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iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S cameras compared – improvements are barely noticeable

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:36PM EST

The iPhone 5’s svelte frame and all of its scratching, light-peaking and poorly delivered iOS 6 Maps app might be the talk of the town, but what about its new and improved 8-megapixel camera? Apple (AAPL) didn’t spend too much time talking about the iSight camera at the iPhone 5’s unveil event because it’s mostly the same as the one found in the iPhone 4S. Thankfully, iMore grabbed an iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S and did a fantastic shoot-out between the two device’s rear cameras. Does the iPhone 5’s camera actually live up to Apple’s marketing hype of “40% faster photo capture, better low-light performance, and improved noise reduction?” Ehh, it just barely edges out the iPhone 4S’s year-old camera.

In iMore’s detailed shoot-out analysis, the site noted that colors look punchier, not because the camera is better, but because the display’s color saturation is actually 44% greater than on previous devices. Basically, colors just appear to be more vibrant, even though they might not actually be in reality. Shooting photos in HDR saw very little improvement, but shooting photos in low-light at f/2.4 aperture saw some improvement. When looked at side-by-side, it’s very hard to tell which iPhone shot which photo.

The bottom line from iMore: “There isn’t that big of a difference between the cameras on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. There is improvements to the iPhone 5’s camera, but if you were wondering if you should upgrade because of the camera, the answer is definitely no.”

But, if you’re still not convinced that the iPhone 5 isn’t quite a DSLR-replacer just yet, take a look at it compared to a Canon 5D Mark III. That ought to change your mind.


Raymond Wong is a technology reporter with a passion for cutting-edge gadgets and clean design. His writing has appeared on DVICE, Ubergizmo, G4TV, Yahoo News, NBC blogs. You might even have seen his videos on Xbox LIVE.