How much better is Apple’s iPhone 5S camera?

“Apple touts the iPhone 5S camera’s abilities at taking better pictures and video than any other smartphone, but just how good is it really?” Erica Marceau reports for Technology Tell. “To find out, travel photographer Austin Mann went to Iceland to compare the iPhone 5S camera against that of the iPhone 5 and tested its new features in the cold wilderness.”

The quiet beauty behind the iPhone 5S is what I find most powerful. The upgrades they made here aren’t ones that sell phones…instead, they focused on making the pictures better, even if it’s silent innovations in features no one even knows about… it’s not max megapixels or other flashy specs. The results are amazing and at the end of the day, people are going to really like the pictures coming from their iPhone 5S…and that’s really all that matters! – Austin Mann

Read more, and link to photo examples, in the full article here.


      1. Possibly the dumbest comment I’ve seen lately. I’d say the real problem is that filters are available now to people who have no idea how to properly use filters. With no true education or background in photography or film, you get over usage and improper usage of filters.

        ND filters, grad filters, uv filters, etc play an important role in getting a shot when it absolutely matters.. ie. MONEY is on the line.

        1. Use Hipstamaitc. Does not have filters. You choose a virtual lens and film, take the picture and the app processes it according to your choices and produces a one of a kind photo. Take the same pic again and it will be different. Just like real film. Not an overlay. Or try Swanko Lab by the same folks to uniquely process shots that you have already taken. You add different virtual chemicals to a tray, combining them until the tray is full, then you add a photo from your library. The pic goes into the tray and you move the phone around to agitate it. Every shot is unique, even with the same chemicals, because you can never shake the phone the same way twice.

          Also, with both apps, the effect is final, no undo. If you don’t like it, you start over. Like real film, but not as expensive. Forces you to think about the image you want to create before you shoot.

      2. I’m willing to wager that any image you’ve seen that made a lasting impression on you involved the use of at least one filter.

        The human eye and brain process visual information vastly differently than a camera is able to and so good photographers work, either at shooting time or in post, to make an image meant to be “realistic” look realistic through the use of filters, lighting, reflectors and software.

        Just because you’re experiencing Instagram filter overload doesn’t mean all filters are bad. Filters used to give an ordinary picture a distinctive look are worthwhile if they add to the story the image tells rather than just being there to make bad photos look slightly more interesting.

  1. One approach is to make a product better and allow people to discover just how great it really is. The other is to cheat at benchmarks and give the impression that your product is impressive and then hope that nobody notices that it doesn’t actually do what the specs implied it would do.

  2. He had to go to Iceland to figure that out. Good job if you can get it!

    I shot for a couple of hours at Crystal Cascades rainforest park on a borrowed iP5S and found that the camera was a cracker. There! No junket or iP5S purchase required.

  3. Apple doesn’t tout everything they design. They let the experts speak. This is a very Scandinavian attribute and IMHO, very admirable. We can never get pissed or upset with this kind of marketing or rhetoric.

    1. I’d imagine the Nokia would be superior in terms of overall quality due to the optics, but as a result form factor looks stupid. From what I have seen the images are quite impressive from the Nokia, but the iPhone will definitely produce beautiful images too, as every iPhone has. Apple had to make the balance between form and function, something that Nokia failed to do.

    2. It’s all about tradeoffs. Nokia is making certain trade offs betting that you’ll not zoom in on images shot with too little light. Apple is kind of betting you will. Either camera is going to have outstanding images in daylight. Indoors and at dusk or night the iPhone should win. It’s simply a matter of larger pixels capturing more light.

      I shoot performance photography with a 12MP professional camera, and regularly print 2’x3′ posters with the images. I don’t honestly know how big the pixel sites are in the Nokia phone, but I know my sensor is 38mm across, which is just a bit more than half the width of the Nokia phone, I can project how small their pixel sites are 🙂 Regardless, that many pixels (41M) are not going to be useful to most folks who are printing 4×6 or even 8×12 prints for family and friends. (Do the math: An 8×12 printed at 300 dpi = approx. 8.24M dots)

  4. Checked out the cam last week, and was impressed in comparison to any camera, let alone a ‘mere smartphone.’

    Video editing is a snap, and iMovie is free. Tip – take lots of short (10-15 seconds or so) clips, then your result will be easy to put together.

    1. Yea I’m diggin the slo mo. It sucks I have to email myself the slo mo video to upload it In to iMovie app for it to stay in slow motion (if I’m doing it wrong, advice please?) I did a neat video with my niece playing with a toy sword In slow mo yesterday at a birthday party (she’s under 5 and loves superhero’s not Barbie) So after emailing myself the vid I then uploading it to the iMovie app.
      Then I used a birthday card that someone bought my nephew, which was a superman card that when opened played the theme song to superman. So in about 5 minutes a novice took a slow motion video of a little sword swinger then emailed it to myself so I could then upload to iMovie app. I muted the video then I used the record option on iMovie and record the superman theme over and over as long as the video was.
      It was fun and easy to make and we all got a pretty good laugh. My niece almost look like she knew what she was doing with the sword. To much power rangers maybe?

  5. “The upgrades they made here aren’t ones that sell phones…”

    Well, if you watch middle school and high school kids creating content with the slo-mo mode, you’d rethink what camera features in a phone tip the decision toward the 5s.

  6. I have the iPhone 5 but don’t see getting the 5S because I just got a $1200 Canon 70D with WiFi that I just view on my iPhone to email or upload. I have interchangeable lenses and the new pixel phase detection that locks on focus beautifully.

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