In case you were wondering how much Apple has improved the camera with the iPhone 5s, here is what a professional photographer thinks about it: after taking about 4,000 pictures in Scotland National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson has called he camera on the device “very capable”, and the pictures “didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone”.
The National Geographic article was noticed by Phil Schiller who shared the info via Twitter.
With intense use (I’ve made about 4,000 pictures in the last four days) I’ve discovered that the iPhone 5S is a very capable camera. The color and exposures are amazingly good, the HDR exposure feature does a stunningly good job in touch situations, the panorama feature is nothing short of amazing—seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating. Best of all it shoots square pictures natively, a real plus for me since I wanted to shoot for Instagram posting.
What surprised me most was that the pictures did not look like compromises. They didn’t look like I was having to settle for second best because it was a mobile phone. They just looked good. Nothing visually profound is being produced here, I would have to say. But it feels good, and I even noticed some of the folks on our tour putting big digital cameras aside once in a while and pulling out their cell phones when they just wanted to make a nice picture.
With the iPhone 5s Apple decided to improve the camera not by increasing the number of megapixels, but the pixels’ size. The sensor now has a 15% larger surface area, and the result is higher quality images in low-light conditions. In addition, the camera features a 5-lens element, with an f/2.2 aperture. In other words: green light for iPhoneography.