iPhone 4 camera mini review

Hamish Gill

Tech Support (and Marketing)
I can be quite a lazy photographer... especially when it comes to taking photos for my self that dont matter a huge amount... an example of this is the situation that requires a image to be dropped into a forum post or something similar. my other hobby is my hifi, i am a member of a hifi forum, i like to post photos of my latest bit of kit, i cant be bothered to get out my proper camera and go through the rigmarole involved... so i use my iphone

The iphone has a camera, and apps are available for taking your images from the iphone and adding them to you photobucket account. photobucket even provides the relevant BB code to just copy and paste the link into thread of a forum...
perfect for a lazy person like my self... well apart from the fact that the iphone camera is very poor!... the 3gs camera that is!
The 3gs apeared to have had no concideration to the camera at all.
im not suggesting it didnt work, in daylight it was fine.... well passable... and i did get the odd nice-ish piccy...


it also had the ability to catch you out with flare and the like... sometimes to the benefit of the image.. and sometimes not... that is of course subjective...


for the most part the results were something along these lines...


well you wouldn't frame that would you?!

still if it was just a quick shot to say.. "look i have my dac sat on top of my speaker because i have run out of room in the hifi rack" it doesnt really matter to much.
No doubt people will chime up with comments of "you should take more pride in your work".
maybe your right, maybe i should get out my d3 to take every photo... but for me, sometimes the effort just isn't worth it!

so yeah, the 3gs was noisy to the point of unusable, it had about 3 stops of dynamic range at most, had no flash... but was useful

A few months back i heard that apple were bringing out a phone that had a flash built in... an encouraging sign that they might have actually thought a little bit about the camera aspect of the device...
by coincidence i was due an upgrade the week the iphone 4 came out, so i got one!
the first thing i did was play with the camera...
its still pretty basic, its 5 megapixels instead of the 2.x in the 3gs... and it has a flash...
of course those 2 factors really dont mean much at all on paper... so how does it fair compared to the 3gs....
...well its better, its not perfect, but ...
it appears to have a broader dynamic range and better metering
you are ust going to have to take my word that the 3gs wouldnt have taken this photo as well ... i havent done direct comparisons


the auto white balance is still a bit off, but passable


but overall it does a decent enough job when the batteries in the voigtlander r2a you took out with you fail :p

and it does a much more reasonable job in mow light


ok, its not the best at low light... and most of the photos are pretty grainy... but it is a camera phone... and when you do a fairly direct comparison to the 3gs you will see where im going from...
both photos taken in low lit pubs

3gs (no flash)

4 (flash)


it also has a camera on the front so you can take photos of your self.... combine that with one or 2 of the amusing photo editing apps and you can make your self look like this


(im not that fat or old normally)


would i recomend it as a stand alone camera... god no... its aweful!!
as a stand in to a camera when convenience is key (or the batteries in your voigtlander r2a run out)... yeah, its not bad... certainly a lot better than the 3gs!
Hamish - your home bar is quite impressive!

I'm with you on the improvements in the iPhone 4 camera - it's also much more snappy when you press the GO button, almost instantaneous in fact.

The video quality is also significantly improved, and does well in low light.
I need an iphone 4 now thanks hamish thats more expense........i have currently just jaibroken my 3gs and that has opened up a whole new world but thats another story.......haha
ha, thats my local pub, although i do have a bar in my house, although its not as impressive by a good margin

as for the iphone 4, i have since realised that it also has a zoom
press the screen to selct the area to focus and it comes up with a zoom control... although the quality is obviously reduced and it would rob be better just to crop on the computer... it is a feature i missed
falls.jpg here is one of the many photo's i have taken and edited with the iPhone
I'm in the habit now whenever i take shots with my Olympus I shoot some with the iPhone as well to compare and contrast editing