First take video: Front facing Retina Flash on the new iPhone 6s, 6s Plus helps light up your selfie

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2015
One of the new features introduced with iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is Retina Flash, which intelligently illuminates the display to serve as a flash for selfies. AppleInsider went hands-on to see if the tech comes close to iPhone's rear-facing True Tone flash.


When activated, Retina Flash can help illuminate selfies shot in low light


The front facing camera on iPhones has always been its weakest, although that's been addressed on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with a higher resolution 5MP FaceTime sensor (a major jump over the 1.2 MP front facing camera of last year's iPhone 6).

Sensor resolution doesn't matter much, however, if you don't have sufficient illumination. While the iPhone's rear iSight camera has long featured a dedicated LED flash, taking selfies at a party or in a club often suffers from poor lighting.





Taking a page from Photo Booth on the Mac, the new iPhone 6s models can now flash the screen to illuminate selfie shots. And borrowing technology from the rear flash, the new "Retina Flash" intelligently lights the subject with a colored flash, calculated by first flashing a neutral white flash, then almost immediately re-flashing the screen with a selected color, typically an amber hue that delivers a more flattering flash than a pure white screen would.

This extra flash (activated the same way the rear flash is, via an onscreen icon) does a decent job of illuminating selfie faces, although the results (as with any single source flash) may not always be flattering.

In most cases however, having even harshly-lit subjects will be preferable to smiling faces that are too dark to stand out in a dimly lit room, or appear grainy and blurred due to inadequate lighting.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Wait, so you took a video with the new phone, and wrote an article about the new flash feature, and you couldn't even put in a few sample photos??? What kind of first look is this?
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Not that I'm a huge selfie photog…

    But it is rather brilliant to use the full screen for illumination. Anyone who has lit a set knows that the larger the light source is, the more diffuse and flattering the illumination of your subject. Even a small increase is helpful, perhaps you've seen white bounce cards attached to speed light flashes on SLR photog's cameras. The iPhone screen is like a mini soft box for selfies.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    I can't wait to try the new phone out in stores! However, I may change my mind, but to me it seems that the 6s will be something that I will fuss with in the store but won't warrant me buying one. At least immediately. I like the new rose gold though...
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple Head View Post



    I can't wait to try the new phone out in stores! However, I may change my mind, but to me it seems that the 6s will be something that I will fuss with in the store but won't warrant me buying one. At least immediately. I like the new rose gold though...



    It's a nice color, but not sure if the real phone look real rose gold... From the website, it looks like a little bit purple, but the other said it's pink...

     

    I am thinking to have 6s too, 64G but have to wait for the review and stuffs come out first and order it... :)

     

    Shouldn't be rush to have it though...

  • Reply 5 of 19

    What a crap article, no samples, no comparisons.

  • Reply 6 of 19
    No shots no camparisons article was rushed in to be the first out there ???? nyways can't wait to try out myself my iPhone will be delivered at the end of the day tomorrow ????
  • Reply 7 of 19
    I am not able to try this myself but I suspect you may get better quality selfies if you hold the phone upside down, that way the light source will be above the camera which is more flattering
  • Reply 8 of 19
    arlorarlor Posts: 529member

    I realize that blown out highlights are probably going to be a feature of this flash, but you'd think that Apple would've picked a sample photo without them. 

  • Reply 9 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Why didn't you post the selfie that was taken?

    Also how did you get a 6s?
    Does everyone have one of these already? Seems like it.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Over at MacRumors several users are calling Live Photos a "gimmick". Just because it's a feature you're not interested in doesn't make it a gimmick. To me gimmicks are features added to something just for the sake of it (so they can be shown off at an event or part of a feature list) that don't work well. That doesn't appear to be the case with Live Photos.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,023member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WeWe View Post

     



    It's a nice color, but not sure if the real phone look real rose gold... From the website, it looks like a little bit purple, but the other said it's pink...

     

    I am thinking to have 6s too, 64G but have to wait for the review and stuffs come out first and order it... :)

     

    Shouldn't be rush to have it though...


    Is your monitor properly calibrated?

  • Reply 12 of 19
    >>But it is rather brilliant to use the full screen for illumination<< Yes, it is a rather brilliant idea that has been built in to LG G3 and G4 phones for over a year. Although fair to say the Apple version probably does a better job as I don't think the color shifts on the LG. It's just a bright white blast. Still, it's an idea that's been hardwired into many phones for a bit.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,221member
    terrible review since no sample is shown. waste of my time.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Every time I read or hear the word "selfie" I feel physically ill. "Self-portrait" is just so difficult to say or write. /s
  • Reply 15 of 19
    wewe wrote: »

    It's a nice color, but not sure if the real phone look real rose gold... From the website, it looks like a little bit purple, but the other said it's pink...

    Yeah, I kinda don't get the whole addition of the rose gold. It seems like it will take away from sales of the gold phones. I mean, if you really want a phone in that shade before, you would just get a gold phone. With the new rose gold it seems like every one would get the rose gold instead. I mean, it is new and it is arguably just a prettier version of the gold phone. Maybe they are trying to get the gold version more popular with men, because before it has always kinda been a women's color. (I won't lie, male as I am, I'm still using a gold instead of the other colors. ) With the rose gold it seems like they're setting it apart as the color for women and maybe trying to make the gold look more appealing for men. I would probably get the rose gold anyway. ????
  • Reply 16 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple Head View Post





    Yeah, I kinda don't get the whole addition of the rose gold. It seems like it will take away from sales of the gold phones. I mean, if you really want a phone in that shade before, you would just get a gold phone. With the new rose gold it seems like every one would get the rose gold instead. I mean, it is new and it is arguably just a prettier version of the gold phone. Maybe they are trying to get the gold version more popular with men, because before it has always kinda been a women's color. (I won't lie, male as I am, I'm still using a gold instead of the other colors. ) With the rose gold it seems like they're setting it apart as the color for women and maybe trying to make the gold look more appealing for men. I would probably get the rose gold anyway. ????

     

    I (a man) have had a rose gold wedding band for twenty years now that was handed down through my wife's family from a time when rose gold was more popular than it is today (unless Apple brings it back). My rose gold ring is MUCH less rose than Apple's rose gold, which looks downright pink by comparison. For what it's worth.

  • Reply 17 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,806moderator
    cali wrote: »
    Why didn't you post the selfie that was taken?

    You saw the expression he made when taking it. I don't think he's mastered the duck face. It was more of a platypus than a duck (and not a happy one):

    1000

    Selfie taking needs a lot of practise. If you're good at it, you've probably been taking a lot of photos of yourself, which isn't a good thing. The obvious difference when you do it in the dark is that without the flash, it comes out really dark. Camera sensors adjust to the lowest light source too so they boost the levels of those light sources by increasing sensitivity, which can also pick up more grain. There's a photo online that gives an idea of the difference with the 6S screen flash:

    1000

    Without the flash, the only light source is behind him so the sensor adjusts to that light level and it is overexposed. With the flash being the brightest light source on the right, the sensor adjusts the sensitivity to that and so the background level is a lot lower. The tones look a bit warmer too.
    Every time I read or hear the word "selfie" I feel physically ill. "Self-portrait" is just so difficult to say or write. /s

    You can't bastardize the phrase self-portrait the same:

    http://theweek.com/articles/447231/belfie-drelfie-helfie-more-variations-selfie
    http://belfiestick.com

    "I never again have to take pics in the bathroom. I can't tell you how many times I've dropped my iphone trying to take pics. I love it! Thank God they invented belfiestick!" - Lauren

    Sigh. They have live selfies now so if social media already has or adds support for them, that'll be another variation to add. They're all belfies really because they're all taking pictures of an ...hole.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple Head View Post





    Yeah, I kinda don't get the whole addition of the rose gold. It seems like it will take away from sales of the gold phones. I mean, if you really want a phone in that shade before, you would just get a gold phone. With the new rose gold it seems like every one would get the rose gold instead. I mean, it is new and it is arguably just a prettier version of the gold phone. Maybe they are trying to get the gold version more popular with men, because before it has always kinda been a women's color. (I won't lie, male as I am, I'm still using a gold instead of the other colors. ) With the rose gold it seems like they're setting it apart as the color for women and maybe trying to make the gold look more appealing for men. I would probably get the rose gold anyway. ????

    ROSE GOLD? ROSE GOLD then... hehehehe

     

    I still like the white colour of 4s, more original and pure...

  • Reply 19 of 19
    arlor wrote: »
    I (a man) have had a rose gold wedding band for twenty years now that was handed down through my wife's family from a time when rose gold was more popular than it is today (unless Apple brings it back). My rose gold ring is MUCH less rose than Apple's rose gold, which looks downright pink by comparison. For what it's worth.

    So, if you got an iPhone 6s, what color would you go for? I really like the rose gold. In fact, of I got an ?Watch I'd get the rose gold sport. ????
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