Guest Post: How Good is The iPhone 5s Camera?

By Jenni Birch

The new iSight camera installed in the iPhone 5s is the same 8-megapixel camera that can be found in its predecessor. But, this time around, Apple has employed a bigger sensor to enhance its light sensitivity. The shooter is also equipped with a True Tone Flash for a more realistic image when doing night photography. New features such as burst mode, slow-mo video capture, and on-board photo filters are pre-installed on the handset. For this entry, we’ll show you the innovative features of the new and improved iSight camera on the 5s.

The Sensor

O2’s iPhone 5S page confirmed that the new 8-megapixel iSight camera “is now equipped with larger pixels and larger f/2.2 aperture.” It’s actually a bold choice for the company to retain its pixel count considering that most of its competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S4 with 13-megapixel. But, Apple focused on making its sensor and aperture opening larger, since they believe that the sheer number of pixels does not directly affect the quality of images produced.

Its individual photoreceptors have been enlarged to 1.5 microns, 15% larger than any other smartphones in its generation. This excludes the HTC One’s UltraPixel camera with a whopping 2.0-micron size. The optics are now capable of collecting 33% more light perfect for night concerts, interior shots, and twilight scenes compared to its predecessor.

Five Element Lens

The new iSight camera now includes the five-element Apple-engineered lens with a bigger f.2.2 aperture. This enhancement in the f-stop projects a larger light circle onto the sensor. As a result, apart from delivering brighter outputs, iPhoneographers are also given the opportunity to play with the depth of field using the application. By placing the camera near the subject, its background will be pushed further from the scene, thus, delivering more dramatic and stunning shots. This lens configuration also improves its dynamic range and noise production properties, which brings more detailed pictures.

Power Of True Tone Flash

Photo courtesy of Apple
Photo courtesy of Apple

Apple incorporated a flash with two colors: amber and white LED. Coined as True Tone Flash, these two colors work hand-in-hand to bring a realistic image with the right amount of color temperature. It gives you both the fluorescent and incandescent lights that automatically adjust with your shooting environment. For instance, the ambient light tungsten compensates the scene by firing off both LEDs in different intensities to create up to 1000 color temperatures. The foreground flash exposure provided by the iPhone matches with the background/ambient color to bring a more natural tone.

Automatic Image Stabilization

Photo courtesy of Apple
Photo courtesy of Apple

The Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) found in Nokia’s PureView imaging technology eliminates blurry outputs, which is commonly a result of photographer’s shaky hands. The auto image stabilizer of the iPhone 5S acts similarly. Apart from just keeping the frame still, it also automatically focuses the scene the moment it detects a movement – resulting in less blurry pictures.

Special Software Features

Gone are the complicated settings when switching from one mode to another. Upon launching the built-in camera application, you only need to swipe across the screen to switch from photo mode, square picture mode, video recorder, and panorama mode. Plus, it’s also capable of capturing slow-motion video at 120 frames per second at 720p resolution. Once you shoot a motion picture, you can specify the segment that you’d like to be rendered in slow-mo. A thumbnail is provided to you for better selection of specific frames.

Although DSLRs can produce 1080p HD slow-mo clips, TechCruch said that most of the professional cameras out there can only render 60 frames per second. The slow motion video produced by the iDevice is twice as reliable than some of the professional equipment.

Based on these features, the iPhone 5s camera is a decent solution for mobile photographers. It’s also capable of running third-party apps to enhance its features and functionalities. What do you think of the new iSight?

Jenni Birch
Jenni Birch

Jenni Birch loves to explore her passion for mobile photography. She enjoys discovering the latest innovations in camera technology and checking out the top handsets with best camera features. Follow Jenni on Twitter: @WrittenByJenni.

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