Surprise: iPhone 5′s Camera Much Better Than 4S for Both Images & Video

This actually does come as a surprise since iPhone 5 was largely reported, even by Apple, to have the same 8-megapixel camera on its rear as the 4S sports. There were some improvements noted, like a dynamic f-stop feature for better low-light performance and a sapphire lens cover added for increased durability, but that was where Apple’s improvement list ended. Test results are in, and they are quite impressive for the one area of iPhone 5 that was not boasted about to be a major change.

In all conditions thrown at both cameras in side-by-side testing, it seems apparent just how much better iPhone 5′s camera is, despite still being 8 megapixels. We want to point out a very significant statement in the world of cameras: megapixels are not the defining factor of a camera. 8 megapixels is more than sufficient unless you are planning on taking a shot for a huge billboard somewhere. What matters more to a camera is aperture, how much light it can let in, improving both daytime and especially nighttime shots.

A specification crucial to camera aficionados out there, iPhone 5 has a higher ISO of 3200 vs 800 on the 4S. In layman’s terms, that means iPhone 5 is much less sensitive to light and can even produce a shot that is less noisy (reduced grain) than the 4S despite the higher ISO level. Let’s allow comparison images (courtesy of Gizmodo) do the talking, though:


There is a significant amount of definition, detail, and sharpness in the 5′s image of this cityscape, with much less noise to boot.


Darkness hides the flower to the point that it’s an unusable shot, whereas iPhone 5 retains some color and definition in this low-light shootout.


Putting iPhone 5 up against the latest Android flagship phone, Samsung’s Galaxy S III, yields some brag-worthy results, although these two are more on-par. Galaxy S III’s shooter looks a tad dull in comparison.


Screenshots taken from 1080p video captured by both iPhones are just as telling:

iPhone 4S Video Capture


























iPhone 5 continues to show off its video prowess in this side-by-side video comparison. Daylight shots look lovely, though we would wish for less noisy indoor video.

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Although it will not be replacing a DSLR anytime soon, iPhone 5 is certainly a big step ahead for cell phone-shooting. It can put up a fight against mid-range point-and-shoots, even besting or being comparable to all currently-available domestic phones (besides Nokia’s internationally-available, 41-megapixel PureView 808). At this rate, the next iPhone could be a powerhouse mobile camera.