iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S camera images compared thanks to fluke

Apple says the camera on the iPhone 5 has been significantly improved on that on the iPhone 4S - which is some boast considering many still believe the older handset offers up excellent pictures (for a phone, at least).

To prove it, the Cupertino company released a series of pictures it says were taken using the new iPhone 5 and they do, indeed, look amazing. However, as nobody has an iPhone 5 yet, it's impossible to snap accurate comparison images to show the differences between the camera on the new handset and the one on the older 4S. At least, that's what we thought.

Thanks to an outstanding fluke, photography website Digital Photography Review just so happened to have an iPhone 4S shot (taken by Scott Everett) of exactly the same place as Apple visited for one of its pictures on the iPhone 5, Big Sur in California.

The site, therefore, is one of the first to be able to strike a direct comparison. Its first discovery is that that EXIF data for the image does, in comparison, confirm that the iPhone 5 has a new, larger image sensor. The pixel count for both pictures is identical (3264 x 2448), but the iPhone 5 uses a 4.1mm lens (33mm equivalent field of view), while the iPhone 4S has a 4.3mm lens (35mm equivalent). DP Review therefore comes to the conclusion that the lens is slightly larger this time around.

In addition, the ISO range is greater on the iPhone 5, with the phone automatically choosing ISO 50 for the shot. The iPhone 4S has a minimum sensitivity of ISO 64.

To the naked eye, the iPhone 5 image also looks to corroborate Apple's claims that there is more colour saturation, but the jury is still out on whether that is in detriment to fine detail.

We'll know more when we review the iPhone 5 next week.

We advise that you head on over to the original DP Review post to see the images in their full glory to make a decision for yourself.