camera closer to the ground much more easily. This shot would have been much more difficult if the lens were in the center.
 

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ericgtr12

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I kind of like it on the side, if I for some reason am taking some artsy picture, for example, a pic of grass and the sky above, I can put the camera closer to the ground much more easily. This shot would have been much more difficult if the lens were in the center.
Nice photo! I do like that aspect of it, the only drawback is how hard it is to trigger the photo while holding really still. The volume buttons are the best option for that but it's still awkward and many times I accidentally hit the power button on the opposite side and shut it off.
 

mi7chy

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Oct 24, 2014
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DSLRs have centered glass while pocket cameras are mostly offset.
 

XTheLancerX

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Aug 20, 2014
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Nice photo! I do like that aspect of it, the only drawback is how hard it is to trigger the photo while holding really still. The volume buttons are the best option for that but it's still awkward and many times I accidentally hit the power button on the opposite side and shut it off.
Thanks! I was impressed with how the iPhone handled the sun, usually there's a large obnoxious looking lens flare, or stuff is washed out or the sun is distorted or something.

Anyway, I often cause movement when trying to put pressure to hit the button on the side for a picture, kind of annoying. Maneuvering around the phone to hit the software button causes movement too. I've also hit the sleep/wake button a few times as well. Kinda annoying, smartphones aren't exactly built for professional shooting though, so there's that.
 
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teknikal90

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Jan 28, 2008
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I think that usability has to win over aesthetics (I'd say that if appearance sacrifices usability, then it's not truly aesthetic),
If that were true iphones would be made with non-slip rubber material with a protective lip over the screen.
It would also be smaller to be able to be used one handed, and a lot thicker.

aka, not an iphone
 
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HEK

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during these years when using an android phone i havent taken photos of my fingers as many as i have shot by iphone in a month. so iquess im just using my iphone/ipad wrong because i always cover the lens by my index finger..
I hardly ever took photos with my finger in the frame with iPhone. When I use android I usually have to correct my finger position, as it's always partially covering the lens. So I must be using the android phone incorrectly.

Anyone seeing it yet? Come on, I know someone has to be thinking it.

Perhaps covering the lense on any given phone isn't a matter of "proper design", but rather, and I could be way out there on this, but a matter of what you get used to. And when you use the another device, you have more error placing your fingers because of what you are used to doing. If that idea doesn't float your boat then how about this.

Look at it this way. When android copied the iPhone, they made some things different so they could claim, "see we didn't copy it? The phone lense is in a different place. So we won't be sued." The design was more esthetics and differentiation then any intelligent choice of figure positioning. Course, that didn't work out in regards to the copy suit.
 

ericgtr12

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Mar 19, 2015
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Thanks! I was impressed with how the iPhone handled the sun, usually there's a large obnoxious looking lens flare, or stuff is washed out or the sun is distorted or something.

Anyway, I often cause movement when trying to put pressure to hit the button on the side for a picture, kind of annoying. Maneuvering around the phone to hit the software button causes movement too. I've also hit the sleep/wake button a few times as well. Kinda annoying, smartphones aren't exactly built for professional shooting though, so there's that.
Spoken like a true photographer. :) For most landscape type of photos I have my DSLR on a tripod with the mirror locked up and a remote shutter, so I'm always trying to be as still as possible for the cleanest shot I can get. I get that the iPhone's sensor is still a ways off from the SLR but I have to admit it's getting pretty good.

I have a 40x30 of San Francisco on my wall from the 12MP camera on my new 6S Plus and lens aside, it competes pretty well with my older 6MP Canon DSLR.
 

HEK

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Sep 24, 2013
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DSLRs have centered glass while pocket cameras are mostly offset.
Perhaps because DSLRs where designed around transporting rolled film from left to right spool across a centered interchangeable lense and light plane system. No longer needed as film is no longer used. And if you want to sell to and look like top pro cameras of yesteryear you mimic the old design. Keeping prophesional photographers comfortable as they made switch away from film.
 
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