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Why Is The iPhone Camera So Crummy?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
was amazed that the 2008 iPhone will not have an improved camera. the iPhone camera can't take a decent photo unless (1) you have really good light, (2) you are in the focal range which is soft and deep, and (3) you don't jiggle at all and blur it. so about half the time, forget using it. i know, i've tried.

you'd think a company that prides itself on hardware would fix this out of pure shame. there are plenty of good phone cameras available they could use instead. they could charge extra for a 'pro' model. does Jobs just hate picture taking, or what?
post #2 of 37
I posted this in another thread:

Quote:
As a photographer (by hobby, not by profession), I own a dSLR (Nikon D80, I'm hoping to upgrade to the D300 if I can sell my D80 for a decent price and have enough money), and a few compacts for portability/casual shooting. That info isn't really related, but it just provides background for my perspective. It always bothers me when people have high expectations for cell phone cameras. For the same reason that I have shitty (compared to my dSLR) point and shoot cameras is because there is a benefit to having a portable camera where you don't care so much about picture quality but rather just getting SOMETHING that looks ok. In this sense, I feel that SLRs are to compacts as compacts are to cell phone cameras. The point of a cell phone camera is not to get great photos, but just to capture a moment of spontaneity, or for the phone features (i.e. pictures for contacts). It will be a long time before cell phones are even par with even point-and-shoot cameras, and I don't think they'll ever replace them entirely.

A few reasons why camera phones suck:
  • Cost. Good cameras are still expensive: the better the camera, the more expensive. Of course point-and-shoots are not all that expensive as stand-alone products, but as part of a cell phone, you're talking about a pretty good percentage of a camera's component cost. Cell phone makers don't want to integrate a great camera if it's half the component cost of the camera.
  • Size. It's true what they say. Size does matter. A cell phone, unlike an a camera, unlike a iPod (unless you have an iPhone!) you take everywhere and you need almost everywhere. It matters to people if they're carrying around a hefty and bulky brick in their purse or pocket! Good cameras are heavy, and good cameras take up space. Space that's really critical in a product like a cell phone.
  • Optics. What does sex have in common with lenses? The bigger the better. Jokes aside, larger lenses have far superior optics. That means better, sharper pictures. You simply can't have a big lens in a cell phone. That would be like a this (south park reference, viewer discretion advised).
  • Light. Cell phones do poorly in low-light settings causing dark, blurry, or shaky photos. Again, this has to do with size. Many cell phone sensors don't actually have a real aperture, but rather a digital aperture. As in, the cell phone records what the sensor sees for a given period of time, but no aperture is physically opening or closing. This is a good thing in one sense because it means the aperture is always at it's maximum so the most light is getting to the sensor and the light is adjusted digitally though the sensor. But what's bad about this is that the sensor is really small so not a whole lot of light is getting there. New sensor technologies are drastically improving low light performance in cell phone camera chips, but the techs not to market yet and is still more expensive). Also having to do with light, flashes are generally too weak to be effective, and even if they are strong enough, they're too close the the lens causing bad color and red eye.
  • Resolution. High resolution is good because it captures more detail, allows you to crop later (therefore not require zoom), and generally lends to better quality photos. But the best resolution with the worst optics and lighting still makes for a shitty picture. You're essentially wasting great resolution when there ain't the mojo to back it up. That's why I always laugh when I see these 10MP point-and-shoot cameras with tiny lenses because those cameras are so much worse than a 6MP dSLR. It's like having a super efficient air conditioning unit with the least efficient coil. The entire efficiency is limited by the (lack of) efficiency of the coil. Also, another important thing to note is that you have to QUADRUPLE the megapixel to DOUBLE the resolution. A 10 Megapixel camera is not twice as good as a 5 megapixel camera, it's 25% better (in terms of resolution).
  • Performance. This is becoming much less true every day, but it's still a mild concern. And that is to say that powering a good camera requires extra juice that's already being taken up by other functions of a cell phone: talk time and more and more, data, entertainment (music and videos), and the internet.

Sorry for the long and laborious-to-read post, but I thought I might explain my thoughts fully. And for the reasons above, that's why I'm happy Apple isn't wasting money putting a 5MP sensor in the iPhone. In the future better cell phone cameras will be a good upgrade path, but not now.
post #3 of 37
I just don't get it. Why do people want such great cameras on cell phones?

I've used my iPhone camera maybe 3 times since I've owned it. Is it my DSLR? Absolutely not, but it gets the job done. The photo opportunites that would present themselves for an iPhone shot are not needing great quality.

It's not like you're a photographer, going to do somebody's wedding pictures or senior pictures...and show up with an iPhone....
post #4 of 37
It's very simple. Apple cheaped out on the camera module and spent the (vast) sums of money elsewhere.
post #5 of 37
Yeah, yeah, yeah, camera phones suck. "Use a DSLR if you want a decent photo"... Snore.... Zzzzzzzzz.....

The point isn't that camera phones suck, it's that some suck more than others and the iPhone camera is quite high on the 'this sucks' pile for no particular reason. It's not a terribly thin phone or small so it's not like they don't have space for a 3.2mp sensor, some decent glass and a flash to at least bring it up to merely 'sub-average' performance for an expensive phone. Oh, and a shutter button!

The point with ALL camera phones is as mbradley67 put it - you've usually got a phone with you when the opportunity arises for a quick snap BUT the iphone is terrible at quick snaps.

Saying that, how many weddings have you been to lately where most of the guests are using cameraphones to take pictures?
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

Yeah, yeah, yeah, camera phones suck. "Use a DSLR if you want a decent photo"... Snore.... Zzzzzzzzz.....

The point isn't that camera phones suck, it's that some suck more than others and the iPhone camera is quite high on the 'this sucks' pile for no particular reason. It's not a terribly thin phone or small so it's not like they don't have space for a 3.2mp sensor, some decent glass and a flash to at least bring it up to merely 'sub-average' performance for an expensive phone. Oh, and a shutter button!

With the iPhone it's about space and money. The iPhone is packed really densely and there really isn't any room to add extra camera components like a flash, larger lens, larger sensor, etc. On the money side, sure Apple could make a few changes to the iPhone's camera, but those changes wouldn't make a big tangible differences AND it would cut into people's profit margins.

Quote:
The point with ALL camera phones is as mbradley67 put it - you've usually got a phone with you when the opportunity arises for a quick snap BUT the iphone is terrible at quick snaps.

Saying that, how many weddings have you been to lately where most of the guests are using cameraphones to take pictures?

Actually, most people use their regular compact point-and-shoot digital cameras at special events like weddings. The only time a cell phone camera is great is for the times you don't think about caring a camera with you.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

With the iPhone it's about space and money. The iPhone is packed really densely and there really isn't any room to add extra camera components like a flash, larger lens, larger sensor, etc. On the money side, sure Apple could make a few changes to the iPhone's camera, but those changes wouldn't make a big tangible differences AND it would cut into people's profit margins.

I'm sorry but I don't think that reasoning washes at all. The iphone is freaking huge as a phone and phones much, much smaller than the iPhone manage it - Sony W890 for example.


Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Actually, most people use their regular compact point-and-shoot digital cameras at special events like weddings. The only time a cell phone camera is great is for the times you don't think about caring a camera with you.

I would say that about 70% of the people taking pictures at the three most recent weddings I've been to have been camera phone users, not cameras. Perhaps it's just my social circle but that's what I see.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

I'm sorry but I don't think that reasoning washes at all. The iphone is freaking huge as a phone and phones much, much smaller than the iPhone manage it - Sony W890 for example.

The phone is large, but the components are packed very tightly, unlike in some smaller phones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

I would say that about 70% of the people taking pictures at the three most recent weddings I've been to have been camera phone users, not cameras. Perhaps it's just my social circle but that's what I see.

Most of the photos my friends post on facebook are from regular cameras, not their camera phones.
post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
for me anyway, i'd use the iPhone camera a lot for taking impromptu photos of friends at social occasions or when we are just out and about - the classic snapshot. my gang loves that (i don't want to get in trouble, but culturally speaking many are Asian/Asian-American, and yes, that makes a difference - snapshots are almost a social obligation). but i can't drag a point-and-shoot pocket camera around with me everyday. so having one built into the phone is really meaningful to me.

the Sony W800 i used to have had a better camera. and it was a lot smaller phone than the iPhone. like icfireball said, i don't expect a good camera. just would like something not so bad. since many snapshots are indoors or in the evening, dealing with lower light is more important for that than resolution.
post #10 of 37
The iPhone needs a 3.2MP camera with a flash, end of.
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post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

was amazed that the 2008 iPhone will not have an improved camera. the iPhone camera can't take a decent photo unless (1) you have really good light, (2) you are in the focal range which is soft and deep, and (3) you don't jiggle at all and blur it. so about half the time, forget using it. i know, i've tried.

you'd think a company that prides itself on hardware would fix this out of pure shame. there are plenty of good phone cameras available they could use instead. they could charge extra for a 'pro' model. does Jobs just hate picture taking, or what?

I'm pretty sure Jobs likes picture taking, but his sensibility w/respect to camera phones are that they are crap, and doesn't want to try to do the camera features games unless they have to(*). However, there are likely are multiple, more germane reasons though for the lack of high camera phone features on the iPhone: Apple doesn't own the multiple multimedia chain on MS Windows since iPhoto and iMovie don't ship for MS Windows; the aforementioned tradeoffs with device volume, thickness, battery life, time-to-market, quality, etc.; and who knows, maybe they aren't designing the iPhone as a camera phone, who would think that? All of these have nothing to do with what Apple's CEO thinks, but rather technical and marketing issues.

(*) I'm pretty sure Jobs wants the iPhone to be Hasselblad quality with lots of fancy features, it just that other things are deemed more important. It could be they want something nice, but can't technically do it yet. If they do add better camera features and video features, I'm also suspecting that iPhoto and iMovie will ship for Windows XP/Vista; or at least, Web app versions.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

the Sony W800 i used to have had a better camera. and it was a lot smaller phone than the iPhone. like icfireball said, i don't expect a good camera. just would like something not so bad. since many snapshots are indoors or in the evening, dealing with lower light is more important for that than resolution.

Actually, if you look at the specifications, the SE W800i is ~15% larger by volume than the iPhone. It is smaller by planform area (from the front), but it is 20 mm thick, not including the camera protrusion for the lens.

Aegisdesign has a good choice with the SE W890 which has a 3.2 MP camera, but without flash or autofocus. It's like the iPhone but with 3.2 MP instead of 2. The W890 is a really really thin phone at 10 mm (2.3 mm thinner than the iPhone 3G). It also has front facing camera too. The Samsung Omnia, on the other hand, has a 5 MP camera with flash in a 12.5 mm thick package containing basically everything. The Omnia is a beast, but the camera is I don't know, not well balanced. It's got a puny lens and I imagine its got to have a lot of noise with its pictures. It looks like on the hairy edge where noise would start degrading the picture.
post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 
that's a good point that, without a Windows iLife tie-in Apple was not motivated to emphasize the iPhone camera. but MobileMe is a big new push by Apple now, and one thing that such services are used for extensively is photos. the WWDC demo of MobileMe showed them moving photos around with it - outdoor action snapshots drawn from an iPhoto folder - but they were too good a quality to have been taken with the iPhone (no one picked up on that)!
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

that's a good point that, without a Windows iLife tie-in Apple was not motivated to emphasize the iPhone camera. but MobileMe is a big new push by Apple now, and one thing that such services are used for extensively is photos. the WWDC demo of MobileMe showed them moving photos around with it - outdoor action snapshots drawn from an iPhoto folder - but they were too good a quality to have been taken with the iPhone (no one picked up on that)!

No one was claiming the photos were taken from an iPhone! Most of the photos were supposed to have been taken by a camera, put onto a computer, and then put onto an iPhone.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

Aegisdesign has a good choice with the SE W890 which has a 3.2 MP camera, but without flash or autofocus. It's like the iPhone but with 3.2 MP instead of 2. The W890 is a really really thin phone at 10 mm (2.3 mm thinner than the iPhone 3G). It also has front facing camera too.

I could have sworn they added a flash over the older W880 but anyhoo, my point was more that even in the really thin phones (and the iPhone isn't one of those), the camera is at least on paper better and I was expecting they'd have picked the game up since the earlier phone which was given plenty of criticism.

I just find the whole 'cameraphones suck' defence fanboy-ish when other companies manage to put increasingly decent cameras in their phones. It's an obvious weak point of the iPhone and rationalising it away as Apple having other priorities is a poor excuse.

Just look at what Sony are doing with their Cybershot series - sure they're thicker but they're now cramming in 8.1mp sensors, decent flash and making it look sexy too...

http://blog.se-nse.net/2008/06/10/re...905-aka-shiho/
post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
yeah, that was my point. the iPhone camera was too crummy for Apple to use for that MobileMe demo, even though the iPhone was the big hype of that day, and how it easily it works with MobileMe was what they wanted to show.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

I could have sworn they added a flash over the older W880 but anyhoo, my point was more that even in the really thin phones (and the iPhone isn't one of those), the camera is at least on paper better and I was expecting they'd have picked the game up since the earlier phone which was given plenty of criticism.

I just find the whole 'cameraphones suck' defence fanboy-ish when other companies manage to put increasingly decent cameras in their phones. It's an obvious weak point of the iPhone and rationalising it away as Apple having other priorities is a poor excuse.

Just look at what Sony are doing with their Cybershot series - sure they're thicker but they're now cramming in 8.1mp sensors, decent flash and making it look sexy too...

http://blog.se-nse.net/2008/06/10/re...905-aka-shiho/

Fanboyish? You do know you're posting in AppleInsider? It's no different from Symbian-Freak, Crackberry, or MSMobiles. It's the nature of the beast.

After being exposed to cell phone culture for awhile now, I can pretty much tell you that Apple will never implement high feature camera functionality. Not like what you see with other camera phones. Why? It's too complicated. All they want is for the user to whip out the phone, point, then shoot. No need to worry about the many many options that are available to point-n-shoot cameras. For the functionality they want, they don't need much. I can see a time when they'll add auto-focus and flash, but my hunch is that they'll be automatic, no need to think features.

If the focus is such simplicity, no need to waste resources implementing high feature camera features.
post #18 of 37
the camera quality doesn't matter to me it could have a 1mpx camera. now getting video i guess would be nice, but i'd rather have a front facing camera like on my macbook just enough for video conferencing.

i don't buy a cellphone for its camera....phone#1 internet#2 syncing with other apple stuff #3 gps #4
i want an integrated solutions phone...one that makes my life easier and less complicated easy to get info and share with others, sync with my mb's and keep me and my wife/family in sync and not lost . many would do this-- iphone is best....oh where is camera quality on my list....next page please.

i thought the apps store was to open june 27th....hmmmmm i do need voice dialing but that's part of the "phone" functions
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post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

yeah, that was my point. the iPhone camera was too crummy for Apple to use for that MobileMe demo, even though the iPhone was the big hype of that day, and how it easily it works with MobileMe was what they wanted to show.

Actually, one can upload a picture taken with the iPhone to mobileme through the typical pop-up list of commands. I don't know if it is over-the-air (seems wasteful at 200 kbit/s upload on HSDPA or 400 kbit/s on WiFi) or if it is sideloaded from one's PC.

Like the news awhile ago that iPhone picture uploads on Flickr took the top spot among phones, I'm projecting the iPhone 3G will build upon that lead. Simplicity has its advantages.
post #20 of 37
Okay, you really want to know:

It's a Music Phone. Not a Photo Phone. Want to know why that's a distinction? Look at Sony Eriksson, they have Music Phones (Walkman Phones) and Photo Phones (The K-Series). They have feature overlaps sure, but Ws are better for music Ks are better for Photos. Yes, the iPhone is pretty advanced, but first and foremost it's a Music Phone. The camera is just an obligatory feature.

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post #21 of 37
EVERYONE uses the camera in their phone. Apple should add flash and make the optics a bit better. End of discussion, as some have pointed out.

Perhaps even more importantly, they should add video. How can it have a camera but not do video? Can't they just update the software so it does video?

The iPhone should be the best at everything. It can be. And I bet it will be, by the time I get around to getting one in a year. I mostly hope it does video.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

EVERYONE uses the camera in their phone.

Really? That's a very dangerous statement to make. I know tons of people that never use the camera built into their cell phone.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensonb View Post

Okay, you really want to know:

It's a Music Phone. Not a Photo Phone. Want to know why that's a distinction? Look at Sony Eriksson, they have Music Phones (Walkman Phones) and Photo Phones (The K-Series). They have feature overlaps sure, but Ws are better for music Ks are better for Photos. Yes, the iPhone is pretty advanced, but first and foremost it's a Music Phone. The camera is just an obligatory feature.

ok, but nearly all of Sony's W phones have 3.2mp cameras or better, flash and video.

The K series has been replaced by the C series, including the 8.1mp beauty I mentioned earlier but they were cracking cameraphones. Most of them had the same music software as the W series.

They also have the M and the P series of smartphones and now the X series. Apart from the M series, they usually have 3.2mp cameras or better with flash and video too.

Apple is just behind and there's no excuse.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

EVERYONE uses the camera in their phone.

My current mobile is an N95 8GB and I have never used the camera on it.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

ok, but nearly all of Sony's W phones have 3.2mp cameras or better, flash and video.

The K series has been replaced by the C series, including the 8.1mp beauty I mentioned earlier but they were cracking cameraphones. Most of them had the same music software as the W series.

They also have the M and the P series of smartphones and now the X series. Apart from the M series, they usually have 3.2mp cameras or better with flash and video too.

Apple is just behind and there's no excuse.

SE used to be top dog for camera phones. The S700 and then W800/K750/K800 came first ahead of Nokia but since then they have started using crap camera modules. The w890 for example is a 3.2mp camera yet its still not as good as the 2mp camera they had in the w800. The c905 should be interesting as and when it comes. Its also come to the surface that a new LG touch screen (probably sucessor to the Viewty) will be out in October and is rumored to also have 8mp with a xenon flash and get this - it will record video in 720×480 @ 30 fps. The KC550 which is already out already records in this video resolution although I think that could be 15fps. Moto will also jump on the 8mp bandwagon this year.

The point im making is that Apple have no excuse but at the end of the day its only going to limit their sales and poipularity so i dont give a crap.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The iPhone needs a 3.2MP camera with a flash, end of.

Apparently not.

Assuming you meant enf of conversation, rather than end of your contribution...

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post #27 of 37
They funny thing is that whilst its camera is not by any means adequetefor todays market its still popular in terms of usage. I remember seeing a graph some time ago showing how many people blog to flickr from various new phones and iphone came out on top ahead of even the N95 and K850. Firslty I dont know from where the information was used whether it was from one country or not but at least it shows people enjoy the camera app. Its veery easy to use and saves the pic quick meaning you can take quite a few pics quickly. If only it were just 3.2 mp.
post #28 of 37
Come on people this is a very simple thing to work out...

12 months from now Apple will release the Iphone 3.
This Iphone will focus on video / camera / ichat, etc.
I'd bet my house this Iphone will have one of the best intergrations of this out there by then. I'm talking great video recording, amazing camera, spot on video confrencing via a front camera, etc, etc.

Now... If Apple put all these feature into the iphone 3G what could then then put into the next model?

It's called Drip Feeding. Give them just enough in order to make them upgrade but leave enough back so you can release another model later on.

There is NO reason why the current iphone couldn't have a far better camera than is has now. Size has nothing to do with it. Apple have just picked two or 3 features that will make people upgrade and will now focus on another 2-3 features for the next one.

Regards,
Simon
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bavlondon2 View Post

They funny thing is that whilst its camera is not by any means adequetefor todays market its still popular in terms of usage. I remember seeing a graph some time ago showing how many people blog to flickr from various new phones and iphone came out on top ahead of even the N95 and K850. Firslty I dont know from where the information was used whether it was from one country or not but at least it shows people enjoy the camera app. Its veery easy to use and saves the pic quick meaning you can take quite a few pics quickly. If only it were just 3.2 mp.

Flickr is more popular in the USA, like the iPhone is too, especially amongst alpha-geeks. It's as simple as that.
post #30 of 37
Oh alright I exaggerated. But I bet the majority of people under 25 or even 30 use their camera in their phone, and they are the future.

SimonPickard you're probably right. Apple is shrewd. I always nitpicked on the features the iPod lacked when it first came out. They slowly add them in. That way, us Apple Fanbois buy the first one, then the second one, then the third one...brilliant. I know I certainly can't wait out for a nice camera! I'm getting one next year when I have the $$$!

Overall I understand why iPod/iPhone succeeded: simplicity. Easy to use.
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post #31 of 37
"Apple is shrewd. I always nitpicked on the features the iPod lacked when it first came out. They slowly add them in. That way, us Apple Fanbois buy the first one, then the second one, then the third one...brilliant.

Exactly. This time next year we'll have a 32GB Iphone (maybe 64GB who knows) with amazing video, camera, ichat, etc. But by then we'll be moaning about something else..... Not getting at anyone but that's the way it is. Apple are Masters at this game. Knowing exactly what they can add to a prodcut in order to sell it, but also keeping features back to sell again and again...

Bottom line I see it as this..... The Iphone is amazing. Look back 4 years and at what we have now. We should all be happy where we are. The power we have in our pockets is quite frankly scary.

Enjoy the Iphone 3G. Then next year ebay the hell out of it and buy the Iphone 4 with better features.
post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 
yup, "Drip Feeding." that's the answer. you can find repeated examples of Apple doing that with just about every product they have. a clever marketing strategy when you have a captive group of customers who are unlikely to switch to a competitor's product just to get a missing feature.

in a way it is just as well. saves me money. if the 2008 iPhone just had a better camera i'd probably buy one now to replace my 2007 iPhone, even though it is less than a year old. but instead i'll wait that extra year until 2009.

(likewise, i'm waiting patiently for an updated Mac Mini with "n" wireless, to take advantage of my "n" Airport Extreme, before replacing my 2006 model even though i need a faster one now.)

But ah, the longing ...
post #33 of 37
I have to IPhones but there camera broke twice and had to get another one.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquatic View Post

EVERYONE uses the camera in their phone. Apple should add flash and make the optics a bit better. End of discussion, as some have pointed out.

Perhaps even more importantly, they should add video. How can it have a camera but not do video? Can't they just update the software so it does video?

The iPhone should be the best at everything. It can be. And I bet it will be, by the time I get around to getting one in a year. I mostly hope it does video.

While specs aren't everything it is hard to become the market leader when you ignore certain segments almost exclusively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Really? That's a very dangerous statement to make. I know tons of people that never use the camera built into their cell phone.

How many of those people got the baseline camera for their plan or use or purchased for other advanced or "smart" features while ignoring the camera?

I purchased my last cellphone, the LG Dare for considerations that Apple has not addressed. I can't go on the AT&T network. The phone was a major consideration especially in this litigious age. The best defense is a good offense and having 8 gigs of 3.2 MP and 640x480 video goodness always with me helps quite a bit. I can take a quick picture if I post a notice to a tenant and email it to myself from my phone. If I see some kids tagging after-school and their parents want to make it my word against their child, my phone wins.

Apple needs to improve in this area. My photos don't have to be magazine ready. They just have to cover my butt. The handyman/contractor I use does the exact same thing. If he gets into a job and discovers something unexpected, out comes the phone with camera.

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post #35 of 37
simple solution.
Want a decent camera in your phone? Don't get an iPhone. I hardly use the camera on my current phone. Like many posts above, I use it for spur of the moment snapshots.
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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDRC View Post

simple solution.
Want a decent camera in your phone? Don't get an iPhone. I hardly use the camera on my current phone. Like many posts above, I use it for spur of the moment snapshots.

This is why it's crappy, people don't care if Jobs doesn't.
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post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

was amazed that the 2008 iPhone will not have an improved camera.

Nothing to be amazed about as there is really nothign on the market that could do significantly better.
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the iPhone camera can't take a decent photo unless (1) you have really good light, (2) you are in the focal range which is soft and deep, and (3) you don't jiggle at all and blur it. so about half the time, forget using it. i know, i've tried.

I could very easily say that about most camera phone systems. To get away from a fixed focus system you either need a mechanical focusing system, some sort of Fluidic lens, or other advanced optical technique. It is not like there isn't a lot of engineering and research going into camera phone sized sensors, just that iPhone 3G is just a few steps ahead of improved sensors and optics.
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you'd think a company that prides itself on hardware would fix this out of pure shame. there are plenty of good phone cameras available they could use instead. they could charge extra for a 'pro' model. does Jobs just hate picture taking, or what?

I think the thing here is that people who enjoy picture taking realize that there isn't a cell phone camera made right now that produces the type of quality even a marginal point and shoot camera can offer up. All the whining I see in the various threads about how much better the iPhone camera would be if it went with a size larger {3.2 MP} sensor is just bunk. That Mega Pixel number says nothing about what the total package can do.

In the past I've erged people to get a couple of copies of Photonics/Spectra form last year that covered what was happening research wise with respect to cell phone camera sensors. There s a lot going on and if fruitful will give us marginally improved cameras for iPhone form factor devices. Even with all the research dollars being thrown at the problems with respect the small optics there are still physical limits that cant' be exceeded. More recently if you can get your hands on the 6-26-08 issue of Electronic Design you will find an interesting article on new tech from OmniVision Technologies. {www.ovt.com}

Omni is claiming to be able to mass produce BSI sensors, sometimes known as Back Side Illuminated. The end result would be a sensitive sensor with smaller pixel sizes. This offers up the potential of higher pixel counts within the limitations imposed by the constraints on the optical assembly.

Constraints imposed on the optical assembly are key to understanding what is going on in a cell phone camera and why they can't scale quickly. In a nut shell small optics can not project a large image circle. Further the short focal length optics mean the light strikes the sensors at less than optimal angles. The Electronics Design article glosses over some of these issues. Interestingly this technology is rather simple compared to some approaches that want to use gratings and other optical techniques to channel the light to the detectors.

In any event I think we will see a better camera (s) in cell phones in relatively short time. Apple on the other hand doesn't have much to worry about as it will have its hands full the next few months just keeping up with current iPhone 2 demand. Like it or not several million people will soon vote on the importance of the current camera in the iPhone. Apple has nothing to worry about here.

AS to the new technology we could be seeing, possibly by the end of the year, the big question is will Apple be able to lock up some of this tech for its use only.

Dave
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