Apple’s first iPhone went on sale eight years ago today.
The iPhone has evolved a lot since then — the original iPhone wasn’t just thicker and heavier than the phones we use today, its components were also much more limited.
This is especially evident when you look back on photo samples from the original iPhone compared to those of today.
The original iPhone had a 2-megapixel camera that couldn’t even record video. To put that in perspective, the iPhone 6 has an 8-megapixel camera that comes with a few fun video editing features, such as the ability to record video in slow motion.
Lisa Bettany, cofounder of apps Camera+ and MagiCam, has taken a series of photos with every single iPhone to see just how drastically the image quality has changed. She gave us permission to rerun her photos.
Flipping through them is a great reminder of how far we’ve come in a short time.
Here's a macro shot of a bowl of strawberries taken with the original iPhone. The shot was taken in cloudy daylight, and the fruit is out of focus.
The colouring looks more natural and true to the fruit's colour in real life in this photo taken with the iPhone 4s.
The image quality is slightly better in this photo taken with the iPhone 5s. Notice how much deeper the wooden patio's brown colouring looks.
And here's how the iPhone 6's photo turned out. It's very similar to the iPhone 5s', but the reds are deeper.
Next, Bettany zoomed in to show a detailed look at how sharp each image is. As you can see, the original iPhone's image is blurry.
This photo taken with the iPhone 5 is just as detailed, and you can notice the red colour is brighter.
Here's a close up of the photo taken with the iPhone 5s. It's not very different than the iPhone 5's image.
When looking at this photo taken with the iPhone 6, you'll notice the greens are deeper and more realistic.
Here's a backlit photo taken with the original iPhone. The subject looks dark and is overpowered by the sun.
The iPhone 3G's photo looks much better -- we can actually see the subject and shrubbery in the field.
This photo taken with the iPhone 3GS is even better. Now we can see the colour of her dress more clearly.
Although there's some red lens flare in this photo taken with the iPhone 4, the scenery is more detailed and less shadowy.
The lighting is much more accurate in this photo taken with the iPhone 4s. We can see facial features too.
And finally, the iPhone 6's photo looks much more detailed than any of the rest. We can clearly see her eyes, nose, and details in the environment around her.
Now we're starting to see more detail in this image with the iPhone 3GS. Look at the Fish Market's roof compared to the last photo. The flowers are also in focus here.
As Bettany notes, we see a shift in white balance in the iPhone 4s' photo. Notice how the colours are more realistic here and less warm than the last few.
There's little difference between this photo taken with the iPhone 6 and the previous image shot with the iPhone 5s.
Here's a closeup of the photo taken with an original iPhone. It's clear enough to read the Fish Market sign, but is still a little blurry.
In this photo taken with the iPhone 3GS, you'll notice we can see more detail such as the ridges in the storefront's walls. The letters are also clearer.
The difference is pretty noticeable in this image taken with the iPhone 4s. There's even more detail, and the colours are more accurate.
The case is the same with the iPhone 5s' photo -- the colours are slightly bolder, but otherwise it looks the same.
The iPhone 4s' portrait looks detailed and well-lit. Her skin tone looks more natural here, compared to the reddish tint in the last photo.
That purple haze issue is gone in this image taken with the iPhone 5s. This photo is a little brighter too.
The contrast is better in this photo taken with the iPhone 3GS. We can see facial details more clearly.
The iPhone 4's image is sharper and clearer than the last, although her skin tone has a pinkish tint.
This photo taken with the iPhone 4s is incredibly clearer than the previous few. Her skin looks softer and isn't pixelated. The skin tone also looks more natural.
Here's that same sunset image taken with the iPhone 5s. The contrast is a little higher in this one.
As you can see in this image taken with the iPhone 3GS, the colouring is completely different. Even in this small sample you can tell it's warmer.
The lighting in this image taken with the iPhone 4 is about the same, but the ripples in the water look slightly more detailed.
This photo taken with the iPhone 4 is slightly less dark, but it's still hard to make out any detail.
Here's the iPhone 3GS' photo. It's much harder than the previous two, but now we can make out details like the flash of the camera.
Here's the same photo taken with the iPhone 4. It's still too dark, but we're seeing more detail appear in the photo.
Here's the iPhone 5s' photo. Notice how much more detailed it is than the first few photos in this set.
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