iPhone Review Part 4 – Camera and Video

In this part , basically I’ll be focusing on the camera quality and video quality and how these two can be combined to make something useful , which I’ll show you in a while.

As you’ve read in my previous reviews on how iPhone 4 works generally , in this part – I’ll be focusing on the Camera and HD Recording functionality. As we all do know that iPhone 4 camera is somewhat way behind compared to other phone camera , for instance when iPhone 3G was launched in circa 2008 , other phones were already using 5.0 Megapixel with LED Flash. Now in 2010 , iPhone 4 has 5.0 Megapixel camera with LED flash and with HD Recording functionality.

PS –  If you’re looking for a good camera , just get a DSLR (the professional camera) or a good digital camera. Phone cameras are generally mediocre and no doubt iPhone is one of them !


Understand what is HDR

Its not a huge leap but certainly its one of the best cameraphones which I’ve used. Plus with iOS 4.1 on iPhone 4 , HDR Functionality could be enabled. In layman’s term , what HDR does is that it takes 3 shots of the picture with different exposure and stitches them into one picture which would be a perfect picture. Of course , I know it does not make sense in theory at all. This is why I am bringing on to the next .  iPhone’s camera application just makes it easier for you to do this , normally you would need to adjust the exposure manually , stitch it all together with photoshop which can be very complex and time consuming especially if you’re not into photography !

Say Cheese !

To demonstrate this , I’ve taken picture with my iPhone 3G and with my iPhone 4 (with HDR and without HDR) , just for you to do comparison and to give my thoughts on it.

First let us compare a picture with HDR and without HDR over at San Franciscso Coffee in Petronas Twin Towers , Kuala Lumpur (KLCC)

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Without HDR
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With HDR

Clearly , with HDR turned on , we could see the clear difference. As its actually combination of three images , we could see more detail in the background , the shadows are much more detailed and the picture itself looks nature and its not over-exposed at all. In some situations , HDR can be proven useful , this is why Apple has included a button to turn HDR on and off according to your wish. Plus , there is a setting to keep both HDR and normal photo as at times , the normal photo would look better then HDR , for instance if you’re going to capture somebody running a marathon for instance.

EXIF data is inside , so you may extract them and get the technical details if you wish !

Comparison between predecessors

When you compare it with 3G , obviously the difference is a lot. iPhone 4 has auto-focus feature which enables you to focus on a subject , thus making it possible to take a clearer picture. Plus there is LED flash (again it seems to be very common in modern phones these days).The reason why I’ve decided to review this is to give something to compare to as humans , we as humans love to compare ourselves to some other people . Its part of us anyway

For your information I shot this plant in 3rd Floor of the , Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers Shopping Centre (KLCC)

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Taken with iPhone 3G (iOS 4.1)
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Taken with iPhone 4 (iOS 4.1 without HDR)
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Taken with iPhone 4 (iOS 4.1 with HDR)

I can’t really comment much on in terms of exposure  and aperture. What I can truly say is that iPhone 4 camera is no doubt , 50 times better then of a iPhone 3G as I’m not a photographer. However, I am able to say that with HDR turned on (Psst..you can actually enable HDR on previous generation devices , for some reason Apple disabled it) , the image looks more natural and its not washed out . But if you take a closer look , the non-HDR version (to me) looks better then the HDR version !

Low Lighting Conditions

Under low-lighting conditions , especially at night. The camera quality is kind of bad. I am guessing well its night , plus I am driving around 60 km/h . Overall it did not turn out to be well , I guess you’ll be needing steady hands for that

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Click to enlarge (Taken under low light condition) @ Mahameru Hwy

However , during early in the morning. I took this shot , it was awesome. I couldn’t able to believe the details. For privacy reasons , I’ve removed other person’s number plate. Its kind of amazing and it was taken @ 7.09 AM

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Click to see a larger picture (Yes , its amazing and the sky looks kind of cool anyway)

Video

iPhone 4 has a HD camera which simply translates into “the ability to see pimples”. To demonstrate this and to promote Malaysia at the same time , I’ve done a sample recording in Petronas Twin Towers (KLCC). I know I could have recorded the entire tour , but this is just the glimpse of it. Want more ? Honestly , come and visit Malaysia . Oh if you’re coming down to Malaysia , please drop me an e-mail.

I mean if you’re looking for the real HD quality , its better to get a camcorder , but if you’re looking for something that fits in your pocket , then iPhone 4 would sastify the need. One disadvantage is that unlike many other phones out there in the market , iPhone 4 does not allow you to toggle between SD and HD recording option. Sure , you may

Taking the Camera to the Next Level

Thanks to Galvin Tan who posted this. Basically , with iPhone 4 (and 3GS) , Google has enabled us to take a step further . Basically what Google allows us to do now in our iPhone is simply take a picture , say a book or logo  or even a barcode (Yes , barcode reader) and Google will search it and identify what is the logo , I’ve tested it out and to my surprise it works well with known brands. I know most of other people would be reviewing how good the camera takes picture , but lets take a look at how good is the camera identify things !

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Yes , its able to tell me that the logo is Monash University !
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Its even able to tell me that its an Apple logo from an iPhone 2G !
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Yep , its able to tell me that its a blank DVD+RW disk and it even reads the jewel case of an Indian Carnatic CD as well !

Whats Next

Basically I’ll be summing it up and what I think about the phone in my final part of the review !

The iPhone 4 Epic Saga (iPhone 4 Review)

Part I –  Awakening of the Beast (iPhone 4 Unboxing)

Part II – Exploring the Unknown Realms (Exploring the antennagate problem , hype behind the phone and accessibility functionality of the phone)

Part III – Eye for an eye (Testing out FaceTime, applications , Retina Display and Game Centre)

Part IV – Say Cheese (Camera and Video Recording functionality)

Part V  – The Verdict (Conclusion)

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