iPhone 5 dock camera

Monday, a report out of Vietnam shed new light on an aspect of the next iPhone that hasn’t received much attention yet: the camera subsystem. First piece of the puzzle points to Apple engineers upgrading photo quality by putting a notably higher-resolution camera module inside the iPhone 5S, one that features a thirteen megapixel CMOS sensor instead of “just” eight megapixels on the iPhone 5/4S.

The other tidbit mentions an improved night shooting feature as well as an enhanced HDR mode allowing for even higher intensity levels and more realistic colors when snapping up images in extreme lighting conditions such as direct sunlight or faint starlight…

Vietnamese publication Tinhte.vn is credited with scooping the story.

Their source is not unnamed, quite the contrary – those claims came from a source at Wonderful Saigon Electrics in Binh Duong, which specializes in iPhone camera modules.

Also important, this isn’t just some blog lingering in the obscurity.

Tinhte.vn is credited with rather unexpectedly publishing several credible leaks, including the fourth-generation iPod touch, the first with a camera. In March 2012, the web site posted benchmarks indicating the iPad 3 might come equipped with a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.

Weeks later, the iPad 3 arrived with the then new A5X chip rocking 1GB of RAM.

They were also the first with the iPad 3 unboxing video and the redesigned EarPods clip. Whichever way you look at it, the publication has some solid connection with Apple’s test and production network.

As for these claims, I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll see some major advancements in the iPhone camera department. The iPhone 5S being a specs upgrade would suggest that. Besides, while the iPhone 5 did bring out several improvements to iPhone photography, most of the changes were in software.

panorama reversed

In terms of megapixels, the iPhone’s camera has remained stuck at eight megapixels ever since the iPhone 4S was released in October of 2011.

Now, Apple likes to argue that megapixel count matters only that much – and to a certain extent the company is right. On the other hand, inevitably a jump from eight to thirteen megapixels could evidently prompt an even greater number of people to drop their digital camera for the next iPhone.

iPhone 5 facetime camera

The improved night shooting mode would also enable Apple’s upcoming handset to better compete with Nokia’s Lumia series, which touts the best low-light shooting performance in a smartphone.

Apple on its Why iPhone web page proudly mentions that the handset files as “the world’s most popular camera,” with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 ranking as the top three phone cams on Flickr.

Why iPhone (most popular camera Flickr)

HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range imaging, debuted on Apple devices with the arrival of the iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010. The feature works by taking a few images at a rapid succession, each differently exposed.

The camera software then combines the levels of each pixel on each image, creating a single photograph that represents more accurately the range of intensity levels found in real scenes.

Not sure about you, but to me there’s nothing more persuasive on a smartphone than its camera. A thirteen-megapixel camera with a few whiz-bang features would certainly convince me to drop my iPhone 5 and upgrade to an iPhone 5S.

Do you care about iPhone cameras and megapixels?

  • Camera quality is not all about higher megapixels.

    • Finally someone who knows something about cameras!

      • Falk M.

        Well you know, that’s actually just the amount of knowledge a lot of common people have already aquired, that quality isn’t just about higher megapixels, however it can help you get bigger pictures for say really large prints like posters and such.

        It’s also useful if you want to get pictures that have better cropping potential.

        Other than that, i’m sure they won’t increase the MP at the cost of more quality deciding factors.

        What I think is most importantly needed (in my use cases) is WAY BETTER low light photography, WAY BETTER low light videos and less proneness to blur by shaking the camera ridiculously lightly. (shutter press shake)

    • But most people thought higher # = better quality overall.

    • Resolving Power, Optical Zoom and definitely the CMOS !

    • iPhone is probably the best phone camera I have ever used, im sure the 5S will again be dominant in quality, the HTC One is an ok camera, works extremely well in low light but has problems with white balance and focusing, and its 4 “ultra pixels”

      but I agree, some other phones have 12mp cameras and look horrible compared to just the iphone 4

  • Boss

    I hope Apple add more to the iP5S instead of just a lame camera upgrade and faster faster processor

    • that’s actually two things that improve the experience most

      • ….for you.

        Could care less about camera/processor upgrades, the 4S camera satisfies all my needs and is fast enough with jailbreak.

  • I’m waiting for the damn thing to quit refocusing several times while I’m taking a video.

    • You can lock the focus by tapping and holding anywhere on the screen.

  • Bob

    It’s very unlikely they’re going to make too much of a change this year. I have everything I want with my iPhone 5 and will most likely skip a generation and get the iPhone 6, who agrees?

    • Exactly but i will only get the 6 when it is jaikbroken

    • Yes, the only thing that need a makeover is that boring UI.

  • pauleebe

    Obviously the camera will improve to some degree, has it ever not in recent years?

    • JoblessGuy2

      Yes, it has to, but if reports are true, the camera has to be THE selling point of the iPhone 5S, if not a fingerprint sensor, which quite a few consider unlikely to happen. That demands a huge overhaul to the camera.

      • pauleebe

        I’m not sure if we need a “selling point” anymore. The masses seem to rush to iPhone, period.

        As we have seen from the S4, there isn’t much innovation left in smartphone hardware. What we now need is innovative software, which hopefully comes in the form of iOS 7.

    • This news/topic come up every year~ the other one is faster cpu and more ram lol

  • Lol same old “s” bullshit most speed and more camera lol

  • I am skiping iphone 5S and ipad 5

    • Ha ha I’m completely opposite. I skipped the 5 due to the fact that the 5S will be way better.

      • qosmio

        At some level I agree with you… Hope your right too

      • Then you should not buy the iPhone 5S, cause the iPhone 6 will be better and so on 😛

      • Well 2 years is when my contract ends. I started on the S series because they are always better than the previous model. Although I always find it funny that people keep bashing the S model that is about to be released. Then when it’s released people find out that they really like it.

      • all my IOS decisions are based on jailbreak availability

      • hmmm i didnt wana wait for a jailbreak fro the 5S while using the 4S

    • Who cares?

      • Um I do? I like to know what other people are doing and their standpoints on things. It creates conversation.

  • javierE186

    So if it’s 13MP why does the title say 12MP? Someone should edit it 😉

  • Just camera? Wtf if apple doesn’t release a new iphone with 2gb ram, 4.5″ screen, procesator 2.0 quadcore, 12 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, if they just Improve procesator and camera ill go to move htc or Samsung

    • qosmio

      What would you do with all that hardware? The same as you are doing now! Plus what you want would come at a price,would you pay extra for all that? I think not….

      Go to HTC or Samsung really enjoy your Experience ,truly find out for yourself about android or windows maybe you learn that Android needs that power just to run smooth..

      Someone once said ” The grass isn’t always greener on the other side ” But pls find that out for yourself.

    • Aaa bro just to be clear the iphone 5 is faster then the HTC ONE so umm yeah compare there specs apples dual core can beat androids too notch quadcore easily in real wolrd usage. So um yeah.

  • I’ll start caring about the iPhone camera once it starts to compete with my Sony Nex 5N.

  • Hyr3m

    Apple could make a good phone… but they wont !

  • It would be great if they could do something for the focus on night shooting, for the image to be focused.

  • i think if they manage to build the optical zoom function, which was described in a patent a few weeks ago, and a manual/half automatic mode into the 5S they would have their “killer feature”. also manual focusing would be GREAT!

  • Grant Shepherd

    I would MOST DEFINITELY intensely and incredibly would like to see a better camera I have been waiting for one since my first 3G and I am sick of being disappointed – if apple fails yet again to give me a good camera then I may just give up my HOPE and addiction to apple hype and go for Samsung which consistently provides higher spec hardware. I am sick of being bled $$$ with promises of better quality with each upgrade 3G 3GS 4 4S .. bla bla bla F..ing bla