Apple iPhone 6: best smartphone camera ever ever ever?

Apple iPhone 6: best smartphone camera ever ever ever?Some Apple naysayers guffawed when news broke that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus would ship with 8MP rear cameras, same as the iPhone 5s before them, and the iPhone 5 before it, and the iPhone 4S before it.

But as we keep saying on Mobot, there’s far more to smartphone cameras than just the megapixel count, and indeed the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been ranked the best smartphone cameras to date by DxO Labs.

Using megapixels as a rough guide at least, one might expect the 20.7MP Sony Xperia Z3 and 16MP Samsung Galaxy S5 to appear near the top, and while they do rank highly, they’re both pipped by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In its lengthy report, DxO praises overall exposure, autofocus (even in low light), colour rendering, detail preservation (indoors and out) and flash performance. Video capture impressed too.

Needless to say, the iPhone 6 Plus in particular benefits from optical imagine stabilisation (OIS), and "on-chip phase detection" technology.

There was some criticism, however, with both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus suffering from luminance noise in low light, ghosting and fringing, and moiré (think taking a picture of your TV head on).

All in all, impressive stuff, though it perhaps doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the iPhone 5s was considered one of the best camera phones on the market. With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, things seemingly go from great to greater.

Read more about: iOS

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12 comments

Archduke Franz  Sep. 26, 2014 at 17:41

Rubbish, I'd like to see photos taken in near darkness from a few metres away without a Xenon flash.

babylon  Sep. 26, 2014 at 17:48

So were is the the LG G3 in that list, And Apples all singing, All ground breaking, Brand spanking new flagship iPhone 6 has a better camera than a mobile that is 7 months old.
Amazing.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 26, 2014 at 19:17

Considering that it took Android and iOS a good 2 1/2 years to best the Nokia N8 - and Android another 2 to reach N95 qualitu, it IS amazing... :p

satchef1  Sep. 26, 2014 at 21:17

So were is the the LG G3 in that list, And Apples all singing, All ground breaking, Brand spanking new flagship iPhone 6 has a better camera than a mobile that is 7 months old.
Amazing.


Credit where it's due. Apple have done a great job with the camera on the 6. They are slowly perfecting that 8MP shooter. I admire them for it. They're not trying to be fancy. They just keep tweaking that same camera, improving it and adding one or two (well implemented) new features each generation. There's restraint in that, and it pays off.

Other manufacturers could do with learning some lessons. Sony, for example, cram too many half-baked and largely useless software features in to their phones instead of perfecting the basics. Nokia talk big - the camera's spec sheet is mighty impressive, yet the implementation usually leaves a lot to be desired. HTC... feck knows what they're thinking these days. Samsung seem to be doing a good job of slowly making genuine improvements to their cameras - it wasn't so long ago they were a bit of a laughing stock in this area. It'll be interesting to see what the next Galaxy S brings to the table.

LG I have no experience of, but it would indeed be interesting to see DxO's verdict on that camera. I've seen tests elsewhere, but this one is the one that really counts (from an absolute perspective, other sites tend to be better for a casual use perspective).

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 26, 2014 at 21:40

I have to agree with satchef.
Obviously (I hope) I was exaggerating in my previous post. But Apple have done an incredible job over the years. Would anybody have said anno iPhone 4 that within a couple of years the iPhones' cameras would be in the top 3 of pretty much all comparisons in the smartphone sector? Samsung make cameras, Sony dito, and Nokia of course... Apple? The "fashion" phone? Mind you - I haven't had a chance to play with an iPhone 6/Plus, but I do not have reason to doubt these results. Htc might be able to catch up should they ever get over gimmickry. Samsung have failed to make one good camera running Android. And though their smartphone cameras are getting pretty good , they are a good bit away from the iPhones' or the top Lumias' (If MS/Nokia ever manage to get a grip on the speed...)...

satchef1  Sep. 26, 2014 at 22:05

The GS5 is joint second on DxO, alongside the Xperia Z2 and Z3.

I know DxO isn't flawless, but if they rate the GS5 camera then it's definitely capable. It could be that it's generally not that well rated elsewhere because software gets in the way, or it needs a lot of manual tweaking to get the best out of it. However, in expert hands, it must be pretty good to get a 79.

It's Nokia they seem to have issue with, which is interesting. You'd think the 1020 and 808 would spank everything else, in still photos at least.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 26, 2014 at 22:17

Yes, but: when I want to fiddle, I use a proper camera. No need to agree with me.
Point and shoot in almost all conditions iPhones and M7/M8 are my choice. Love the good Lumias, but their cameras need a lot of forethought and, ideally, immoveable objects...

kitechker  Sep. 27, 2014 at 08:51

I think the HTC one ultrapixel works really well in low light just needs the pixel bumped up from 4mp to 8mp. I don't understand why xenon flash has been ignored in the last few years. Surely it's a better for pics with flash? I may be wrong but you guys have been criticising the other manufacturers but isn't Apples camera made by Sony?

Archduke Franz  Sep. 27, 2014 at 11:06

I think the HTC one ultrapixel works really well in low light just needs the pixel bumped up from 4mp to 8mp. I don't understand why xenon flash has been ignored in the last few years. Surely it's a better for pics with flash? I may be wrong but you guys have been criticising the other manufacturers but isn't Apples camera made by Sony?
I was surprised to learn that about ten years ago Xenon flashes were common place in high end phones, after using that on Lumia 1020 I consider it to be an essential feature for a camera phone. In fact, I've been thinking about getting in on the big screen action with the Lumia 1520 (yes, I'm a bit of a 'fanboy') but I reckon the 1520 to be too much of a backwards step regarding the camera.

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 27, 2014 at 11:23

The 1520 is ginormous. Camera is not too shabby, by the way. Not 1020-good but the closest you get.
Though: I would love to try the HTC One M8 for Windows...

Archduke Franz  Sep. 27, 2014 at 13:01

The 1520 is ginormous. Camera is not too shabby, by the way. Not 1020-good but the closest you get.
Though: I would love to try the HTC One M8 for Windows...

Right now my number one wish is to have a phone which will comfortably get me through the day from morning to night without having to have a sneaky charge at work. I've even considered using the camera grip on the 1020 as a matter of course (ridiculous, I know), but then no wireless charging of course. I think the 1520 would solve both these problems at the expense of a slightly worse camera and having to faff around getting a new SIM card. The 930 looks alright, but probably would just end up being a compromise with neither of the cool things from the 1020 or 1520, so that's no good either.

HTC One M8 could be interesting, but nowadays you can almost say if it's not Lumia it's not WIndows Phone. Sorry to to go off topic and pretty much ignore the fact this is about the iPhone 6 camera. A guy at work has the 6 Plus and I think it doesn't seem as solid (or as aesthetically pleasing) as the 5 and 5s, so not surprised about these bending issues!

JanSt / MOD  Sep. 27, 2014 at 18:36

The 930 is faster than the 1520 (got them both around), but: it lack the Glance feature, and yes: the 1520 has a slightly better cam. And, though the 930 gets me through a busy day battery-wise, the 1520 gets me through 2 1/2! Something like an hour of GTA SA hardly registers :D

Great phone, but too big for my on-the-go kinda use.

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