The iPhone 5s camera: F2.2 aperture, larger pixels, burst mode, Slo-Mo and more

By , Sep 10, 2013

iPhone 5s camera hardware

As expected, the new iPhone 5s features a significantly upgraded rear-facing iSight camera. It has a new five-element Apple-designed lens with an F2.2 aperture and a 15% larger active sensor area. The pixels are larger too:—1.5 microns.

The camera software has also been largely improved. The Camera app now sets white balance, exposure, and creates a “dynamic local tone map” with “autofocus matrix metering” for 15 zones—all automatically. More details after the fold…

iPhone 5S better aperture

The camera also now features something called “True tone flash.” Unsurprisingly, there are two LEDs—one cool and white, the other is warm and amber. And software can combine the two to get the right color balance.

Speaking of software, auto image stabilization is now available in the camera. And the way it works is that it will take multiple photos, combine them for light levels, and then pick the sharpest one to display.

iPhone 5S Slo-Mo

Slow-motion video is also in the cards. As the above slide shows, the new camera will be capable of shooting video of up to 120 fps (or frames per second), as well as HD video at 720p. And that’s the new iSight camera.

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  • Jamie Tilden

    Wtf still 8 megapixel though?

    • hkgsulphate

      HTC One: problem?

    • Kevin Schrader

      Why the hell would you need a picture bigger than 3264 × 2448 pixels from a smartphone? quality > size!

      • Jed133

        I don’t think people realize that megapixels only depend on if you’re going to print the picture at this point in the game, which most people don’t from their smartphone..

      • Dani Hayes

        Lumia 1020 has quality and we know how that turned out.

      • Julio Cesar

        Lumia has quality BECAUSE OF THE LENS APERTURE.
        There’s nothing to do with megapixels or resolution.

      • Pankaj Rana

        Absolutely true..

      • Kwame Owusu

        what about the 41megapixels?

      • Julio Cesar

        Just BIGGER pictures.
        The only real use is zooming and cropping pictures, because the Lumia don’t let you take pictures with more than 8 or 12 megapixels (in resolution).

        But think about it:

        8megapixels = 2-4 megabytes.

        18megapixels picture = 6-9 megabytes.

        41megapixels = 13-20 megabytes.

      • Kwame Owusu

        More megapixel = better zoom. Lumia takes pics in 41megapixel and uses intelligent algorithm to compress to 8. Way better than 8megapixel. I still like the camera in iPhone 5S though

      • Julio Cesar

        Most of the time you can approach.
        But if not, there are excellent external zoom lenses for iPhones.
        There are Aldo adapters that allow the use of full-size professional camera lenses and their acessories.

        Lumias can have a camera with better digital zoom, but it sure is one of the devices that have less external acessories (Being true: zero), especially when it comes to photography.

      • Dani Hayes

        Did I write anything ABOUT THE LENS APERTURE?? Please show me where in my sentence, “Lumia 1020 has quality and we know how that turned out.”, I mention LENS OR APERTURE.

      • Julio Cesar

        As we were talking about cameras, you cited “quality”.
        Quality in photography is something dependent of lens and sensors, not megapixels.

        I have an Canon 7D with 18 megapixels, why it`s so much better than the 41 megapixels from the Lumia? Then you have your answer.

        Megapixels = image size

        Sensor and lens = quality, regardless of image size

    • Dany Quirion

      you know nothing about camera do you? :O hahaha

  • Martynas Linkevicius

    ERMAHGERD im so happpppppyyyyyyyy

  • batongxue

    720P @ 120fps!

  • Joshua Catimpo

    mindblown since the last 10 mins… ITS HARD WHEN THINGS POP UP WITHOUT WATCHING THE ACTUAL KEYNOTE… do u guys have a livestream? link?

  • n0ahcruz3

    So how many megapixels?

    • Jamie Tilden

      Yeah they didn’t say anything. Still 8 it seems, which is lame, cuz aren’t there a number of Android phones that are 10 megapixels and upwards?

      • Julio Cesar

        Megapixels = resolution =/= quality
        Sensor size and lens aperture is more important, THIS make pictures sharper, cleaner and with more quality.

      • Saeed Ghattas

        Greater megapixel just get the picture bigger not more quality.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Yeah tell that to the average consumer who thinks larger pixel the better. If its really 8 then. Hello apple 2011 called they want their camera back lol

      • Julio Cesar

        People has to search what really are megapixels…
        The truth is: if you don’t need to print an poster you don’t need more than 2.1 megapixels. That’s 1080p resolution, fits almost all the screens perfectly.

        If megapixels are so important, why the best camera from Canon has less megapixels than the mid-end Canon and the image is a lot better?
        Sensor and lenses. That’s the secret.
        Go on, complain to the manufacturers of professional cameras.

        I had a Canon 60D, now I have a Canon 7D, which is much better and has the same amount of megapixels.

      • n0ahcruz3

        I wonder if i was a regular customer looking for a smartphone(also a buying my first smartphone). And had a choice between a Xperia Z1 and 5S. I look at the specs Z1 has 20mps, 1080p 5″ screen & water resistant, whereas iphone 5S has like 8MP cam, 3.99″ screen not HD, not water resistant. And the same price at 199 or Z1 probably cheaper. Which one should i choose?

      • Julio Cesar

        Don’t be hasty.
        Don’t be influenced what fans of an platform say.

        iOS and Android are very different, both are equally good, eith their own pros and cons.

        Look for apps and games that you need before buying for both platforms, look at you can get with jailbreak (iOS) and custom ROMs (Android).

        Android fails in optimization, and that’s why they have higher specs. And you want to customize deeply your Android you have to format and install custom ROMs, but on iOS, you can install what you want without have to change the entre OS.

        Look at the channel of the iDownloadBlog, see the features you can get with iOS, search for custom ROMs and what they offer to an Android device (some of then offer optimization, to use the true performance of the device)

        If you don’t want something that you need to change and reset everything to get one feature that you like, get the iPhone.

        Ah, one more thing: more screen resolution = less performance = more pixels to be processed by the GPU.

        You don’t need more resolution on an iPhone with the actual screen size. You only will see differences if you Put this really close to your eyes.

        But I really recommend you try the devices before, play games that really require GPU, see how the system performs, if you like the way it works.

      • n0ahcruz3

        And you’re comparing a standalone camera to a smartphone? Apple doesnt have any experince with camera. Whereas nikon they been doing it since forever when it comes to camera technology. Thats why even tho they have lower pixel on their flagship DSLR it will have a excellent image. And apple is just touting bullshit. And 13>8 btw.

      • Julio Cesar

        The camera of the iPhone is made by Sony.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Same thing with samsungs GS3, but people here are saying iphone 5 camera is better than any android but fact is GS3 and iP5 camera was made by the same manufacturer and that is sony.

      • Julio Cesar

        I never said that. Just said that megapixels are not so important.
        No one needs more than 2.1 megapixels (1920×1080) unless you need to zoom and crop or print a poster of the picture.

        The quality of the camera there`s nothing to do with their megapixels, but with their sensors and lenses.

        Size =/= Quality

        Get an picture and double the size, it gets blurry or pixelated, that`s happen when you have poor sensor and lenses with higher megapixels too.

        The Lumia has a great sensor and lens, but let`s wait the new iPhone and make some comparisons before saying with one is better in pratice.

      • felixtaf

        It doesnt matter what people think about megapixels vs quality. Its the actual sensor vs quality. Bigger sensor – better quality…. More Megapixels for posters or 100% crops!

  • abdullah575

    I want the stream link!!!

  • abdullah575

    Slow motion ?? In video

    • felixtaf

      Yes.. In video… Never heard of slow motion in pictures…

  • JL

    C’mon apple we’re already in the 13 mpx era

    • Lance Baker

      You do know that megapixels don’t really matter all that much, right?

      • Joseph

        More megapixels are commonly associated with better quality, or, at the very least, better zoom preservation. Which Apple really needs to improve on.

      • Rowan09

        Pixels matter if your blowing up pictures, look at what HTC did with the One

      • JL


    • JulianZHuang

      Someone who don’t now anything about computer will care about megapixel size haha

    • n0ahcruz3

      Hahaha stop it, ive been talking $hit about it here iDB especially the 5S camera. You’ll get bombarded with, spec doesnt matter, higher mp doesnt matter comments etc.

  • abdullah575


  • Joseph

    “Speaking of software, auto image stabilization is now available in the
    camera. And the way it works is that it will take multiple photos,
    combine them for light levels, and then pick the sharpest one to

    The Galaxy SIV has already done this. Nothing new, except it lets you pick between multiple photos so *you* can choose the sharpest one later, not a machine that might not pick the best photo for your tastes.

    • Saeed Ghattas

      Yeah but it doesn’t have malware thread!

      • Joseph

        It does when you jailbreak, and it does when you download apps from the app store, actually. Just because iDB doesn’t post some news doesn’t mean it’s fake. In fact, iDB missed the news posted on August 19th by The Guardian that there is actually a way to very easily get a malicious app around Apple’s reviewing process and onto the App Store, where a user can download it and the attacker has complete access to the device.

        Besides, the malware threat for Android doesn’t exist if you look at the permissions of the apps that you download (iOS doesn’t have a permissions system, so not only is that not viewable, but you don’t know what the app can access in some cases), and if you don’t download pirated apps.

      • Rowan09

        You have to be kidding if you believe allow an install means you won’t get a malicious app. People can download an app outside of the play store and believe its one app and its another. There are many ways to get malware on an Android since there are so many different app stores. Nothing is virus free or incapable of getting a virus, but its a fact that the AppStore is less likely to have a malicious app when compared to Android.

    • Rowan09

      So what. Apple just made the first smartphone with 64bits does that mean no one else can do the same?

      • Joseph

        Not my point. In fact, I’m defending against that, since people are apparently claiming that Samsung and other phone makers can’t make one due to the fact that Apple did it first.

        Besides, last I checked, Samsung makes the Apple processors…

      • felixtaf

        The chips are designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung or other manufacturers. If Apple A7 is designed by Samsung, then Y on earth they have to sell to Apple?? They can use it in their own products, right?

      • David Guzman

        Samsung wants to make money.

    • felixtaf

      New to Apple, Not new to world. If u r ready to find faults – you can find faults in anything…

      • Joseph

        Exactly. If someone else is going to try to find faults, I’ll just point out faults in their own product.

      • felixtaf

        You take material things too personal, I guess. You have to watch a latest video from Unboxtherapy in youtube about all these flame wars. It doesnt matter (atleast to me), who did first. I want better features in my phone….

      • Joseph

        Same here! I think you’re missing my point. If people are going to complain about Apple doing something first and that Samsung will end up copying it, I’ll point out the things that Apple has copied from other companies. This just proves progress.

  • Martynas Linkevicius

    im gonna be shooting everything in slow mo!!!!!

    • Joseph

      Keep them to yourself then, don’t put them on Vine or Instagram. We don’t need a new fad.

  • Alan Absalon


    • Saeed Ghattas

      Who needs it when you have itunes match and icloud? That’s stupid 🙂

  • Markus Hudobnik

    Can people now realize that megapixels aren’t everything!

    Saying that, great upgrades.

  • Alberto M.

    Anyone know where I can find a good comparison of the iphone camera compared to stand alone point-and-shoot cameras on the market?

  • sbm713405