Lesson 60: The iPhone 5S

My iPhone 5S arrived!  This means 2 things at my house:

  1. I’m geeking out,
  2. My dog is scared.

In the first case, I am having a ball with the fingerprint unlock feature.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about that feature!  I feel like a safer driver already and I haven’t driven anywhere yet.  I’ve had my husband and my dog try to unlock my phone with their prints and so far, I’m the only one it recognizes.  😉

I’m also geeking out on the new flash feature.  This is what has led to case 2.  My dog has been hiding out in a totally dark room, trying to avoid me.  I managed to sneak up on him and grab a couple of shots with the 5S and with the 4S so we could compare how the flash looks.  I used the default iPhone Camera app just in case the 3rd party apps are not optimized for the new flash yet.  Here are the results:

I ran into a glitch (already) with the 5S flash, however.  I set the flash to “on,” but out of 5 shots, the flash only fired 2 times.  I’m not sure what’s going on there, but hoping that will sort itself out quickly–like by the time I finish downloading the first update to iOS7.

What I want to focus on in the meantime is how much of an improvement the 5S is over the 4S.  Let’s talk about the circumstances I was shooting in:

  1. Dark room with almost no ambient light
  2. Black and White dog on a dark couch who wouldn’t hold still (except in my favorite of the four photos above)
  3. Hand-holding and guessing at exactly where my dog was because the room was that dark.

These are pretty challenging circumstances.  Let’s compare these two photos since my dog was moving around about equally and I got the white side of his face in both images:

First, let’s talk about why the 5S photo is so much sharper.  This could, in part, be due to the fact that I was closer with the 4S and, therefore, had less depth of field.  However, under magnification, the 4S photo has no sharp areas at all, which implies it had a hard time finding focus.

Now, I can’t say for certain that I was holding both phones with identically steadiness nor that my dog was moving the same amount, but, the 5S introduces some really cool technology that takes 4 images and combines them to get the sharpest image possible.  That’s pretty cool.  Although, I would appreciate being able to turn it off.

Second, take a look at the quality of the light in each image.  Again, virtually all of the light on my dog is from the tiny little LED flash on each iPhone.  Both did a pretty good job of lighting my dog (I was only about 2-3 feet away), but notice how much warmer the light in the 5S shot looks?

Finally, also on the subject of the light, notice how my dog’s eye is glowing a lot more in the 4S version in spite of the fact that his eye is turned further from the camera than in the 5S version?  This is a nice improvement.  My poor dog has looked possessed in far too many iPhone photos.

I took a very close-up look at both photos (I told you I was geeking) and the difference is even more impressive under magnification.  I can’t wait to get my dog into some better light so I can see what it looks like without the flash!

Your Assignment:  Pay attention to how much you use flash and how often you’re getting shots with blur.  Since these are two things that make the 5S attractive, it’s a good time to notice whether these features would make a difference to you or not.

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