Smartphones may never take the place of pro cams, but some of the imaging specs revealed about the impending iPhone 6 and its sister gadget, the 6 Plus, could be enough to satisfy casual photographers who want to take better pictures.
iPhone fans will dig on Panorama mode that enables up to 43-megapixel panos, 1080p video recording at 30fps or 60fps, and new slow motion video capture at 240fps, which is limited to 720p. Another standout inclusion in both new iPhone models is the improved autofocus performance, made possible by an added phase detection AF system Apple says is double the previous generation speed. Both also feature F2.2 aperture and come with a True Tone dual-LED flash.
According to Apple, both brand new iPhone iterations contain the same 8MP lens for the back-facing iSight camera introduced with the 4S. Both also come with a 1/3-inch sensor, which made its appearance on the iPhone 5S. It seems Apple is making the case that though the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pack fewer megapixels than most Android smartphones, it will excel in low light thanks to large 1.5-micron pixels.
Buyers of the 6 Plus are likely to enjoy the added real estate of its 5.5-inch IPS LCD, which displays pics and videos in full-HD 1080p. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch screen displays a pixel resolution of 1334×750 (both “Retina HD” displays). Ion-strengthened glass (which may or may not be code for Gorilla Glass and seems to put to rest the rumors that Apple would opt for Sapphire on its next outing) imbues both phones with added ruggedness.
Next to LCD size, what really separates the iPhone 6 Plus from the “regular” 6 is the inclusion of optical image stabilization, a feature that’s been previously unavailable on any Apple smartphone. In contrast, the standard iPhone 6 comes with a less desirable, software-driven digital image stabilization.
The front-facing “FaceTime” camera has 1.2 megapixels, and a host of other features, including exposure control, improved face detection, HDR, burst mode up to 10 frames per second, and a timer. Apple claims it now captures 81% more light, likely compared to the 5s, which suggests better low-light performance.
The 240-fps slow-mo video is likely the most impressive feature. It’s capped at 720p (can’t have it all, right?), but 240fps is double what’s found on competing Android handsets, which top out at 720p/120fps. To be fair, many Android smartphones are capable of shooting 4k video, while the new iPhones are not.
Both are scheduled for release September 19 (orders begin September 12). Two-year contract pricing for the iPhone 6 will start at $199 for 16 GB, $299 for 64 GB, and $399 for 128 GB, on carrier contract. The iPhone 6 Plus will range from $299 to $499 for the same configurations. Those looking to do heavy video recording, especially at 240fps, will definitely want to look at the 64 GB and 128 GB models, because remember, the iPhone does not have a microSD card slot.