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Apple iPhone 5S promo video explains camera improvements

News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday September 11, 2013.

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Apple announced a pair of new iPhones yesterday, and the iPhone 5S was surprisingly not the most talked about of the two. The iPhone 5C injected a bit of color into the conversation and garnered plenty of headlines. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, is a predictable update on its predecessor and doesn't provide as many new talking points, but that doesn't mean that those incremental updates aren't also worth discussing.

The new camera in the iPhone 5S and the camera software changes in Apple iOS 7 are noteworthy, and Apple has posted a 2-minute video illustrating why people should care about the new photographic capabilities of the iPhone. The 5S once again uses an 8-megapixel camera, but it has shifted its attention to the size of pixels rather than the numbers. The iPhone has increased to 1.5 microns in order to capture more light. HTC did the same thing with its "ultrapixel" camera (2 microns) because focusing more on size rather than number lead to noticeably better photos. Dan Riccio, senior vice president of Apple's Hardware Engineering unit, makes a similar argument by saying:

"Any digital camera is only as good as its sensor. While more pixels produce a bigger picture, we prefer bigger pixels because it means an even better picture."

I'm eager to get an iPhone 5S and put those claims to the test. HTC made a big leap forward with its camera features using ultrapixels and software enhancements, and it will be good to compare to Apple's implementation. I'd also like to see the iPhone 5S camera go up against the reigning king of smartphone cameras, the Nokia Lumia 1020. Nokia opted to make more pixels useful because of its oversampling and ability to retroactively zoom in on images and still have amazing quality. It will be good to see if Apple is able to surpass the Lumia 1020 in terms of photo quality or how the Lumia's Xenon flash compares to Apple's new "true-tone flash," which is also explained in the video below.

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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