Wednesday, June 30, 2010 iPhone 4 Review: 3 - Camera Photos & Videos
By Daniel Eran Dilger Published: 08:00 PM EST
Apple's fourth generation iPhone is also the company's best mobile camera, whether shooting pictures, capturing video, or enabling video calls with FaceTime. Here's how it compares to the previous iPhone3GS and other popular camera phones.
Two cameras, one device
iPhone 4 may do a lot to help erase the market for both standalone point-and-shoot cameras and dedicated Flip-style camcorders. That's a bold statement until you see what kind of photos it can now take. It's not just photo quality either; it's ease of use, convenience, and speed. Taking pictures with iPhone 4 is really fast, with no lag between when you take the picture and when its captured.
The new LED flash helps fill in shots in low light (a feature Apple was lagging behind everyone in) and the cameras automatically geotag your photos, with the location now (in iOS 4) presented graphically right on the phone under Photo's Places tab.
The new phone even looks and feels like a camera, with flat edges that enable you stand it on its side or on end (if you dare) on a level surface. The built in camera app has no shutter delay timer, but you can set it up to record video, jump in the shot, and then trim out the initial part. You can now tap to focus for both still shots and while recording video.
There's very little to figure out in the ultra simple Camera app: just one button to set the flash and one to switch between the front and rear facing cameras (you can only switch before you start taking video or during a FaceTime chat; you can't go back and forth between the two cameras within the same recording).
New APIs in iOS 4 allow developers to access the raw data captured by the cameras, allowing third party apps to offer more options and additional (or less) imaging processing, meaning that Apple's simple and easy to use Camera app should get more complex alternatives offering additional features for those that want them.