The Camera app’s 5s-only features are worth a mention as well. With the 5s’ A7 chip, iOS 7 can automatically adjust the camera’s white balance and exposure, run algorithms to pick the best shot out of multiple ones that were actually taken behind the scenes upon pressing the shutter button, and provide automatic image stabilization without the user ever knowing what’s going on with the CPU, optics, and camera software. When all the pieces are combined, the user knows that the iPhone 5s can take slow-motion videos, shoot up to 10 photos per second, make people’s faces more natural when the flash is on, remove shakiness, and zoom on live video. Behind the scenes? iOS 7, the A7, and the camera sensor work in tandem to capture more light, process information such as closed eyes and movements, and then present it through the interface. When using an iPhone, the user only knows that the 5s takes better photos with cool new features.
All I know is that for everything that Android and Google are getting right these days, they still haven’t gotten close to touching Apple in the area that is of utmost importance to me: photo quality.
Here’s Apple’s iPhone 5s photo gallery.
In a break with previous iPhones, you can’t press-and-hold to focus in advance. The 5S shoots when you press the on-screen button, not when you release it. You can still use either of the volume buttons on the phone to shoot, or the volume buttons on the earphones as a remote control/cable-release. I like the new way - it feels much more responsive, but I have to be careful of wobbling the camera in low light.
But I’d argue that technical innovation is not what this phone is about. I’ve found the iPhone 5S to be the most fun iPhone camera to date. Instead of extra pixels, I’m enjoying the speed, performance, and the new party tricks of burst shooting, slow-motion video, and easier, better low-light shooting. It’s the most ‘invisible’ of the phones, as it just gets out of your way, so you can enjoy what you’re doing. If you like shooting on smartphones, I’d recommend that you give it a try.
If getting the best technical quality and detail is important to you, none of the improvements in the iPhone 5S is likely to appeal. Picture quality in good light hasn’t improved compared to the iPhone 5 - arguably it’s deteriorated a little. Picture quality in poor light has improved considerably, but is still far short of both the quality and usability of a dedicated camera for night photography.
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