How far along are we with regards to cellphone photography? Well, the 8-megapixel camera in the new iPhone 4s is supposed to be one of the best, and we’re gonna find out some things about it in this post.
This is how all out-of-camera JPEGs should look like: not over-sharpened, smallest details resolved, but not harsh, intense, but not posterized colors. This would actually take well to a bit of sharpening, rare for a JPEG.
Lens resolution seems to be ok in the corner as well. And about the noise in the blue sky: blues and greens always start first with noise because they are represented by fewer receptor sites in a typical Bayer array. But I must say I like the film grain-like appearance here. Of course, this area shouldn’t be sharpened, so I’d set a control point in Nik Sharpener.
The camera handles more subdued color in the shade well, too. And just so that you know, You CAN be buried with your Strat!
Black on white text is always prone to corner effects, but the iPhone 4s camera avoids this pitfall.
Detail is good here, too, even though I photographed by the the dim light filtered through the sopping bag’s sides. Autofocus had no problem under these conditions and nailed it on the red fibers.
Ok, so far, so good.
But wait there’s one more thing! 😉
Looking at the metadata from the shots I took, it appears that the camera in the iPhone 4s doesn’t know how to stop down. All shots were taken at maximum aperture, f/2.4, even this in direct sunlight. Diffraction would soon destroy resolution at such a small sensor size and of course it is easier to correct a lens for one aperture.
So, if you like to shoot at open(-ish, don’t expect Noctilux-thin depth of field!) aperture (and I do!) and can manage a bit of film-like noise, this is quite a useful little camera. But it will not open the pod bay doors for you, I’m sorry, Dave!