10: Conclusion and GalleryNext
Apple iPhone 5 Camera Review
Barney Britton | Published: Oct 9, 2012 at 05:00 UTC15
Conclusion - Pros:
Conclusion - Cons:
As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, the iPhone in its various iterations, has become (quite unexpectedly) one of the most popular digital cameras ever invented. We've come a long way since the craptacular 2MP obscuroscopes offered by the early models, to the point where the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 actually offer genuinely useful image quality that in favourable conditions, is hard to tell apart from the output from 'proper' cameras.
When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn't with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display. Overall, the iPhone 5 offers the mobile photographer speed, responsiveness, and a nice range of well thought-out features.
Right now our perfect cellphone camera would offer the ergonomic finesse of the iPhone 5, and the image quality (and PureView zoom) of the Nokia 808 PureView but as a complete package, the iPhone 5 is one of the most satisfying phone cameras out there. Our wish list for future iterations includes more manual control - specifically over white balance, but we'd also like to see 'slide-to-apply' exposure compensation rather than having to rely on AF/AE lock.
The Final Word
The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and - crucially - it is supremely easy to use. It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare).
What we like:
What we don't like:
There are 39 images in our Apple iPhone 5 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.