Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

We already know the iPhone 4S, despite not being an iPhone 5, has a pretty stellar-sounding camera in it. But it's more than just words—the phone's sample photos are absolutely incredible, without any touchups. Our pro photographer agrees.

The sample shots Apple's provided seem too good to be true. Nighttime photos are conspicuously absent. And to be fair, they're likely taken under absolutely ideal settings by an expert photographer. But even so, the fact that they're "untouched" gives us an eye-jamming idea of what the new gear's capable of. We've resized them here, but they haven't been altered in any way from Apple's servers. I asked artist and professional photog Mark Mann for his take on each stunning image, as a guy who uses pro gear daily. Not phones. Apple's promo shots might be taking advantage of perfect settings, but it's clear: the iPhone 4S will be the new new reason to never buy a point and shoot.

We also talked to Joe Gerardi, pro retoucher and photo expect, who gushed about the 4S' new eyeball:

Overall these images are pretty impressive. Obviously they have been taken by a Pro or at least someone who has a fair amount of experience as a photographer. The enhanced quality of the lens really shines in [the squirrel] & [the flower]. In the squirrel shot you can easily see the individual hairs without much
pixillation at all, and you know how hard it is to get a squirrel to stand still. In the flower shot you see a tiny spiders web between the pedals which is pretty amazing. This isn't just because there is more megapixels the lens plays a huge part.

The depth of field in [the woman holding a flower] and [the beach] isn't quite DSLR quality but again pretty impressive. Overall the exposures are pretty spot on but some of that has to do with the photographer and not the camera. The color balance is a bit over saturated in the blues and under saturated in the greens but all digital cameras have those issues. The shutter speed in image IMG_1664.jpg (Ocean Splash) really shows off how this camera can freeze and image (given that you have enough light).

I would have liked to have seen a few shots that were taken in low light to really judge how it deals with noise.
Image IMG_1401.jpg of the flower looks like it was taken in low light but it has a shutter speed of 1/1800 so there was plenty of light on that image.

This is not just a bigger megapixel camera upgrade. The lens improvements combined with back-side illuminated chip with a dedicated image processing chip, all powered by the A5 processor
really makes this an impressive camera. Phone?!

I wish you were able to shoot in RAW format.

Simply, it's awesome, and it'll be in your pocket. For Mark's slide-by-slide commentary, hit the gallery above.


You can keep up with Sam Biddle, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

This mountainside shot is pretty, but Mark's not that impressed: "Blah. Any camera that calls itself a camera should do be able to do this."

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

Wonderful, poppin' colors, Mark agrees, but also owing to fantastic lighting: "Seems sharp, well lit...nice sky color. Vignette, But taken with perfect lighting condition, hard to mess that up."

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

A lot of minuscule detail in this one that carries over wonderfully. "Pretty, nice color, nice detail. All together great capture!"

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

Maybe the most impressive of them all. Look at that god damn detail! Macro shots like this are tough even with a real camera. "What to say, nice detail in the fur," agrees Mark.

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

Beautiful. The dept of field here is great. "Nice effect," says Mark, "held the light well across the image."

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

Another gorgeous macro. "Nice detail, nice fall off focus, good color."

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

The mid-crash action here is terrific—a testament to the 4S' quick capture speeds. "Impressive capture, great motion freeze. Although perfect light to shoot in, the camera did a nice job of freezing the motion."

Holy Hell, the Pictures the iPhone 4S Can Take Are Insane

Perhaps the best of all the sample shots, the pink glow in this beach scene is spectacular. But nature might have been helping out the 4S here: "Very pretty colors, sky held detail well. Once again hard to take a bad pic with that light!"