Apple is on stage right now announcing its new iPhone 5, and has just revealed the details of the smartphone’s camera. It’s pretty much the same camera as the one found inside the iPhone 4S, except they made the whole thing “thinner” (the iPhone 5 is 18% thinner than its predecessor). You’ll find a slightly improved backside-illuminated sensor that shoots the same 8-megapixel photos at 3264×2448 resolution, and the same 5-element lens with a f/2.4 aperture.
There are some improvements, but they’re mostly on the software level rather than in the hardware itself. A new dynamic low light mode provides up to 2 stops of low-light improvement by evaluating nearby pixels for information. The phone’s powerful new A6 processor provides new noise reduction, better color matching, and 40% faster image capture. The hidden panorama mode discovered in the 4S is now official in the 5, allowing you to capture wide 28-megapixel photos of scenes by simply sweeping your camera.
On the video side, the quality remains at 1080p, but there’s now improved video stabilization, facial recognition, and the ability to snap stills during video recording. The Facetime camera on the front of the phone has been improved to 720p, and now also features a backside-illuminated sensor.
It’s a tad bit disappointing to see a new iPhone without major hardware updates to the camera, especially given how popular the device is as an everyday snapshot camera. The 4S camera was pretty solid, though, so it’s not like Apple had that much catching up to do., but it will soon.
Image credit: Photograph by John Bradley/Wired