A Photographer’s View of the iPhone 5S Camera

The new iPhone 5S was just announced this week. And being the iPhone is “the most popular camera in the world,” of course, this new edition has an upgraded camera. It’s also still a mobile phone, by the way.

Owning the iPhone 5 and thoroughly enjoying it, I still don’t consider it much of a camera – although it is very convenient. I will run to the next room for an inspired shot and grab my tiny but powerful Canon S110. It is always near me and always set to raw mode. I only use the iPhone for an “I can’t lose this shot” moment, where 10 seconds would matter. And, for everything else, I use so-called “real” cameras and lenses.

On paper, at least, the iPhone 5S camera is an improvement over the iPhone 5. The promotional video on the Apple website describing the camera is also compelling but biased and oh-so-rosy. Impressive, nonetheless.

iPhone 5S Camera Features That Matter

The iPhone 5S improves the built-in camera in ways that matter:

  • It has the same 8M sensor size but is physically larger with correspondingly larger pixels – for hopefully less image noise
  • Redesigned 5-element lens, now wider at f/2.2
  • Multi-color flash, which automatically blends white and amber light at various levels

Also, there is a new multi-shot still mode, plus a new high-speed video mode.

The flash feature fascinates me, as I’m sure someone, somewhere, patented it, and I wonder who owns the patent – if not Apple.

The bottom line is that the iPhone 5S is much closer to a good-quality, auto-mode camera. Like many current iPhone owners, I’ll likely own this soon enough with a mobile plan upgrade.

Credits: Stock images of the iPhone 5S from the Apple website.

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