How the iPhone 4S camera compares to earlier phones and cameras

A white Apple iPhone 4S is shown on display at an Apple Store in Clarendon, Virginia, October 14, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Everyone lucky enough to get their hands on an iPhone 4S seems to be happy. Hidden behind the new dual-processor and cracking-wise Siri is a new camera. How much better is the new camera than previous models?

While losing the comparison test with high end profession cameras like the Canon 5DMKII, with retails for about $4,000, the iPhone 4S fares pretty well against earlier iPhone models and a consumer digital camera that retails for about $500. Chalk up another Apple design win, or are we being too hasty? Can we justify the 4S by using it rather than buying a new camera?

In most cases, yes. Color filtering has been greatly improved in the 4S over the 3GS to the point people will wonder how they ever liked photos from the earlier iPhones. But comments attack the iPhone 4S, the techniques used to compare the photos, and even basics of photography. Who know still pictures could be so noisy?

Great Jobs, Steve

I think more than the increase in megapixels, the iPhone 4S really benefits from the added IR filter which seems to capture more accurate colors and steady coloring across the entire frame.

Cristofer Cruz on campl.us

This is pretty incredible, didn't realise how big of a jump there was. You can see that the 4 has a highly capable camera but the 4S is even better.

I'm a 4S owner and can definitely see that it's better.

brackin on news.ycombinator.com

That some nice software goings on as well as the camera inside the 4S... What a great cam to have inside a phone and with you at all times.

5D2 shooter on campl.us

got lucky and shot a hummingbird taking a bath today with my 4s. It's a good example of the video quality this phone offers:

mediamaker on news.ycombinator.com

Goodbye digital camera

Amazing...the S95 just became obsolete.

Mun’im Zabidi on campl.us

however: The best camera is the one you have with you.

CWuestefeld on news.ycombinator.com

However ...

That's a very good idea in comparing the 4S to the DSLR. The issue is that the iPhone 3GS camera requires so much light for attractive photos (compared, anyway), that it would be hard to get true-to-use photos without bringing in lighting.

MIchael G. on tecca.com

The camera of the 4S is pretty good. But I wonder how does it perform under low light conditions?

Tharindu Weerasooriya on campl.us

Look, the iPhone 4s processes images with in-camera software and does it aggressively so images look pretty to the average user. They are over-saturated and over-sharpened. And the lack of detail captured by the small sensor all but negates the possibility of any REAL post processing.

rlanier on news.ycombinator.com

Will you spend the money you would have spent on a new camera on a nicer cover for your iPhone 4S?

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