I have to preface this with the fact that this is my first post to my blog in a very long time! I plan to post more regularly from now on, which should not be difficult, but anyways…
I had the new iPhone 6S for three days before getting time to take it out and shoot a few photos with serious intent. There are already many reviews online from some of the big names in modern photography, but I wanted to see for myself what I could get from the newest iPhone camera.
No highly scientific analysis or comparisons here, I just wanted to see how much improvement the images would show from following my usual ‘MO’ when out hunting for good shots.
And that ‘MO’ would be: shooting with the default camera app (usually manually overriding the exposure) then editing the images in Snapseed - the current version of which is a joy to use, thanks to a beautifully optimised gesture-driven interface. Of course a lot of the work I do in Snapseed could also be achieved using Apple’s own ‘Photos’ editing features, particularly since my editing normally uses standard exposure/sharpening/black-point etc. I rarely use off-the-shelf app filters.
The manual overriding also included much use of the AE-AF lock technique, especially useful for street photography when waiting for a desired human presence in an already planned composition.
I made most of these shots this last Sunday morning (27th Sept) as Belfast basked in a very welcome Indian Summer. The city looked amazing in the early Sunday morning, plenty of interesting light as the sun found it’s way across the buildings, streets - and faces. Most definitely one of my favourite times to be out shooting photos in the city.
So, enough of the reading and on with the viewing, since this is what this post is all about.
First of all the following two photos are straight from camera, no retouching at all. Also, these images are fairly large, but Have been optimised by my site, so are not at the full resolution of the iPhone capture (typically Just under 10mb per image). Still they're big and clear enough to give you the idea.
The following photos have beed processed via Snapseed, my usual workflow. I usually like ‘em pretty punchy & crunchy, so I don’t mind a bit of noise - hey, it’s the new ‘Film Grain’!
Some conclusions on actually using the camera
The 6S truly is a speed-demon and not just the camera. This is always noticeable in a new iPhone, but it really does feel that this model is a big jump in performance - 2Gb working memory in a phone! I remember when I didn’t even have that on my Macs. The net result is pretty much everything is rapid, from launching the camera up to and including final processing. It is amazing how fluid the photography workflow is when you can throw shedloads of RAM at it.
As for the images themselves there’s definitely an improvement over what I’ve seen from my 5S (itself no slouch in the camera department). The unretouched photos here all show very clean blue sky areas, which is where I would most likely see noise in my 5S images, so there must be something to the ‘deep well’ pixel sites feature. Apple’s description of their noise solution does make a lot of sense. Otherwise sharpness, detail, white balance etc., all outstanding (particularly colour balance).
Since the iPhone 6 (which I passed on) much has been said of the camera’s fast focussing, though I have to say I’m not actually aware of how fast it is - everything is just always in focus. Like good typography, it works so well I don’t notice it. As a photographer one of the most best features Apple can offer me to upgrade is a new camera and the 6S does not disappoint.