iPhone 5 Camera Guide

iPhone 5 Camera

iPhone 5

Apple is truly a force to be reckoned with. Despite the unignorable devaluation of its shares of stocks, reports say that iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S have been the top smartphones in terms of sales in Q4 of 2012. iPhone 5 in particular, may not have reached the forecasted and anticipated figures, it remains to be the number one contender in the world of smartphones.

With various innovations compared to its predecessor, there could be tons of reasons why the iPhone 5 is still sitting comfortably in the throne. A lot of people are talking about how it is faster because of the new A6 chip, or how it looks better with its improved retina display and with significantly higher resolution because of its larger screen. But many have failed to appreciate and realize the performance and the innovations of the iPhone 5’s camera. Personally, I believe that its camera could be the dark-horse in the race to Smartphone supremacy.

This article will discuss the overall performance and innovation of the iPhone 5 camera. And hopefully it will answer how the camera stands out among the rest of the smartphones.

Technical Specifications

Camera of the iPhone 5 does not differ a lot compared to iPhone 4S. Below is the table of specifications of the two smartphones, and obviously there are significant differences particularly in the Maximum ISO, the type of lens and the front camera.

Specification iPhone 5 iPhone 4S
Sensor IMX145-Derivative IMX145
Lens Sapphire Glass
Pixel Size 1.4 µm 1.4 µm
Resolution 3264 x 2448 (8 MP) 3264 x 2448 (8 MP)
Focal Length 4.10 mm 4.28 mm
Aperture F/2.4 F/2.4
Maximum ISO 3200 1000
Average File Size 2.3 MB 2.8 MB
Front Camera 1.2MP; HD 720p VGA; 640×480


The sensors of both smartphones are not entirely the same, the iPhone 5 has like a modified chip of the ones used in the iPhone 4S. It has different circuit pathways which could be the reason of its faster performance which will be discussed further in the article. But, both have the same resolution (3264 x 2448; 8MP) and the same pixel size.

The main advantage of having a sapphire lens, aside from its durability, is that it does not need to be thick. We know that the iPhone 5 is much thinner than the iPhone 4S, this is the reason why sapphire is used in its camera module.

The significant difference specification-wise is the maximum ISO, which for the iPhone 5 could go up to 3200. That is really really high for a smartphone camera. ISO is responsible for gathering light during low-light scenarios, this could only mean that iPhone 5 could shot better than iPhone 4S in the dark.

Spec-wise, there is no question that the iPhone 5 is the winner when it comes to the front camera. HD vs VGA, c’mon, it is a landslide!


Contrast and sharpness

Due to its improved sensor and better software, iPhone 5 has better contrast and better sharpness compared to other major smartphones. Check out thes comparative picture below, taken by an NBC News Photographer and notice how the iPhone 5 stands out from the rest of the smartphones (iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S3). Although there is barely a difference compared to the 4S, but if you look closely at the background, you will notice that the iPhone 5 has more details.

Noise Reduction

The maximum ISO of the iPhone 5 camera certainly improves its low-light condition performance. The reduction of noise is very much distinguishable. Check out the picture below taken by dpreview. It depicts the quality of the picture taken with ISO set to 3200. Although the same source say that by default the ISO of the iPhone 5 camera during low light is only 1600, but that is still 60% improvement compared to iPhone 4S. Only when light conditions are really low that the smartphone will utilize the maximum ISO.

Speed and Additional Features

Because of the different type of sensor used in the camera and its overall innovative specifications, iPhone 5 proved to be faster in taking pictures than iPhone 4S, roughly about 40%. This is really a significant improvement. You can now ‘snap shots’ faster and with better quality.
iPhone 5 also added the Panorama feature in its software. Now you can create panoramic images with up to 28 megapixels in JPEG format. See the sample image below taken by Bill Richards.


In my opinion, the reign of iPhones in the smartphone industry has not been completely overthrown, contrary to a lot of people are saying. Although there have been reports of purple hazes appearing in  the images but this issue has been addressed by Apple already. I think at the end of the day when you have purchased an iPhone 5 you still have a faster and  better looking smartphone with a very innovative camera.

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