I’m not much into photos from a cell phone. Since most cell phone cameras suck, I generally used it only in very limited situations. (The camera in the Nokia N95 is an exception, but at $750 the N95 is expensive even by iPhone standards, its email and web browsing are unspectacular, and it’s certainly no iPod.)
The buzz on the iPhone camera is that it’s bad — even though it’s 2MP when many are still 1.3 — so I thought I’d take some evening shots. The top photo is one of a ball game tonight, the middle is a self-portrait, and the bottom is a corner of my office.
The first thing clear is that the camera would benefit greatly from image stabilization. Colors aren’t bad on the first, and it had no problem with the stadium lighting. It would also benefit from higher light sensitivity. The hallway light is very soft in the shot of me, and it shows even more in the office photo, where the light source is a low-energy ‘125 watt equivalent’ bulb near the opposite corner from the picture. The white walls lean more to yellow, and the red stripe is especially noisy. Some noise reduction would be helpful.
Apple could add IS and noise reduction in software, and could process the file with a brightness boost in software as well. I’d highly recommend they do the first two, which address the camera’s biggest weaknesses, and would like to see the third.
So what’s my verdict? I prefer my Canon. 🙂
Seriously, I took these on a flash-less camera at night with no extra lighting because I wanted to show the worst-case scenarios. These are as bad as it gets (unless you don’t hold the camera steady). Yet the pictures are much better than from my previous cell, even though that phone had a flash, white balance settings, and brightness. But none of that could make up for the horrid optics. The iPhone’s optics may be nothing to write home about, but these pictures are 85% as good as from my first digital camera from a few years back.
For a device I’ll have everywhere I go, it’s something I can live with when I don’t have my regular camera handy. I passed on almost every picture opportunity with my last phone, but I’ll definitely take more with this one. If Apple enhances it with software it will be even better.