Apple debuts the iPhone 5’s camera: smaller, faster, harder

iphone5 cameraFull Coverage From Apple's 9/12 iPhone 5 Launch EventWithout a doubt, one of the iPhone 4S’s most lauded features has been its double duty as a point-and-shoot camera. It quickly rose to the top of Flickr’s most popular cameras and has become a major threat to digital pocket cam manufacturers. So it’s only fitting that Apple carry on the tradition with the iPhone 5.

How does the latest iteration improve on its predecessor? Allow us to quickly break it down for you, starting with what’s exactly the same.

Been there, done that

  • The iPhone 5 has an 8-megapixel sensor – same as the iPhone 4S
  • The new camera will capture images at a 3264 x 2448 resolution – same as the iPhone 4S
  • Backside illuminated sensor – same as the iPhone 4S
  • Five-element lens with F2.4 aperture – same as the iPhone 4S
  • Like the 4S, the 5 will shoot video using the rear-facing camera at 1080p…

New features

  • …But the front-facing camera will also now be able to shoot video (for Facetime purposes) at 720p.
  • There’s a new dynamic low light mode.
  • Better processing power thanks to the A6 chip, which should translate to improved noise reduction, image stabilization, face detection, faster shooting (40 percent faster), and, as mentioned above, better low light shooting capabilities. You can also now take pictures while shooting video.
  • The sapphire crystal lens: Apple says the material is renowned for being “hard and crystal clear.” It’s an attention-getting phrase, for sure, but for the record this really just means better protection for the lens. It’s a really resistant material, so you shouldn’t have to worry about damaging your iPhone 5’s camera very easily.
  • There’s a built-in panoramic stitch capability — which can shoot images up to 28 megapixels in size) — with an auto-stabilizer for those with shaky hands.
  • As expected, shareable Photo Streams are also now available (this is an iCloud and iOS 6 feature).


iphone 5 panorama 

Obviously, the iPhone 5 is smaller and thinner than the last iteration, which is generally bad news for shooting capabilities. The iPhone 5’s camera is smaller, 25 percent smaller in fact, and there’s plenty here that’s similar to what we currently have in the 4S… but Apple’s still doing what it can to remain on top of the smartphone-as-pocket-cam game.