A Comparison of Sample Photos Shot with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S

After announcing its new iPhone 5 yesterday, Apple published a gallery of full-res sample photos showing the updated camera’s quality. Although the specs haven’t really changed, Apple says that the updated sensor and processor leads to better photographs. What better way to test these claims than to compare resulting photos side by side?

Luckily for us, DPReview has the droids comparison we’re looking for. When Apple’s official sample images were posted yesterday, DPReview product manager Scott Everett realized that he had taken an iPhone 4S photo that was nearly identical to one of the images — the one of the coastline in Big Sur, California.

They’ve posted the full-res versions of both files, inviting readers to compare the image quality themselves.

Here are 100% crops of roughly the same region in the photos. Can you tell which is the iPhone 5 photo, and which is the iPhone 4S photo?

If you guessed that the bottom image was shot with the newer phone/camera, you’re right. Notice how it’s a good deal sharper and more vivid than the image captured by the 5’s predecessor.

DPReview writes,

Close examination shows the iPhone 5 is using a 4.1mm lens to give a 33mm equivalent field of view, rather than the 4S’s 4.3mm lens, which gave a 35mm equivalent view. This means the new sensor is a tiny fraction larger. The iPhone 5 has also selected ISO 50, 1/3EV below the 4S’s minimum sensitivity of ISO 64.

Head on over to DPReview to compare the full-res photos for yourselves, and check out their detailed report of what’s new with the iPhone 5 camera.

iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S: Image comparison [DPReview via Cult of Mac]

Image credits: Photographs by Apple and Scott Everett/DPReview

  • mr

    hmm i dont think the shots can be compared. it seems that the focus of the iphone 4s was on the foreground on the left bottom while the iphone 5 was focusing on the beach.

  • AndrĂ© Luiz

    Besides, there is light composition totally different, mostly the different hour of the day/ shadows

  • Dave

    If Apple shot the iPhone 5 shot for an ad then it was certainly stabilized, such as mounted on an immovable stand/tripod whatever. The iPhone 4 image was probably handheld. If you want a better picture just get an HTC Titan ll and you can avoid the whole iPhone hype. There are better phones with better cameras out there.

  • Lightbulbit

    Or, basically, the iPhone 4s photo is blurry…

  • igno

    mystery debunked

  • Jason Thurman

    Really? Does the HTC Titan II have the 60+ photo apps that I have for my iPhone?

  • gabe sturdevant

    You need 60 photo apps? Im happy with three.

  • Dave

    Really? You think you can compare image quality with number of apps? And if you have 60+ apps just for photography, you #1 are not using them all or #2 are so hopeless at actual photography that you need apps to compensate. Read my comments. I was talking about the quality of the camera in the phones. iPhones have always been big on marketing and small on performance. This is devastating news to the iFanboys but before you make any more inane comments, avert your eyes from the blinding light of Apples marketing phenomenon and actually look at some of the specs of other phone out there. Or…..keep idolizing your average phone. I actually have had a Droid for nearly 3 years so I am not a Windows phone fanboy but my Droid has walked on iPhones since I have owned it.

  • Mark Penrice

    I wouldn’t say it’s a “good deal” sharper and more vivid, but you can just about tell there’s been some improvement in effective resolution and light sensitivity/metering/dynamic range adjustment. Probably not even on a par from me moving from a good 5mpx Samsung camera to a good 8mpx Canon camera.

    Sort of fits with the whole thing of the 5 being, weirdly, a smaller evolution up from the 4S than the 4S was itself from the 4…

  • Alan Dove

    Phone technology has definitely entered the phase of diminishing returns.

  • David Thunander

    The EXIF info sais the picture below is also taken by the iphone 4s.

    Iso 64
    Iphone 4S

    Same on both pictures.

  • Sporkguy

    But surely you only use Instagram, amiright?

  • Sporkguy

    Why is the iPhone 5 still taking photos in 4:3? Surely you’ll get black bars each side of the photos taken on that new (almost) 16:9 screen?

  • Philip Han

    Looks like 4×6 to me.

  • Joey Duncan

    This is McWay Falls in Big Sur, in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park incase anybody wants to know where this picture was taken.

  • SickOfTheTrolls

    Fandroid trolls suck.

  • SickOfTheTrolls

    Fandroids trolling ANYTHING with the word ‘iPhone’ on it **suck**.