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  • Apple Releases iPhone 4 Camera Images


    The inclusion of a 5 megapixel camera on the new iPhone 4 remedies a long-lamented shortcoming: Apple's phone cams have far underperformed the competitors in its class. If the first batch of images off the device are any indication, Cupertino has more than made up for lost time. Apple posted what it claims are unretouched photos on its website, and the quality is, frankly, stunning.

    The iPhone's rear-facing camera is reportedly manufactured by Korea's LG Innotek, and - as Steve Jobs said from the stage at Moscone Center yesterday - they didn't just cram more pixels onto the same sized chip, but instead made the whole chip bigger. As a result, the camera achieves a pixel pitch (space between sensing elements) of 1.75 microns, which brings it to about the level of a decent point and shoot camera. A higher pixel pitch gives better signal-to-noise ratio, dynamic range, and low-light performance. So while the iPhone 4's cam is not about to replace your DSLR, it might be good enough to take the place of a pocket camera.

    Some evidence in this regard is in the photos Apple is showing off on its website. These are obviously pictures that were specifically chosen to show the camera's imaging qualities under ideal conditions, so what you mostly have are shots taken in broad daylight with good contrast. Even given those caveats, however, the camera performs very well. Apple is saying that the photos on its website are unedited images straight from an iPhone 4, and Gizmodo (who as you may recall has no reason to love Apple) has taken a look at the EXIF metadata. The one photo they analyzed appears to have been taken in full-automatic mode, and is slightly over-saturated and over-exposed, which Giz notes is similar to the way Nikon cameras process their images.

    However, the mystery remains of how these cameras will perform in darker conditions. The low-light images on Apple's website are not specifically noted as being unretouched, and you would think they'd make a big deal out of them if they were. The back camera has (finally!) a built-in flash and backside illumination for better low-light imaging. The back-illuminated structure of the sensor means that incoming light doesn't have to pass through circuitry before reaching the light-sensitive components. The sensors used on the current iPhone, for example, have wires and components in from of the collection layer, which blocks some photos from getting through, making a darker and noisier image. So backside illumination - on paper at least - should make iPhone 4 images brighter and cleaner.

    We're just going to have to wait and see how the camera does in the dark. Even so, the quality of the images under optimal conditions means that at least some of your camera pics - and videos - will be comparable to those taken by dedicated point-and-shoot or flip cameras. Which is pretty good for something that fits in your front pocket.

    Take a look at Apple's gallery here.

    image via Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Releases iPhone 4 Camera Images started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 59 Comments
    1. PM5K's Avatar
      PM5K -
      I haven't seen anything that says the N8 uses a backlit CMOS sensor.
    1. psychodave's Avatar
      psychodave -
      I wanted a 5mp camera from Apple last year, Apple should of gone a few steps up. A few other smartphones out there can do better than 5mp now. Apple appears to be a bit late to the party on that feature.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      ehhh, you can easily get that quality photo by just taking a photo of a photo, or really just pushing your camera really close up
    1. rkswat's Avatar
      rkswat -
      Quote Originally Posted by psychodave View Post
      I wanted a 5mp camera from Apple last year, Apple should of gone a few steps up. A few other smartphones out there can do better than 5mp now. Apple appears to be a bit late to the party on that feature.
      Ohhhh I see.... you're one of THOSE guys. When will you and others that think as you understand that mp's does not a good picture make. It is more about the lens, amount of lite making it to the sensor and how the software processes that information. You could put a 40mp "camera" on a phone and if the rest of the system isn't up to snuff the pics will still look like crap.
      I know it sounds cool to bring up mp's when talking about cell phone cameras but when you have no clue what you're talking about the cool points just don't add up to much.
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      pics looks amazing. damn pictures are very detiled and clean i love it
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      only novices think the key to better photos lies in the number of megapixels.

      no, what matters most is the quality of the megapixels your camera uses. a phone could have a 12 megapixel camera built-in but still have grainy pictures in low light and poor focusing. Apple's doing it right by focusing on the quality.
    1. djaquapimp's Avatar
      djaquapimp -
      Quote Originally Posted by pauldanielash View Post
      We're just going to have to wait and see how the camera does in the dark. Even so, the quality of the images under optimal conditions means that at least some of your camera pics - and videos - will be comparable to those taken by dedicated point-and-shoot or flip cameras. Which is pretty good for something that fits in your front pocket.
      What I really wanna know is how is the mic on the video recording? Is it like the flip in the sense that it automatically detects the volume level and adjust accordingly? The reason I ask is bc when I'm at @ concert the sound is really crappy, distorted, and too loud on the 3GS. But my flip cam gets great sound bc of the mic sensor. If the flip senses the music being to loud it turns down the mic input. does anyone know if apple was smart enough to do the same?
    1. Amraam's Avatar
      Amraam -
      Quote Originally Posted by djaquapimp View Post
      What I really wanna know is how is the mic on the video recording? Is it like the flip in the sense that it automatically detects the volume level and adjust accordingly? The reason I ask is bc when I'm at @ concert the sound is really crappy, distorted, and too loud on the 3GS. But my flip cam gets great sound bc of the mic sensor. If the flip senses the music being to loud it turns down the mic input. does anyone know if apple was smart enough to do the same?

      let's hope so. I went to see Brand New live at Wembley in January and I recorded a load of video, but they were ruined as it was pure distortion
    1. niqolas619's Avatar
      niqolas619 -
      I could seriously care less about how good images look from a company that is pushing their own product. As the writeup says, these photos were definitely specifically chosen to show off the pluses of the camera - probably used about $15,000 in front lighting to help show off the contrast, too.
    1. Treadeater's Avatar
      Treadeater -
      Unfortunately the iPhone camera still under performs the competitors in its class. The EVO has and 8MP camera... and front facing one as well. Common Apple! keep up with the times.
    1. Amraam's Avatar
      Amraam -
      Treadeater, the iphone 4 and its camera isn't even out yet, so how can you pass a decent judgment? How many times does it need to be said in one thread - 8MP does not garantee better quality than 5MP.
    1. zoso10's Avatar
      zoso10 -
      checked out all the pictures on the Apple website and I was a little disappointed... no pictures of the inside of a bar?
    1. KiZZ's Avatar
      KiZZ -
      I love having a camera in my pocket whenever I need it, so I can catch the cute things my kids do. This is GREAT! The pictures are great quality and this will definitely be the only camera I need!
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      More unedited pictures for your entertainment and judgement (click for full resolution)







      Compare that to those of the HTC Evo and make your own conclusions. These definitely have a wider aspect ratio.






      I say iPhone wins. A lot more detail, much better color
    1. drprince89's Avatar
      drprince89 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Treadeater View Post
      Unfortunately the iPhone camera still under performs the competitors in its class. The EVO has and 8MP camera... and front facing one as well. Common Apple! keep up with the times.
      Well besides the horrid battery life my evo has, its camera inst all that amazing, 8mp is not necessarilly better than 5, Sony Ericson's had amazing 3.2mp cameras on their phones years ago that take better shot than my EVO
    1. senas8's Avatar
      senas8 -
      Tell me it not so! Jaw drops!
    1. Amraam's Avatar
      Amraam -
      The only photo that doesn't impress me much is the one of the pencils. But that's a very close up shot and I think iphones have always struggled to photo close up (close than 18"-24") things.

      Can't wait!!
    1. eg6motion's Avatar
      eg6motion -
      Wow, nice. Although I thought the old camera was decent on the 3GS. My friend has a tmobile android phone with "better camera" and the pictures look like they are from a .3mp camera from 2001. Same with video. So in Apple's defense, Megapixels aren't all that.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by niqolas619 View Post
      I could seriously care less about how good images look from a company that is pushing their own product. As the writeup says, these photos were definitely specifically chosen to show off the pluses of the camera - probably used about $15,000 in front lighting to help show off the contrast, too.
      While I agree with you to a point, do you simply toss aside all data and images the company gives regarding any features of their product? Of course they are going to give the best of the best. Notice how Apple never focuses on things they don't do compared to other companies (I am thinking flash here... before a flame war starts I am not for/against flash itself), but rather dances around topics like that. This is basic business. Take it with a grain of salt, but know that in the right hands those pics should be able to be reproduced using the camera.
    1. fbjones's Avatar
      fbjones -
      the pic's look great 5m more than i'll need