or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Photo retrospective shows off Apple's iPhone camera quality evolution
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Photo retrospective shows off Apple's iPhone camera quality evolution

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
The team behind a popular iOS camera app has put together a retrospective showing the dramatic improvement in image quality from Apple's first iPhone on through the iPhone 5.

cams


The makers of Camera+ gathered all six versions of the iPhone ? from the first-generation model on through the iPhone 5 ? and took pictures in similar conditions with each. The resulting photographs (via TUAW) demonstrate the evolution of photo quality in Apple's bestselling handset.

The Camera+ crew shot three pictures with each phone: a well-lit macro, a skyline shot, and a candlelit low-light macro. The progression in image quality is immediately noticeable, with photos from the original iPhone very blurry and ill-defined in comparison to later models.

"It's clear from the detail shots," Lisa Bettany writes in the post, "that the iPhone 5 produces sharper photos with more accurate white balance, contrast, and saturation."

Possibly the biggest jump in quality is from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS. Despite the inclusion of a camera on the device, photography had to an extent been an afterthought on the iPhone. Apple hadn't seen fit to equip its first two models, the iPhone and iPhone 3G, with a flash, and the ability to send and receive photos as MMS messages was absent until a software update enabled the feature.

Apple has since considerably improved the iPhone's camera with nearly every new hardware iteration, adding features such as panorama mode and giving the lens a sapphire crystal surface. As the camera has improved, Apple has touted it more regularly, and now ads devoted to the camera are part of Apple's latest marketing campaign for the iPhone 5.
post #2 of 22

So no changes from 4 to 5. Only in hue or tone.

post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

So no changes from 4 to 5. Only in hue or tone.

Having upgraded from the 4 to 5, I noticed there is also a bump in both resolution and sensitivity in low light. Color balance is also different, yes, but it is not the only thing. The 5 has one of the best looking phone cameras out there.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #4 of 22

Where is the reference photo?
 

 

Update: http://campl.us/posts/6iPhoneCameras

post #5 of 22
The primary reason I'm still using iPhone is the convenience and quality of the camera.

I'd give something else a try but the most important thing to me is being able to capture the moments in my life.

Surfing the web is the other major use case for me. Pretty much any phone out there I am interested in does that as well, if not better, for a number of reasons.

So the camera has me locked in.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

So no changes from 4 to 5. Only in hue or tone.

 

You're wrong. The front cameras on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s are the same but the rear camera is quite different indeed.  On the other hand, the rear cameras on the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 are also the same but quite different from the rear camera on the iPhone 4.  

 

Since the article focusses explicitly on the rear camera only, if you said ... "So no changes from the 4s to the 5" ... you'd be (sorta) correct.  

 

Of course with 10 seconds worth of effort you could have discovered this for yourself.  The fact that you didn't bother, speaks volumes about you, and about whether we should care about what you think or say about stuff.  You basically just looked at the picture and spouted off some nonsense right?  

post #7 of 22
Gazoobee, I think the 4 is 5MP and the 4s/5 are 8MP.

iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

Reply

iPhone 5 64GB, iPhone 4S 16GB, mid-2011 iMac, Apple TV 2nd Gen, iPod Nano

Reply
post #8 of 22

The pictures and article were from September!  What kind of "news" is this?

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #9 of 22
I've said this before.. The camera has become the most important factor in smartphones today? I'm wrong? Why do you think Apples Ad agency homed in on that feature in its recent-- I think brilliant ad campaign? Look up the stats Apple follows interms of uploads through its servers -- it's OBVIOUS the camera and its functions have played a HUGE role in the love of iPhone -- did somebody say Instagram??

I love my iPhone 5 and its pics. But.... But I want camera improvements -- better zoom - it should take every pic in 16x9 unless u specify regardless of what way you hold it... And of course night pics.. Look it.. whoever truly finds a way - a real way to limit noise in night shots -- that's a winner -- half of our lives are at night -- no joke 1smile.gif
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoeinla View Post

I've said this before.. The camera has become the most important factor in smartphones today? I'm wrong? Why do you think Apples Ad agency homed in on that feature in its recent-- I think brilliant ad campaign? Look up the stats Apple follows interms of uploads through its servers -- it's OBVIOUS the camera and its functions have played a HUGE role in the love of iPhone -- did somebody say Instagram??

I love my iPhone 5 and its pics. But.... But I want camera improvements -- better zoom - it should take every pic in 16x9 unless u specify regardless of what way you hold it... And of course night pics.. Look it.. whoever truly finds a way - a real way to limit noise in night shots -- that's a winner -- half of our lives are at night -- no joke 1smile.gif

 

It is not a matter of finding a way to reduce noise as Canon and Nikon already do a very good job. It is getting that tech into smaller form factors. Or it could be licensing. I think Apple uses Sony (who is a distant 3rd to Canon and Nikon). 

post #11 of 22

I'm trying to limp my 4 until the 5s comes out and I really hope much better low light performance and adaptive exposure so that the entire scene is exposed properly. (i.e. background not super dark while foreground is light, or objects positioned left or right of center)

post #12 of 22
I think the biggest reason the 3G->3GS improvement is so dramatic is that the 3GS introduced tap-to-focus - which was phenomenal when I got the phone - it allowed me to take shots that I still can't replicate easily on a modern DSLR (7D - it requires a bunch of futzing with focus points) - a focus point will reset exposure, so it's not just about blurry or not - it could be the difference between all-dark vs. recognizable.

If you look at the originals it's pretty clear that the 3GS has the focus that the 2G/3G did not have.
post #13 of 22
So without a reference photo, it is hard to tell which is the most accurate. Obviously detail has improved, but color fidelity remains questionable without the inclusion of a reference photo.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I know you're just being an ass and basically didn't read the article at all, but  ... no.  You're wrong.  

The front cameras on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s are the same but the rear camera is quite different indeed.  On the other hand, the rear cameras on the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 are also the same but quite different from the rear camera on the iPhone 4.  

Since the article focusses explicitly on the rear camera only, if you said ... "So no changes from the 4s to the 5" ... you'd be (sorta) correct.  

Of course with 10 seconds worth of effort you could have discovered this for yourself.  The fact that you didn't bother, speaks volumes about you, and about whether we should care about what you think or say about stuff.  You basically just looked at the picture and spouted off some nonsense right?  

In all your blathering rush to call him an ass, you never even bothered to say HOW the cameras were different. Did you ever stop to think maybe his comment was based on the photo included with the article? The images from the 4/4S/5 look extremely similar in detail quality, with only a difference in hue. Just like he stated. But of course he's the one being an ass 1rolleyes.gif
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoeinla View Post

I've said this before.. The camera has become the most important factor in smartphones today? I'm wrong? Why do you think Apples Ad agency homed in on that feature in its recent-- I think brilliant ad campaign? Look up the stats Apple follows interms of uploads through its servers -- it's OBVIOUS the camera and its functions have played a HUGE role in the love of iPhone -- did somebody say Instagram??

I love my iPhone 5 and its pics. But.... But I want camera improvements -- better zoom

What zoom? Except for the phones which were grafted onto cameras, there aren't a lot of phones with zoom, unless you count cropping or pixel multiplication a zoom. You can call them a zoom, but zooming in digitally doesn't actually increase captured detail.

Quote:
it should take every pic in 16x9 unless u specify regardless of what way you hold it...

That's silly. There's nothing inherently magical about 16:9. It's just an aspect ratio, not everything has to fit your TV.
Edited by JeffDM - 5/13/13 at 6:04pm
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoeinla View Post

it should take every pic in 16x9 unless u specify regardless of what way you hold it...

That's silly. There's nothing inherently magical about 16:9. It's just an aspect ratio, not everything has to fit your TV.

 

More particularly that would entail lower resolution in one orientation or a square sensor, and then throwing away a bunch of pixels on each shot, both of which would be completely pointless.

post #17 of 22
If you want better low light reduce the number of pixels like in the HTC One. It has its flaws but is one of the better performers in low light without a doubt. I'd personally prefer the next iPhone to keep a 8mp sensor and get better low light performance rather than bump to the rumored 12mp.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Getz View Post

It is not a matter of finding a way to reduce noise as Canon and Nikon already do a very good job. It is getting that tech into smaller form factors... 

Yes, there is advanced noise-reduction technology in modern camera chipsets, but it is almost inconsequential compared to the physics behind why a 1"+ DSLR sensor is going to have dramatically better low light performance than an iPhone sensor the size of your pinky finger's nail... There is only so much that can be done without revolutionary new optics or silicon sensor architecture/material
post #19 of 22

The next iPhone will shoot in RAW mode and has a Lytro-style full light field sensor...

...claims an anonymous rumor obtained by DigiTimes.

 

Richard Getz View Post

I'm trying to limp my 4 until the 5s comes out and I really hope much better low light performance and adaptive exposure so that the entire scene is exposed properly. (i.e. background not super dark while foreground is light, or objects positioned left or right of center)

The 4 can shoot in HDR, which is designed for that use.

[this account has been abandoned]

Reply

[this account has been abandoned]

Reply
post #20 of 22
http://campl.us/posts/6iPhoneCameras

iPhone 4 has better low light details than the iPhone 4s. That is disappointing because I just upgraded to the 4s about 3 months ago from a 4.
post #21 of 22
Very interesting article, which made me curious how the iPhone camera compares with other manufacturers - I found this article where they did a "blind" test against Nokia, Samsung, Sony etc...
http://www.phonearena.com/news/6-way-blind-camera-comparison-the-results_id41342
post #22 of 22
i would have liked to see a color target photographed instead. resolution is one thing, but as you can tell from the images, color representation is all over the map.

color used to be controlled systemically by the likes of Fuji and Kodak (Fuji/Kodak certified labs) now it is a crap shoot.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Photo retrospective shows off Apple's iPhone camera quality evolution