THE BIG IPHONE CAMERA COMPARISON TEST - PART II
4s / 5 / 6 / 6+ / 6s / 6s+
After posting “The Big iPhone Camera Comparison Test” I didn’t felt like I gave the 6s and 6s+ the right playground to prove themselves. This time I’ve used a tripod and went to Rotterdam, NL with all devices for a more realistic shooting surrounding.
All images you see here were taken and edited with an iPhone, there is a link to a zip-file with all comparison shots at the foot of this article.
This shot has been a tricky one. The bright white bridge and a partly cloudy sky were a good challenge to show the phones’ dynamic range capabilities. The 4s image came out pretty grainy, the 5s did a decent job and starting with the 6 the images started looking better. 6+ a bit sharper than the 6 - the 6s and 6s+ winning this comparison due to the megapixel advantage and as already mentioned in the previous comparison: the new iPhones’ pictures are warmer right out of the box.
This may be every smartphones masterclass - portraits and skin-tones. We found a good spot with nice soft light and the 6s and especially the 6s+ did the best job. Better contrast and more detailed, but the 6+ kept up very well. I don’t know what happened with the 6 though, the images I shot at this spot were not on point - the 5s had no problems and lets not talk about the 4s anymore.
Rotterdam does have a nice underground system which was perfect for our third test. The 5s has an overall decent noise handling, but couldn’t keep up with the other phones. Beginning with the 6 everything started looking crisper. It’s a head to head race between the 6s+ and the 6+ at the end - the 6s can’t quite match their level of detail.
Hands and pants down- the 6s+ smashed everything in this shot - it took an image so much brighter and gave me a little “wow” moment. The 6s could not catch me as much as the 6+ and the 6 got the least good noise handling of the 6-series, but managed to snap a crips image.
iPhone 4s: outdated.
iPhone 5s: still working with a decent camera - reaches it’s limit pretty fast when it gets a couple f-stops darker. BUT it’s way smaller than the 6-series and that’s a tremendous plus for me!
iPhone 6: least good one of the 6-series but still a decent choice - you’ll get better images than with it’s predecessors, especially in darker situations.
iPhone 6s: I really wanted you to do awesome, because the camera is the only thing that would make me switch from the 5s to a bigger phone. I have to say that 12mpx are very tempting and the better processor is helping a lot with crisp hdr images and noise reduction. I think the level of detail could be just a software thing - it will keep up with the 6+ and 6+s’ sharpness with some very simple editing steps.
iPhone 6+: you really did surprise me in both tests. Clear images, good noise reduction/handling and always on point! Another thing I really liked about you has been the big screen for taking pictures - it’s huge!
iPhone 6s+: the best in terms of image quality. Superb low-light and great overall performance - not to mention the extremely better image stabilization (compared to the 6s) while shooting video.
Now here is the thing: I did the test zooming into every image of each device while sticking my head into a 27" cinema-display. 999 out of 1000 people won’t ever do the same and won’t see any difference either. When I am saying that a camera is “better” it’s like a photo-finish between the whole 6-series with a “s” advantage.
You will get a good camera with the 6 and especially the 6+, but the +4mpx (more cropping freedom), way better front-camera (hello Snapchat), very good HDR mode (even with harsh backlight) and 4k video capability is a clear deal-maker if you are into photography and social media in general.
Only posting images to Instagram? Then you will be totally fine without the “s” at the moment. Fingers crossed for some RAW in near future!
Here are two more good articles that got published in the meantime:
I hope you have enjoyed this article - I’d highly appreciate it if you could click on the recommend button!
Love and symmetry, Mathew.