The iPhone 5 camera’s low-light ability is pretty amazing

By , Sep 21, 2012

At first glance, it may appear that your photos look the same when taken with either the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 4S. It may even lead you to believe that there is no difference at all between the two cameras.

But try taking a photo in a low-light situation, and one thing becomes readily apparent; the iPhone 5 is far superior when it comes to snapping photos in low-light. Take a look inside, as we compare the iPhone 4S with the iPhone 5’s low-light photo taking capabilities…

Here are the resulting photos from each device. Judge for yourselves:

This isn’t some scientific measurement, but the real world reality is this: Your photos will look better when taken from an iPhone 5 if you’re in a low-light situation. If the lighting is favorable, then it may be tougher to tell the difference between the two.

Have you noticed any other differences between the two cameras that you’d like to share? If so, please do in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out our ongoing iPhone Photography series while you’re at it.

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  • DEhrlich01

    Jeff – Thank you so much for AWESOME iPhone 5 coverage. idownloadblog is quickly becoming my go-to site for ANYTHING i-Related. Keep up the great job!

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Yeah, Jeff has been killing it these last few days.

  • SoCoMagNuM

    thats a pretty signinficant improvement i must say

  • M Last

    today is iphone 5’s day & idownloadblog’s :))
    thanks for all video.

  • http://twitter.com/cristofercruz Cristofer Cruz

    Does video recording also perform better in low-light conditions?

    • Emre SÜMENGEN

      Yes, this would be a good-to-know…

      (But the photo difference looks amazing, considering I already love the 4S camera)

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.owens.1088 Chris Owens

    Keep up the good work Jeff. As always your showing us the great features of a new phone

  • Guest

    I wonder if that has to do with the tinting on the new lens cover. A way to test that would be to match the filter’s color and apply it as a filter to an iPhone 4s photo.

  • Laga Mahesa

    FINALLY. This alone makes the upgrade worthwhile for me, as most of my shots are either indoors or in very low light, where I’d have to use SlowShutter and pretend it was the turn of the last century and I have to hold still for a few seconds to develop the shot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Jones/100000924305932 Nick Jones

    thoought i’d be the first to ask, when will we get the jailbreak lol :)

    • pegger1

      Sadly you’re not the first to ask lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/khaledbouya Khaled Islem Bouya

    Is the iPhone 4s running iOs 6 ??

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003172597133 Ecc Thanh

    Can I have your iPhone 4 ?

  • http://twitter.com/rexexdesign Alexander Reimann

    I can’t even imagine how big the difference to my iPhone 4 will be, that sucked in low light even more than the 4s :)

  • chjode

    Now if I could just get my sister-in-law to stop taking low light photos with the FRONT CAMERA on her iPhone 4S. My nephew and niece are grainy and low resolution!

  • Alessio Carmelo Bonsignore

    Hi, Jeff! Could you please test the new iPhone speakers… Apple said they improved them… i’d like to know if that’s true. Previous speakers were not so great… and if you think about it, you need good speakers to hear your ringtones, notification sounds and for out loud calls and music. “Let me know what you think”

  • http://www.facebook.com/CrisFranco Cris Franco

    Isn’t it just post lens brightness adjustment built into the image processor? If it is, I guess it introduces noise just like any post processing app would if you adjust the brightness.

    • Alessio Carmelo Bonsignore

      No, it’s not that. They claim to join the light measure of more pixel while shooting, reducing the actual image resolution but with a better luminance estimation.

  • Elliot Bridgewater

    Where are the full-size, unedited photos?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1231341527 Sakis Nikopolidis

    Jeff the day of the release some guy doing a hands on video, did a rapid shot test and it was pretty amazing, but only took a few pics, can you test the speeds and how many photos it can handle before lagging…. Thanks

  • shinx2ran

    okay, that was scary, but still 8MP :(

  • chin2793

    Jeff you are thinner than what I assumed you would be by your voice!!!
    Telling that by looking at your hands.

    Great work with your videos!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.paulik.9 Adam Paulík

    What a pity that its not 16:9 photo, but it amazing quality.

  • worg

    I just tested my iphone 5 camera and the pictures are not great – a little better than my 3gs that I upgraded from, but not nearly what I expected. Only tried it indoors so far. Pale and grainy, again, less grain than 3gs, but still nowhere near P&S quality. I bought this JUST for the camera so am very disappointed. I keep thinking I am missing a setting…

    • http://twitter.com/MrJohnBlaze MrJohnBlaze

      ur probally missing basic photography skills on proper lighting and composition u should check flickr for photos taken indoors wit the 4 ,4s and 5

      • totodeidei

        Heh I found this thread by googling iphone 5 camera low light, cause I have the same problem. I’ve been told it’s supposed to be such an improvement from earlier models, but it’s.. pretty damn crappy? And that has nothing to do with photography skills and proper lighting, it’s a PHONE CAMERA, for snapshots, and it is shit in low light. Sure it would be better with proper lighting, but then it would no longer be low light, would it. I actually think the low light pictures taken with my crappy 3gs is less grainy than the iphone 5 ones, I am really disappointed…

    • Kurt

      Check out the Nokia limia 920. Much better than i5. Best on the market by far. But I’m sticking with my 4S till next year

  • http://twitter.com/leothelion96 Leonard Wong

    It is really amazing how this low-light ability work.

  • http://twitter.com/iBroke1 iBr0ke

    Jeff is Amazing, the best iPhone 5 coverage that I’ve ever seen

  • Nick

    I just did a comparison, 4s vs 5 on both the front and back camera. The 4s is still on iOS5 and was significantly better, with much less noise and grain. I am hoping this is a fluke. I shoot with a Lieca and have used the iPhone since the 3g, so I don’t believe it to be user error.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.m.simon Stephen Michael Simon

    About time I can leave the digi camera home when I head to concerts! Very impressive.