Camera shootout: iPhone vs. iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS vs. iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 4S

“Taken with Camera+” has photo comparisons from all iPhone version cameras (First generation iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the new iPhone 4S), a point & shoot camera, the Canon S95 ($500), and a professional dSLR, the Canon 5DMKII ($4000+) in two situations:

1. A macro setting to test detail and quality of the cameras
2. A backlit skyline sho.

Taken with Camera+ reports, “The iPhone 4S is dramatically clearer and sharper than previous iPhone versions. Using separate focus and exposure in Camera+ on the iPhone 4 & 4S significantly helped create a more balanced exposure. While it’s not nearing the same quality as a professional level dSLR, it is comparable to a top of the line compact camera and even outshines it in some ways.”

See all of the photos in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Compare the EXIF data on each.
    These are interesting comparisons but not true comparisons if you know anything at all about photography.
    4S takes nice pictures and it is my phone of choice – but please, this is like comparing the ride of a toyota and a ferrari at 30 MPH.

    1. … you mean these pictures don’t show the excellent quality of the Canon dSLR at its best? Sure. You are correct. But, they do show the improvement in the lens quality etc. going from the original model to the 4S. And the Canon compact is not a whole lot better – if at ALL better – than the 4S.

      1. The best camera is the one you have with you when you want a picture. – So the 4S is often my best camera –
        Implicit in this comparison though, is that there is some comparison between a point and shoot, a DSLR, and the 4S. And there really is not. I shoot with a DSLR and a compact Canon – and (more frequently) with an iPhone 4S. They each have their place. You say that the Canon compact is not a whole lot better, if at all. ONLY IN THESE PICTURES – but with a 4X optical zoom, 28 to 135 mm, it is much more versatile if you actually want to take more than snapshots of your children is a sandbox. Try shooting a picture of a bird a tree. – it’s a dot in your picture. So this comparison is fine for showing the improvement of the 4S – It’s just stupid in most other respects.

        1. … correct in most of what you say. As the owner of a “4x” “27.5-110” compact, I freely admit to the value of such a lens! But … 4X28 is not 135. Close enough for gummint work, sure. And your digital zoom likely takes you there.

    2. You completely miss the point of these comparisons. They aren’t suggesting that the iPhone is some sort of DSLR replacement; it’s simply to show how damn good the iPhone 4s is. Of course, this particular comparison is of questionable value since the uploader just ripped off somebody else’s work. The original is on Vimeo – in HD:

      There are others, though… For instance:

      The point is that you have a really excellent camera in your pocket when you’re carrying an iPhone 4s.

  2. Without having read the article yet, if it’s true that the iPhone 4S is nearly the quality of the Canon S95, then it has replaced most P&Ses as the S95 is the standard for high-end P&Ses.

  3. More adequate comparison would be to other smartphones’ cameras. However, for now, I only saw one of such, and it was inadequate. “Judges” awarded SGS2 camera higher marks even though its pictures were blurry at the corners, logos on moving small trains were also blurry, and the sound was an overboard, red-zone cut spectrum.

    1. That’s ridiculous. The iPhone’s screen is larger than most LCDs on almost any camera, and it’s much better (plus you can zoom in easily). The point is not to view photos on the iPhone, but that you can take high quality photos which, when viewed elsewhere (computer, TV, etc.) look great.

      Increasing the screen size to 4.5″ isn’t going to make viewing photos on an iPhone much more enjoyable anyway.

    2. BLN continues his ad nauseum obsession with the lack of a screen size upgrade in the iPhone4S. Remember, he boldly predicted that unless the new model had at least a larger screen it would be a flop and would spell doom for the iPhone product line. Perhaps I missed it, but when do we get to see BLN enjoy a little meal of crow?

      1. The iPhone 4S story is yet to play out. As they say a couple of swallows do not a summer make. So come back and talk to me in 6 months’ time when the sales trend becomes a little clearer. In the meantime do play with yourself in your little sandpit.

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