Getting There (With A Few Caveats)

Erfurt market place provided a resolution sample scene

Erfurt market place provided a resolution sample scene


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.
Center crop from the lead photo (all photos are clickable for 100%)

Center crop from the lead photo (all photos are clickable for 100%)


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.
Corner crop to 100% pixels (if you click the image to enlarge the picture!)

Corner crop to 100% pixels (if you click the image to enlarge the picture!)


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.
Medium distance shot of an undertaker's window display

Medium distance shot of an undertaker's window display


The camera handles more subdued color in the shade well, too. And just so that you know, You CAN be buried with your Strat!
Center crop on the text

Center crop on the text


Black on white text is always prone to corner effects, but the iPhone 4s camera avoids this pitfall.
A fluffy guitar strap

A fluffy guitar strap


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! 😉

Not one for "f/8 and be there", are you, 4s?

Not one for "f/8 and be there", are you, 4s?


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!

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