Apple refuses to participate in the megapixel war, iPhone 5S sticks with an 8 MP camera

Apple refuses to participate in the megapixel war, iPhone 5S sticks with an 8 MP camera
Many of us expected Apple to introduce the new iPhone 5S with a camera that packs more megapixels than the previous one. The iPhone 5 came with an 8 MP snapper, so it was only fitting for the 5S to upgrade that to a 13 MP one. However, in a move that is just slightly surprising, Apple has once again equipped its flagship smartphone with an 8 MP shooter. Are we disappointed? Absolutely no.

It seems like after the iPhone 5, there were two routes in front of Apple when it came to the iPhone camera. It could either increase the number of the megapixels to 13 and preserve the sensor pixel size as it is, or preserve the number of megapixels and increase the pixels size to 1.5 microns. Obviously, Cupertino has chosen the latter, arguing that an 8 MP camera with bigger pixels will produce noticeably better photos than a 13 MP camera with smaller pixels. Whether this is going to be so remains to be seen, but we can't you tell just how impatient we are to pit the iPhone 5S's camera against its biggest rival, the Galaxy S4 (which packs a 13 MP shooter), once Apple's latest hits the market.

So, in addition to making the camera sensor and pixels bigger, Apple has also increased the aperture to f/2.2. The end result of all this is that the iPhone 5S's new 8 MP camera should be able to capture 33% more light compared of the iPhone 5's 8 MP camera — which isn't a small upgrade. With a higher sensitivity to light, the camera of the iPhone 5S should not only capture brighter images, but also lower the amount of noise as well.

Obviously, we can't be sure yet if all this is going to lead to better images than what a great 13 MP snapper, such as those on the GS4 and G2, could produce, but we're absolutely certain that the iPhone 5S will sport a fantastic camera. Actually, Apple has also added some other useful features to enhance your photos even further. For example, there's the so-called True Tone Flash. As you've already seen, the iPhone 5S sports a dual LED flash, but it's not just a dual LED flash, because the new light will have an amber color. Using some custom software algorithms, the iPhone 5S will determine just how much of an amber light you need in order to "fix" the color temperature of the shot. You know how often pics turn out somewhat bluish or yellowish/reddish with your smartphone camera, right? Apple claims that it now has a solution for this, as the amber LED should compensate for the imperfect white balance of a shot, rendering skin tones truer (hence the name) and highlights more accurate.

In a way, we're glad to see Apple move away from the megapixel war. Having in mind that most people use their handsets for quick snaps and picture sharing on social networks, uploading gargantuan 13 MP images was starting to get a bit frustrating, especially when using a mobile network. With 8 megapixels being a sufficiently high resolution, we really hope that the bigger camera sensor and aperture of the Apple iPhone 5S will lead to substantially better photographs.

Check out these supposedly not retouched photos that Apple has taken using the iPhone 5S:

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



2. crazymonkey05

Posts: 189; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

the 5S has photos that are not really brag worthy i think the sony xperia z ultra can do better. possibly the GS4

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Z Ultra? I understand the Z1, but the ZU? Come on...

12. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

wasn't the iPhone 5 already on par with the GS4?

22. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Was on par with the Snapdragon version cause that also sported the Sony Exmor R sensor (a fresher 13MP variant). The Octa-core version however is far superior cause that has the Exmor RS which has the advantage in clarity, noise handling, white balance and dynamic range. Interestingly, the LG G2, a superb camera using a new Exmor RS revision (same as the Note III and Z1) isn't quite as good as the old one. The RS on the Exynos S4 is the only one that can go H2H with the PureView 808, not even the Lumia 1020 can touch it, certainly not the iPhone 5S - and most certainly not us haha, that variant is hard to come by.

25. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

All the GS4 vs iPhone 5 camera have been pretty close, I\'ve seen reviews where the GS4 has won, but have yet to see any say the GS4 was far superior but maybe they were all using the Snapdragon version. Doesn\'t sound likely though.

19. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Look at the photo Nr: 3 and Nr: 9, since when iPhone makes photos under the water? If someone will say that photo was taken through reservoir glass, I would say that reservoir glass was extremely clear and surprisingly not distorted the view. (sarcasm) I won\'t trust it, smells like a fake.

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Ray and Victor wrote the same exact article... Awkward.

9. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Well, I guess whoever gets the most hits gets to keep their job. Edit: I love how they both used practically the same thumbnail image too, with only the colors being different.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

"We are not disappointed." Of course you're not disappointed, Ray. You never will be, no matter what Apple does.

7. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Not really an Apple fan but I'll admit the finger print scanner is really a nice improvement specially for someone like me who password protects almost everything in a phone. Its a very good time saver if integrated well like app store and account logins, etc. However, dual led flash doesn't excite me at all. Will wait for few comparison reviews though !

8. oister85 unregistered

Wow good picture quality. But I'm waiting for the awesome z1.

10. HASHTAG unregistered

Not saying that I favor Apple, but we should all know that it's NOT all about the number of pixels. I think Apple will be fine sticking to 8 Megapixles. Their photos seems to produce great quality most of the times.

27. Bedz81

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 30, 2012

Yet people slammed Motorola for their 10mpx cameras in their latest phones....

39. digicon

Posts: 121; Member since: Aug 11, 2011

Yeah. The same with BlackBerry. When BB phone came out with 8mp they said, Once again, BB falls short. Now their beloved cr@pple comes out and they're all, Are we disappointed? Hell no ! Come on man . . . (they even flagged at the bottom of my reply that you can't post the word cr@pple ! WTF ?)

11. amilcarmz86

Posts: 95; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

the same camera, different ways to take iphone buyers money... :)

13. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

TBO, I really don't understand the large megapixel cameras on phones. If you take an image at full size, it's far larger than what the average person needs. If you're taking professional shots, you'll be using a DSLR camera more often than not. A high quality, average sized shot is worth far more than an average huge shot, and takes far less memory to store.

14. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

" Apple refuses to participate", this statement could be also applied to many cases for Apple,like trying to compete with other manufacturers fairly,like trying to innovate to actually beat your rivals,and how to not increase the price of your handsets and subsequent repairs year on year. Of course when it come to court cases apple is chomping out at the bit to participate!

16. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

why don't we get back to talking about cameras

15. Srinivas

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

That's because they are going to come up with the 12 MP innovation for the next iphone .

17. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1777; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

They have to change something right?

18. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

BTW, no iPad5? Just about the only product that is still industry leader.

21. liiikiii

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 23, 2013

I am an apple fan, i was hoping for 12 megapixel with f2.0 camera , battery is another fail .. They added another chip which i thing nobody cares about and they put same battery plus fingerprint sensor.. Everyone was hoping for bigger battery

24. .KRATOS.

Posts: 442; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Its not that they refuse its jst they wait to boost their camera with the iphone 6 cz the 5s its a minor upgrade.

26. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

Apple is not competing in any war..the iPhone is so far behind Android phones there's no competition. the only competition Apple has is between iPhones

28. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

try zooming and cropping with GS4 and iphone5S camera, and i can assure you the 13mp will be slightly better.

29. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I think this is the part were I realize that Apple not actually making 80-90% of their device in-house hurts them. They can optimize the processor because it designed in-house. They are using someone else's camera sensor in this case. Of course it's still there software though. Now if they could design a camera sensor & subcontract the build, then I could see them competing with Nokia or Sony. Don't see a problem with them taking on HTC's megapixel.

31. KashAli

Posts: 105; Member since: Apr 01, 2013

R.I.P Apple.

32. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

It's not about refusing it but the fact they know they can get away with it..I can pretty much guarantee they have kept the higher mp camera for the 6 as a USP.. Remember when apple said we don't need more than 5mp yh exactly trust me they will use a higher mp for the next model for sure.. Not saying 8 it's bad, far from it but to say some don't care about mp is not true just like people USSR to say some don't care for a smaller tablet or bigger screen, they care just being it out when they have to.

33. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

taken with a camera just not iphone 5same camera the results are better then what would come out of it

34. MDozey21

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Typical Phonearena sucking Apples Dicccccckk

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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