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Apple announced the arrival of the eagerly anticipated iPhone 4 in June 2010 with an improved 5Mp camera sensor, an extra 2Mp offered by the iPhone 3. There are now phones available with sensors comparable with those on compact cameras but as there is now a large number of photography related apps now available for the iPhone there is a vast potential for creativity.
- 5Mp sensor
- 5x digital zoom
- Camera on front and back
- Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio
- VGA-quality photos (0.3Mp) and video at up to 30 frames per second with the front camera
- Tap to focus video or still images
- LED flash
- Photo and video geotagging
The 960 x 640 LCD display has 326 pixels per inch, therefore text and images are extremely sharp and IPS technology provides excellent colour and contrast from almost any viewing angle. The LCD display also doubles up as a touch screen, with very few buttons on the phone itself. The touch screen is easy to use and responds extremely well.
There are very few options available within the camera app that comes pre installed on the iPhone 4. There are options to adjust the flash setting, turn HDR mode on/off, switch between the front and back cameras, switch to video mode and the shutter release button. There are other apps available which offer a self-timer, burst mode and other settings which are familiar on compact cameras.
Apple iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 has digital rather than optical zoom. The telephoto image below has been shot using the full 5x digital zoom available. As the image was shot using a tripod the image is sharp with plenty of detail but it is difficult to take a sharp picture when taking a shot hand-held with the 5x digital zoom.
Apple iPhone 4 Lens test images
ISO and noise performanceIt is impossible to set the ISO speed yourself on the iPhone 4. It is set automatically and is rumoured to be between ISO80 and ISO1000. Given that many compact cameras now have an ISO speed of at least ISO3200 then you'd expect it to be difficult to take sharp pictures in low-light, especially without the use of the flash. Using our studio test chart noise has been handled really well giving a good sharp image.
ISO Test Chart
White-balanceSimilarly to the ISO setting, the white-balance cannot be adjusted by the user on the iPhone 4. Under both the tungsten and fluorescent lights in our studio the iPhone 4 does a really good job at adjusting for the light. The fluorescent lights give a very slight magenta cast but the AWB has performed better than I have seen from some compact cameras.
Apple iPhone 4 White-balance test images
Tungsten White-Balance Test
Fluorescent White-Balance Test
Apple iPhone 4 camera: Sample images & videoUnlike most compact cameras, the iPhone doesn't have a set of scene modes available. There is a HDR mode which blends the best parts of three separate exposures into a single photo. In the example below there is clearly more detail retained in the window when using the HDR mode. The best results when using the flash are when shooting close-up items as when capturing an object in the distance, the resulting images look washed out.
Apple iPhone 4 Sample Photos
HDR | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 1000
No HDR | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 1000
Indoor | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 160
Backlit | 1/15 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 500
Close-up and flash | 1/25 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 80
Portrait | 1/17 sec | f/2.8 | 3.9 mm | ISO 100
Apple iPhone 4 camera: ProsLarge number of apps available
Size and weight
White balance performance
Apple iPhone camera: ConsExpensive
No image stabilisation
LED flash not great
No scene modes
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Apple iPhone 4 Specifications
|Optical Zoom||No Data|
|CCD pixels||5Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/3.2 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||4.54mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||3.42mm|
|Touch Screen||No Data|
|Shutter speeds shortest||No Data|
|Shutter speeds longest||1/2000sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 1000|
|Stereo Sound||No Data|
|Battery Type||Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery|
|Box Contents||iPhone 4, Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic, Dock Connector to USB Cable, USB Power Adapter & Documentation|