iPhone 5 Camera and Imaging Improvements

iPhone 5 Camera and Imaging Improvements

The unveiling of the iPhone 5 this week was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) consumer electronic events of the year.

The things Apple has done with the iPhone series in recent years are nothing short of amazing.  The iPhone has singlehandedly annihilated the consumer compact camera market.  And, the iPhone 5 steps up the game even further.

iPhone 5 Camera Key Specs

  • 8MP sensor (3264 x 2448 pixels)
  • f/2.4 aperture lens w/ 5 elements
  • Sapphire crystal cover
  • Apple A6 processor (2x faster than the A5)
  • 1080p HD video capture at 30fps
  • Hybrid IR filter
  • Panorama mode w/ 28MP images
  • Dynamic low light mode

While the iPhone 4S also sported an 8MP image sensor, the early thoughts (based on the sample images available on Apple’s website) are the that either the sensor or processing push the iPhone 5 to new heights in overall image quality.

iPhone 5 iSight Camera

For the first time, Apple changed the display on the iPhone – going from the 3.5″ display on previous models to a 4″ display on the iPhone 5.  All the while, the new display retains the same 326 ppi resolution for a 1136 x 640 for a natural 16:9 aspect ratio.  As such, the iPhone 5 provides a native aspect ratio for 1080p HD video capture.

The iPhone 5 display offers 44% more color saturation than the iPhone 4S and takes it to full sRGB color specification.  It also features an integrated touchscreen for an even sharper image with less glare.

The faster A6 processor should push photo processing up to 2x faster.  Apple states that images saved from the iPhoto app are save 1.7x faster over the iPhone 4S and its A5 processor.  Additionally, the iPhone 5 image capture is 40% faster than the already impressive iPhone 4S.  The A6 processor performs spatial noise reduction for cleaner images by looking at surrounding pixels to determine what is noise and what is image detail.

The A6 processor also uses a function called a smart filter that looks at the image prior to noise reduction and determines whether there should be smooth areas (like the sky) or textured areas with greater detail.

Apple managed to cram what looks to be a better camera in a smaller package – the iPhone 5 is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4s.

iOS 6, which will be the launch OS for the iPhone 5, adds Shared Photo Streams that you can set up through your iCloud account.  Shared Photo Streams will allow you to instantly share images with friends and family so that they can like or leave comments on them.  This looks like Apple’s take on Instagram, but in its own eco-system and without the retro filters.

iPhone 5 Panorama

The new Panorama feature functions much like Sony’s Sweep Panorama.  Holding the iPhone vertically and then panning it will capture a 240-degree image at 28MP.  This is an iOS 6 feature and should be implemented on the iPhone 4S as well.

iPhone 5 iMovie

The iPhone 5 offers improved video image stabilization and face detection for up to 10 people.  The front camera has been upgraded to 720p HD video with a backside illuminated sensor and face detection.  The iPhone 5 allows for FaceTime over cellular; however, reports are that AT&T will be blocking this feature.

The iPhone 5 will be available for pre-order on Friday, September 14.  It will be available at wireless carriers and Apple stores on Friday, September 21.