The iPhone 6s camera got some big upgrades

IPhone 6S

Reviews of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the newest phones from Apple, just came out.

The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world, so naturally, reviewers have a lot to say about the phone’s cameras.

The Verge’s Walt Mossberg writes that it’s “the best smartphone camera around.”

But The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler, who tested it against Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 5 said that “in some cases,” he “preferred” the pictures from the Samsung phone.

Here’s a breakdown of what reviewers are saying about the phone’s cameras.

It takes better pictures than last year’s iPhone 6

BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski admits that he’s “not a hardcore photographer” or even “a hobbyist photographer,” but he’s “relatively certain the camera on the iPhone 6s takes better pictures than its predecessor.”

“The photos I’ve taken with the new 12 megapixel rear camera on the iPhone 6s look a little bit better than the ones I’ve taken with the 8 megapixel one on the iPhone 6 — and even my not-at-all-a-photographer’s eye can see that,” Paczkowski writes. Pictures of my daughters look warmer, sharper, more detailed, whatever. And they look equally good when I blow them up.”

Mashable’s Christina Warren agrees: “Swiping through photos of my iPhone 6 and my iPhone 6S side-by-side, I could tell my iPhone 6S photos looked better,” Warren writes in her review. “The colours are what they are in real life. Detail on faces and foliage was more crisp.”

IPhone 6S

The new iPhone comes in a pink colour that Apple calls “Rose Gold.”

People love the upgraded selfie camera

The iPhone’s front-facing camera got a significant upgrade — from 1.2 megapixels in last year’s iPhone 6 to 5 megapixels in the 6S.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel calls the front-facing camera “the biggest news here.”

“The improvement in quality from the iPhone 6 to 6S when using the front camera is just tremendous,” Patel writes in his review, noting that it “takes realistic and usable photos now, not just pixelated approximations of moments from the past.”

The new “flash” capability on the front-facing camera helps too

The newest iPhones don’t have a physical flash on the front of the phone. But when you take a selfie, the phone’s display becomes brightly lit for a split second, acting as a sort of flash. And reviewers report that this new feature works really well.

Mossberg writes the new flash function “resulted in much better-looking selfies, especially in low light.”

Bloomberg’s Sam Grobart was impressed with how the phone can detect your environment to take a better photo.

“The phone can sense the ambient colour of a room and make sure you’re lit in a flattering hue,” Grobart writes. “It’s mightily clever and, like the best features, completely automatic.”


Reviewers are also raving about 4K video:

The new iPhones can record video in ultra high definition 4K, which is much sharper than standard HD video. Videos take up a lot of space on your phone — another reason not to buy the base 16GB version of the phone — but reviewers are impressed with the quality.

TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino calls the iPhone’s 4K video “the real crown jewel of Apple’s achievements with the camera is the 4K video mode.” Panzarino is particularly impressed with how the phone processes the incredibly high resolution video, allowing you to zoom in on it and edit on the phone.

“The cinematic stabilisation also works in 4K, which is crazy,” Panzarino writes. “The phone is able to algorithmically determine how much you’re moving your hands while your’e shooting and dynamically adjust the digital crop to present a stabilised view. By comparison, competing systems arbitrarily crop x% of the image off to use as a stabilisation buffer.”

People have mixed feelings about Live Photos:

The addition of Live Photos, a new feature in the iPhone 6s, is one of the biggest upgrades to the new iPhones. When you take a picture and your iPhone is in Live Photos mode, the phone records a few moments before and after you press the shutter. The resulting image is something between a photo and a video, like a high-quality gif.

But the jury is still out on this new feature.

The Wall Street Journal’s Janna Stern called Live photos “the absolute best thing about the 6s.”

“They’re awesome for reliving fun moments, especially of an active puppy or child, and anyone with an iOS 9 iPhone or iPad can view them,” Stern wrote in her review‘.

But Bloomberg’s Grobart found Live Photos a “bit gimmicky.”

“Apple and others have hailed Live Photos as something revolutionary,” Grobart writes. “I’m not so sure. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the feature seems little more than a nice, extra mode for the camera. If 3D Touch is something that reflects Apple’s obsession with detail and perfect understanding of how hardware and software come together, Live Photos seems a bit gimmicky. Consider: If Live Photos had been announced by, say, Samsung, would you care?”

NOW WATCH: These are the features that make Android phones superior to iPhones