I take my cell phone photography very seriously.
In fact, I’ve had September 9 blocked off on my calendar since the announcements went out, and I watched Tim Cook announce the phone as I sat in my bean bag watching on my Apple TV with a bowl of popcorn. It’s like the Superbowl, but nobody “accidentally” rips off their shirt, and there aren’t any cool commercials. I digress.
|Apple Iphone 6,|
HOW DID YOU TEST THE IPHONE 6 CAMERA?
Over the last few days I have shot thousands and thousands of frames with iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 Plus to compare the cameras. I took them into the testing lab and did all the scientific testing using a high-end Imatest system with charts and graphs and numbers, and also took them out in the real world to shoot landscapes, portraits, and action.
In all, I ran the cameras through more than 21 different tests. I put this thing through the wringer!
QUICK LOOK AT THE FINAL RESULTS
If you don’t feel like reading a 3,000 word review of the camera in the iPhone 6 Plus and just want to have something to say at the water cooler, then here you go.
The iPhone 6 Plus camera has two significant improvements: improved focus and optical image stabilization (the 6 only has digital image stabilization). The focus was better than I expected and I was rarely able to trick it into missing focus even when I pushed it hard in a very dark testing environment.
The image stabilization provides a nice improvement in sharpness in low light, but Apple used it in a very smart way to also reduce the noise in the photo (slower shutter speed and capping the max ISO lower). This produced much better images in very dim environments.
However, it’s not all roses and balloons. For some reason that I cannot understand, Apple has changed the JPG processing engine and dramatically reduced the contrast in the photos. This produces blotchy, ugly skin tones and dull, lifeless landscapes. It’s not a subtle difference at all.
I also picked up on a number of bugs in the system. One of which is a dramatically reduced frame rate when shooting in dark or high dynamic range environments. In fact, despite the faster processor on the iPhone 6 Plus, I found the iPhone 5s could shoot twice as many frames in a given amount of time.
In short, the iPhone 6 Plus improves on two of the most important aspects of the camera quality that give it better results in low light, but at the same time make missteps that hurt contrast and add bugs to the system.
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