Photography site dpreview.com has published a lengthy review of the iPhone 5's camera. Last year, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz called the iPhone "the snapshot camera of today", and the iPhone has been the most popular camera on Flickr for years.

NewImage
The full review is worth a read, but this excerpt looks at interesting questions about the future of casual photography and how the simple "camera phone" has revolutionized both the mobile phone and camera industries.

This is great news for people like us who write about digital photography, because it signals a paradigm shift. This doesn't happen often, and it's very exciting when it does. Already, we're seeing mainstream camera manufacturers scrabbling to add connectivity to their products, and it's not just desperation that's making them do it. If the iPhone, and devices like it, have had a transformative effect on the industry it's because they've had a transformative effect on peoples' expectations of cameras, and photography. And the industry is doing what it always does - moving to fulfill a need.

The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it's not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and - crucially - it is supremely easy to use. It isn't much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn't any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare). When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don't normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn't with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display.

Top Rated Comments

CBJammin103 Avatar
110 months ago
For the photography snobs: The best camera is the one you have with you, and any shot you take is better than one you didn't.

For the phone camera supporters: A phone camera will never compare to a same-gen DSLR. Period, end of story.

The iPhone is simply a different tool than a traditional camera. It's nice that the iPhone 5 camera is solid, but I don't see how this is a paradigm shift any more than the previous iPhone cameras.

I WILL say that the iPhone has totally replaced a point-n-shoot for my purposes.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kjs862 Avatar
110 months ago
I've been a reader of dpreview for years. They publish very credible info.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
curmudgeon32 Avatar
110 months ago
Ok, I don't get DSLRs anymore. I firmly believe they are fundamentally obsolete.
OK. Well, a lot of professional photographers might disagree with you, along with all the major manufacturers of cameras.


The "viewfinder" on an iPhone shows exactly what the final captured image is going to be (modulo resolution), because it is displaying exactly what the CCD is capturing. It's, in fact, better than a traditional SLR, because you don't have to hold the camera up to your eye to see through the lens!
Again, a lot of people who make their living taking photographs specifically WANT a viewfinder because it helps with composition and is one less source of battery drain. And if you're seriously pretending the iPhone is a better camera than, say, a high-end Canon or Nikon DSLR (which, incidentally, also have live-view LCDs on the back) -- well, you're fooling yourself.

So if a DSLR is named that because it retains the mirror-prism-viewfinder system, then that is a ridiculous anachronism that does nothing but raise the price needlessly.
There are new camera systems (micro 4/3s, for example) that don't rely on a flip-up mirror. But the DSLR seems to be a proven form factor that works for a lot of professionals.

Also, you fail to realize that legacy lenses and accessories are a major investment for photographers and nobody's going to just throw all that stuff away because it's supposedly "obsolete".
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
John.B Avatar
110 months ago
For the photography snobs:
Appreciation for good photography automatically makes someone a snob?

The iPhone 5 is nice, but it doesn't come even close to the DSLR. Not that I expect it to.
It doesn't need to, it only needs to fill the gap where a full-sized rig is too much to carry.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrjamieb Avatar
110 months ago
But lens flares are awesome :D

Not if you're a photographer :/
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shurcooL Avatar
110 months ago
I'm not trying to demean your choice to bring an iPhone instead of a DSLR on vacation. But if you want to "wow" people with your vacation photos... an iPhone is not the right tool. Not to mention any printer and/or lcd monitor is going to reveal stark differences between a APS-C/FullFrame sensor and the tiny sensor found in your iPhone.
Basically this.

http://dcurt.is/iphone-5-vs-5d-mark-iii

The iPhone 5 is nice, but it doesn't come even close to the DSLR. Not that I expect it to.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 6 in hand

Apple Faces Another iPhone Lawsuit Over 'Programmed Obsolescence'

Monday March 1, 2021 6:44 am PST by
Apple faces a new class-action lawsuit that accuses it of deliberately releasing iOS updates that slowly reduce the performance of an iPhone, forcing customers to upgrade their devices. The lawsuit comes from the Portuguese Consumer Protection Agency, Deco Proteste (via Marketeer), which in a statement says that it will proceed with a case against the Cupertino tech giant because it...
PIA23764 RoverNamePlateonMars web

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover Uses Same PowerPC Chipset Found in 1998 G3 iMac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:21 am PST by
NASA's Perseverance rover, which recently made history landing on the surface of Mars, is powered by the same processor used in an iMac more than 23 years old. Image Credit: NASA As reported by NewScientist (via Gizmodo), the rover includes the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip used in the G3 iMac in 1998. The main chipset is the same; however, there are differences between the...
magsafe charging brick feature

Prosser: iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack to Feature Reverse Charging

Monday March 1, 2021 1:18 pm PST by
Apple is working on MagSafe-compatible battery packs that will be compatible with the iPhone 12 models, and leaker Jon Prosser today said on the Genius Bar podcast that one version of the battery pack will feature "reverse charging." According to Prosser, Apple is working on two versions of the battery packs, one that's a standard version and one that's a premium version with reverse...
iphone 12 pro display video

iPhone 13 to Include 1TB Storage Option and LiDAR Across the Board, Says Wedbush Analyst

Monday March 1, 2021 4:00 am PST by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 13 could include a 1TB storage option for some models and LiDAR Scanners across the entire lineup, according to a report from Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said that initial Asian supply chain checks gave the firm "increased confidence" that Apple's 5G-driven product cycle would extend well into 2022,...
Top Stories 47 Feature copy

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, and AirPods Rumors, macOS 11.2.2, MagSafe Wallet Revisited

Saturday February 27, 2021 6:00 am PST by
March is right around the corner, and that means our first good opportunity for Apple product launches in 2021 as the company frequently has significant launches in March or April each year. We're hearing rumors about MacBook Pro, iMac, AirPods, and more, although many of these will be coming out at different times over the course of the year. This week also saw a macOS update to address a ...
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
iphone 12 120hz thumbnail feature

Kuo: iPhone 13 Lineup to Feature Smaller Notch and Larger Batteries, 120Hz Display for Pro Models, and More

Monday March 1, 2021 7:50 am PST by
iPhone 13 models will all feature a smaller notch, while the two Pro models will be equipped with low-power LTPO display technology for a 120Hz refresh rate, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Several other sources have previously claimed that some iPhone 13 models will support a 120Hz refresh...
maxresdefault

HomeKit Essentials Worth Checking Out

Saturday February 27, 2021 7:05 am PST by
HomeKit was slow to take off after its 2014 launch, but now that it's been around for seven years, there are hundreds of HomeKit products available, ranging from doorbells and speakers to TVs, lights, and cameras. In our latest YouTube video, we rounded up some of our favorite HomeKit products that we find most useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. HomePod...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...