Apple’s Best Camera Yet – The iSight Camera of the iPhone 5s

“Occasionally I will post material I write for the blog of TD Curran, Bellingham’s Certified Apple Specialist Store. Check out the official TD Curran blog here:

Staying true to Apple’s habit of making complex technology simple and intuitive, the new iSight Camera for the iPhone 5s is a powerful tool with a multitude of new features that makes it easy for any “point-and-shoot” photographer to take stunning, high-quality pictures and videos.

While the new iSight camera still shoots in 8 megapixels – the same size as the camera in the 4s and 5 – the iPhone 5s’s photos are much sharper and of higher quality. A 15% larger photo sensor in the new iSight Camera means that although the amount of pixels in each photo is the same as previous iPhone models, the pixels are larger and therefore capture more light for more vibrant images.

The new iSight Camera features a larger and faster aperture.  You can imagine the aperture as a human eye. Much like how the pupil of the eye dilates to let in varying amounts of light, cameras have different apertures that range in diameter and serve the same function. A larger aperture (counter-intuitively indicated by a smaller “f-number”) lets in more light. The f/2.2 aperture of the iPhone 5s moves down a quarter stop from the f/2.4 featured in the iPhone 4s and 5. This means that the new iSight Camera will have better low-light performance and less blurry shots.


Camera apertures (illustrated above) range in diameter to let in more or less light. Click here for a more thorough explanation of camera apertures.

Another new feature of the iSight Camera that greatly improves the 5s’s low light performance is the introduction of Apple’s new True Tone flash technology. Smartphones in the past have been notorious for taking poor pictures in low light. Recognizing the need for different levels and temperatures of flash for different light environments, Apple’s True Tone technology utilizes two different LED flashes to create over 1,000 unique combinations of flash, depending on the color temperature of the setting where the photo is taken.  When the iSight Camera takes a picture with flash, it shoots an initial “pre-flash” that assesses the lighting and color temperature of the setting. Then, software algorithms calculate the best combination of white and amber flash for the particular shot that leaves you with a high-quality, sharp image even in the lowest light.


iPhone 5 photo with flash (left), iPhone 5s with True Tone flash (right)

The iPhone 5s also boasts a 50% faster frame rate for shooting panoramas, enhanced auto image stabilization for those shaky-handed photographers and an autofocus with facial recognition features that are twice as fast as the iPhone 5. All these improvements are made possible courtesy of the iPhone 5s’s incredibly fast 64-bit A7 processor.

Video features of the iPhone 5s have some exciting additions as well. Holding down the shutter release button or the volume-up key in the Camera app takes users into the new “Burst Mode,” which takes 10 photos per second. Now, you don’t have worry about missing that perfect action shot. The 5s will automatically analyze the pictures taken in burst mode and present you with the one it thinks is best. Bust Mode pictures are stored within a thumbnail in the Camera Roll, so it is easy to delete an entire sequence or go into it and delete individual shots.


Editing photo stills within Burst Mode is easy

Lastly, the new iSight Camera for the iPhone 5s is capable of filming slow-motion video under the “Slo-Mo” setting in the Camera app. Shooting at 120 frames-per second in 720p resolution, Slo Mo lets you film and view your world in a whole new way.

What do you think? Please share your opinions, comments or experiences with the new iSight Camera in the comments section below.


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