iPhone 7 Camera Comparison

After recently upgrading my phone to the iPhone 7, I was amazed by the quality of the images from the outset. Having published a shot comparison of the images from the iPhone 6 Plus and my other cameras, I thought it appropriate to update this test with the new camera. Below are the results of this rudimentary test. For the test I used the following cameras:

  1. iPhone 7 (fixed 4mm lens) – 12MP
  2. Nikon D5300 (fixed 35mm Nikkor lens) – 24MP
  3. Sony DSC HX20V (compact super-zoom) – 18MP
  4. GoPro Hero 4 Black (fixed 3mm lens) – 12MP wide, 7MP medium

All cameras were set to automatic shutter, aperture and ISO in order to compare not only the image quality but the cameras ability to cope with the different situations.

Each thumbnail is linked to the original image file, click on the image to view the photograph and draw your own conclusions.

Test No. 1 – Tilbury Fort, Bridge

This first image is a good opportunity for the cameras to display their ability to handle a bright, outdoor scene with vibrant colours and great depth. The near-HDR (high dynamic range) image from the iPhone contrasts beautifully the clouds with the blue sky. Focus is sharp and crisp in the centre of the image and softens with the depth of field near and far.

Test No. 2 – Dark Corridor

A very difficult image for any camera to capture, and despite the high ISO grain artefact, the iPhone image has a neutral colour balance compared to the yellow of Sony and SLR form the artificial lighting.

Test 3 – Door

A lovely image from the iPhone, the light processing of shadows and highlights results in well lit and contrasted images. An image such as this shows the capability of each lens length combined with the sensor crop sizes.

Test 4 –¬†Entrance Gates

The nice focal length of 4mm for the iPhone has been well calculated to cover a range of situations and this entrance is an example of the mid-distance subject capability.

Test 5 – Interior

While not as dark as the tunnel, this room suffered from artificial lighting, very bright natural hot sports and dark shadows, as well as objects across the range of distances. The iPhone coped well in this situation, but close up evidence of the high ISO equivalent can be seen. Overall, a very pleasant and successful shot.

Test 6 – Spigot Mortar

Testing an outdoor subject at close range, the iPhone just loves bright outdoor conditions. Lovely colours, good contrast and both highlights and shadows have been dealt with superbly.

Time-Lapse Test

Conclusions

I haven’t focused much on the images from the other cameras, the aim being that they should hopefully provide a comparison bench mark for the iPhone. Overall I am impressed with the iPhone 7 cameras handling of the range of scenes. The progression of the camera throughout the development of the phones has been pioneering, and while critics claim there may be better phone cameras out there, I feel the complete iPhone photography suite (time-lapse, slo-mo, 4k video, 12MP stills and panoramic) all add up to a versatile and industry leading system.

Would I leave behind a ‘proper’ camera if I intended to go out and take photographs? Probably not just yet. Would I happily take photographs using my phone when I was out and about? Definitely yes.

Remember, as well as a top notch smartphone, you get:

  • A 12MP rear-facing stills camera with fixed lens.
  • A 4K HD video camera with slow motion up to 240 fps at 720p or 120 fps at 1080p.
  • A camera capable of seamless panoramic photographs and 360 degree immersive images (via 3rd party App).
  • In-camera image post processing and connectivity for immediate sharing.
  • Image stabilisation.
  • All in a waterproof body.

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