Apple's iPhone 7 camera tops competition despite smaller sensor in DxOMark review

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in iPhone
Imaging specialist DxO recently wrapped up its evaluation of Apple's iPhone 7, noting the new smartphone flagship raises an already high bar set by previous models thanks to Digital Cinema (DCI-P3) color gamut support, class-leading image stabilization, fast autofocus and other enhancements.









The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 rated a DxOMark Mobile score of 86, outperforming last year's iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6s, which received scores of 84 and 82, respectively. Apple's latest flagship ranks among the top three smartphones tested by DxO.



As noted in an extensive review, iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and 7 all feature a 12-megapixel sensor and 28-millimeter equivalent lens, but this year's iPhone sports a brighter f/1.8 lens, optical image stabilization and improved image processing. The sensor itself is also upgraded for 2016.



"While Apple's flagship phones have a smaller sensor than most of their competitors, Apple uses a variety of innovative technologies to create a compelling smartphone experience in a very-thin form factor" said Frédéric Guichard, Chief Scientist at DxO. "That includes high-performance lens design, efficient sensor electronics, built-in optical image stabilization and, of course, a high performance multi-image processing pipeline."



Highlights from DxO testing include vastly improved still image quality with superior texture reproduction and reduced artifacts compared to iPhone 6s Plus. Accurate white balance and color rendering help drive a still photo sub-score of 86, while OIS and smooth autofocus resulted in a video sub-score of 85.



On the negative side, DxO noted a drop off in fine detail, focusing irregularities and visible luminance in low-light settings. OIS helped alleviate camera shake in dark scenes, though motion blur was noticeable in some low-light exposures.



The quad-LED True Tone flash is a solid performer with strong light production and accurate tonal reproduction. DxO did find a sharp drop-off in corners toward the edge of the frame, as can be expected from a camera phone.



DxO's review goes on to detail the implications of iPhone 7's new wide color gamut, RAW image file support and camera design.



DxO plans is currently evaluating iPhone 7 Plus, which boasts two camera modules instead of the single unit found on iPhone 7. Apple's larger model should boast identical specs for its wide-angle lens, but adds a for optical zoom. A new portrait mode analyzes and merges data from both cameras to create a shallow depth of field effect, keeping the subject in sharp focus against a creamy bokeh.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 270member
    There you have it! Not yelling about specs, but steady working to a better camera/innovations in every new iPhone.
    That's how Apple tops the competition.
    williamlondonredgeminipamike1netmagejahblademagman1979nolamacguywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 47
    adamcadamc Posts: 574member
    Better specs will never make you a better photography only take sharper pictures.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    There's also a very good article by Thom Hogan (Nikon expert) entitled "Coffin not quite shut, but Apple workiing on it" here, which is worth a read... http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/coffin-not-quite-shut-but.html
    redgeminipatmaymatrix077
  • Reply 4 of 47
    jannl said:
    That's how Apple tops the competition.
    There are currently 6 phones with a better DxO score than the iPhone 7.  I'm not sure topping the competition is a fair remark.  Let's wait and see when further updates come and improve the camera further.  I'm especially waiting on improvements on the bokeh as it's severely lacking at the moment.  IMO software bokeh is the wrong way to go.  Up to 3 or 4 years ago camera phones did better bokeh than what we get now with iPhone 7.
    boredumbsaldog
  • Reply 5 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,653member
    The shape of things to come:

    http://i.imgur.com/cMsKZmR.jpg

    Thats a ceiling light, but it's the next major camera upgrade to smartphones. Three optical lenses.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 6 of 47
    The HTC 10 has a score of 88 on DXO.  I actually think that's a better phone.  
    revenantboredumb
  • Reply 7 of 47
    "There were some exposure failures, such as overexposed highlights, in very tricky or high-contrast scenes, but the instances of these were minimal. " quoted from that DxO review.

    This is the biggest problem with iPhone 7 camera as I've seen in published comparisons. Apparently Apple couldn't manage the f/1.8 aperture washing out everything with excessive light. If a camera fails in "very tricky or high-contrast scenes" then it is not a good camera.
    edited September 2016 boredumb
  • Reply 8 of 47

    Apple's iPhone 7 camera tops competition


    But 6 phones got a higher score...headline doesn't seem to match story. image
    edited September 2016 gatorguySolinetmageboredumbkudu
  • Reply 9 of 47
    I'm tired of the 'drink the Kool Aid' form of reporting on this site.  Apple DID NOT 'top the competition' with the new iPhone 7 Camera.  They came is 7th place.  Why won't you report news instead of spinning it?
    revenantnetmagekudu
  • Reply 10 of 47
    Mandoji said:
    The HTC 10 has a score of 88 on DXO.  I actually think that's a better phone.  
    What is better about it? Just would like to know since I have only bought iPhone since it was introduced.
  • Reply 11 of 47
    sog35 said:

    Apple's iPhone 7 camera tops competition


    But 6 phones got a higher score...headline doesn't sem to match story. 
    Those phones ranked above the iPhone7 are MUCH larger phones. Of course they will have higher scores because of having more room for a bigger lense. Just wait till the review of the 7+ come out.
    they beat out the iPhone 6plus- that is about as big at the 7 plus. 

    I agree with steve- it is not just about the pixels, software counts for a bit as well. I have a friend who is a micro imager at Merk and has written textbooks for universities on digital cameras- he says the same thing. the bigger the sensor and the larger the pixels is just not enough. 
  • Reply 12 of 47
    sog35 said:

    Apple's iPhone 7 camera tops competition


    But 6 phones got a higher score...headline doesn't seem to match story. 
    Those phones ranked above the iPhone7 are MUCH larger phones. Of course they will have higher scores because of having more room for a bigger lense. Just wait till the review of the 7+ come out.
    I don't think iPhone 7+ has a different lens assembly on that f/1.8 lens. No such claim has been heard of yet. The only difference with iPhone 7 will be hand motion amplified by a factor of two thanks to that telephoto lens without optical image stabilization.
  • Reply 13 of 47
    Um that site is bull.

    Go to the S7 edge and actually look at the photo comparisons - I'm sure it's not just me but the photos it takes look like ass.

    Scroll down to the Texture category, the S7 has a very high score of 91, yet take one look at the examples and it's clear that it does an awful job of fine detail and clearly uses an indiscriminate sharpness filter. (The best there is clearly the 6S - the image actually looks proper.)

    That pattern of bias follows all the way through, and their outcomes don't match my own experience using the S7: firstly it performs poorly in low light (the white balance is always off and the colours are heavily graded) and it absolutely suffers in detailed photos, especially ones where there are lots of coloured patterns. (e.g. grass)
    edited September 2016 pscooter63matrix077magman1979kuduwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 47

    sog35 said:
    mclarenf1 said:
    I'm tired of the 'drink the Kool Aid' form of reporting on this site.  Apple DID NOT 'top the competition' with the new iPhone 7 Camera.  They came is 7th place.  Why won't you report news instead of spinning it?
    iPhone tops all smartphones under 5 inches.

    Of course larger phones will have better scores because of having larger lense and more room for larger hardware.


    Thinner design does not justify mediocre camera.

    iPhone 6s camera without OIS is better than 7 in terms of tonal range. Both phones have the same form factor.
    boredumb
  • Reply 15 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,193member

    Apple's iPhone 7 camera tops competition


    But 6 phones got a higher score...headline doesn't seem to match story. image
    And others tied with it. So much for a fair and balanced reporting from AI.
    boredumb
  • Reply 16 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,193member

    sog35 said:
    Those phones ranked above the iPhone7 are MUCH larger phones. Of course they will have higher scores because of having more room for a bigger lense. Just wait till the review of the 7+ come out.
    Their camera components are larger, but that's a moot point since Rogifan's comment is regarding's AI's falsified title.
    edited September 2016 gatorguyboredumb
  • Reply 17 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,918member
    sog35 said:
    Um that site is bull.

    Go to the S7 edge and actually look at the photo comparisons - I'm sure it's not just me but the photos it takes look like ass.

    Scroll down to the Texture category, the S7 has a very high score of 91, yet take one look at the examples and it's clear that it does an awful job of fine detail and clearly uses an indiscriminate sharpness filter. (The best there is clearly the 6S - the image actually looks proper.)

    That pattern of bias follows all the way through, and their outcomes don't match my own experience using the S7: firstly it performs poorly in low light (the white balance is always off and the colours are heavily graded) and it absolutely suffers in detailed photos, especially ones where there are lots of coloured patterns. (e.g. grass)
    You are right. 

    Most people in the camera world don't respect DxO. 

    They really are a joke in circles who know the industry 
    They are far from a joke as photography and smartphone companies PAY DxO for "consulting services" and to have their cameras reviewed. IMHO if a company has it's camera promoted by DxO as "one of the best in the world" there was money exchanged as well.  It does not mean anything underhanded or deceptive took place, the reviews could well be totally trustworthy, but know that DxO is in this for the money and their reviews and comments on various camera systems play a part in making it profitable. 
    edited September 2016 Soli
  • Reply 18 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,918member
    sog35 said:
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    Um that site is bull.

    Go to the S7 edge and actually look at the photo comparisons - I'm sure it's not just me but the photos it takes look like ass.

    Scroll down to the Texture category, the S7 has a very high score of 91, yet take one look at the examples and it's clear that it does an awful job of fine detail and clearly uses an indiscriminate sharpness filter. (The best there is clearly the 6S - the image actually looks proper.)

    That pattern of bias follows all the way through, and their outcomes don't match my own experience using the S7: firstly it performs poorly in low light (the white balance is always off and the colours are heavily graded) and it absolutely suffers in detailed photos, especially ones where there are lots of coloured patterns. (e.g. grass)
    You are right. 

    Most people in the camera world don't respect DxO. 

    They really are a joke in circles who know the industry 
    They are far from a joke as photography and smartphone companies PAY DxO for "consulting services" and to have their cameras reviewed. IMHO if a company has it's camera promoted by DxO as "one of the best in the world" there was money exchanged as well.  It does not mean anything underhanded or deceptive took place, the reviews could well be totally trustworthy, but know that DxO is in this for the money and their reviews and comments on various camera systems play a part in making it profitable. 
    So in other words companies need to bribe DxO to get great reviews? okay
    You think that's what Apple did? They bribed DxO to get an undeserved rating? That's not at all what I said, and it's silly for you to think that Apple would do that. I don't for a second believe DxOMark makes up actual test results. Now the obvious subjectivity involved in opining on actual images is another thing altogether and might well be tilted by a client paying for "consulting services". I don't know either way, but I've not seen evidence of actual test results being faked. 
    edited September 2016 Soli
  • Reply 19 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,193member
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:

    sog35 said:
    Those phones ranked above the iPhone7 are MUCH larger phones. Of course they will have higher scores because of having more room for a bigger lense. Just wait till the review of the 7+ come out.
    Their camera components are larger, but that's a moot point since Rogifan's comment is regarding's AI's falsified title.
    Rogifan is wrong.

    iPhone 7 does top all competition in the sub 5 inch phone catergory
    Again, AI's title in no way specifies that that they are referring to a "5 inch" phone, or the more accurate "below 5 inch" range. If AI wants to retroactively latch onto your poor defense which includes an invisible title and claims that DxO gets paid to shit on Apple despite your lack of evidence, they need to change their title and article substantially. 

    Personally, I had never heard of DxO and I find the both the differences in scores and quality to be marginal. My concern is the camera working well and being easily accessible on the few occasions I have to use it. Having read the original article I see pictures of what looks like an excellent and fair lab for testing, and nothing in the writing that reads as bias against Apple. The only bias I found is seeing this article today on AI, and then your posts defending AI's inaccurate title.

    PS: They are all (or mostly) in the 5" range, which can measured by being 4.51—5.49" or 5.00—5.99".
    edited September 2016 boredumb
  • Reply 20 of 47
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,193member
    sog35 said:
    how do you not understand that its much harder to make a great camera in a smaller phone?

    iPhone7 is the top rated phone under 5 inches.

    So the title is correct.
    1) "iPhone7 is the top rated phone under 5 inches." is your qualified title, not AI's. Unless AI qualifies their title it's as accurate as "Dewey beats Truman."

    2) I'm not sure how I let you jack this thread. There is no rule where the display size directly affects the camera components you use. Apple could make the camera components much larger if they wanted. There are innumerable phones with much larger cameras and much smaller displays that have been around for well over a decade. I seem to recall some Nokia and Sony phones that looked more camera than phone.

    Here's a Samsung device you can currently buy that has a sub-5" display and considerably larger camera components… which you claim is impossible due to some erroneous tie-in to the display size. Now, you can claim that's ridiculous in a smartphone for the masses (I'll add the qualifier that you would have failed to include), that it's a much thicker phone, that it's at the expense of many other components (e.g.: battery capacity), and that it doesn't necessary take better phones just because their lenses and sensors are better. Those would all be great points regarding this product except they are meaningless to your original device that the title is accurate as stated—which it's not.



    3) You sound like the crazy Trump supporters claiming that the debate was rigged against Trump so didn't have a change or winning while also saying that he handedly beat Clinton. You're claiming the website's testing methodology is completely flawed while also claiming their testing results show the iPhone won, after you afix your own qualifiers to it. Why does it bother you that other smartphones have good cameras, too? How does that negatively affect your iPhone's camera usage?
    edited September 2016 gatorguyboredumbtmay
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