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iPhone 6s camera features prove Apple is at the top of its game

Published Sep 9th, 2015 5:17PM EDT
iPhone 6s Camera Features

With Apple’s special media event now behind us, we can take a step back, breathe, and take stock of the many new announcements Apple dropped on us earlier today.

As Apple tends to do, it waited until the very end of the event to introduce two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus. What makes Apple’s new iPhone so compelling, in addition to faster internals and the inclusion of 3D Touch functionality, is that the new iPhone camera represents an incredible leap forward in smartphone camera quality.

DON’T MISS: iPhone 6s release date, pricing and preorders: Everything you need to know

Without question, the most impressive new camera feature on the new iPhone is the ability shoot 4K video. During today’s presentation, Phil Schiller said that each frame of 4K video is about 8 megapixels and that Apple’s implementation ensures that captured video will look great even when recording fast moving objects. With the iPhone 6s, Apple also, rather quietly, added optical image stabilization for videos as well as for photos.

With respect to still photographs, the new camera on the iPhone 6s also represents a huge step forward in quality. For the first time in a few generations, Apple upped the iPhone camera sensor from 8 megapixels to 12 megapixels. Of course, because there’s more to high-quality photographs than megapixels, Schiller made a point of noting that photos on the new iPhone camera manage to add pixels without degrading photo quality. Also of note is that the new camera has 50% more Focus Pixels which translates into much faster autofocusing.

All told, Apple said iPhone 6s users can expect to see better photos in low light settings alongside improved depth of field and more on-point color accuracy.

The front facing camera on the iPhone 6s also got long overdue upgrade in the form of a 5 megapixel camera sensor, a huge jump from the previous model’s 1.2 megapixel sensor. Apple also came up with a clever way to improve selfies and front facing photos in general by transforming the device’s Retina Display into a makeshift flash. The way it works is simple and crafty: before a photo is taken, the screen becomes extremely bright and flashes for a split second as if to mimic traditional flash lighting. Apple calls this feature Retina Flash.

Apple writes:

When you snap a selfie, a preflash detects the lighting around you. Then a True Tone flash on the display matches the ambient light for a gorgeous shot with more true-to-life colors and more natural-looking skin tones. Retina Flash is powered by an innovative technology — a custom display chip that allows the display to flash three times brighter than usual.

Another new camera feature Apple introduced, which some might find gimmicky, is called “Liv Photos.” With Live Photos, users can tap on a photo and see video footage that was captured seconds before and after the photo was taken.

“At the heart of a Live Photo is a beautiful 12‑megapixel photo,” Apple writes. “But together with that photo are the moments just before and after it was taken, captured with movement and sound.”

As a point of interest, Live Photos are turned on by default, so if you’re angling to get a 16GB iPhone 6s, you might want to turn it off as to conserve valuable storage space.

Looking for more coverage from the Apple iPhone 6s event? Check out our hub!

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.