The newly released iPad mini comes with two cameras: a 1.2-megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 5-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with a f/2.4 five-element lens, hybrid IR filter, and backside illuminations. In fact, this is the exact same camera featured in the iPod touch 5.
Because the iPad mini is equipped with the same camera as the iPod touch 5, we're going to direct you to the iPod touch 5 camera review for the nitty gritty details and just include a few sample photos taken specifically with the iPad mini.
But before we do, it's important to mention what's missing on the iPad mini. Although the iPad mini has the same camera as the iPod touch 5, it does not have the ability to take HDR or panorama photos (both of these are software related), and it's also lacking an LED flash.
To make a long story short, the camera is actually quite good. It's not quite as good as the iPhone 5 camera, but if you disregard extreme low-light scenarios and the lower megapixel-count (5-megapixels vs 8-megapixels, the quality of the images that come out of the iPad mini are very similar to those produced with the iPhone 5.
This first photo compares the iPad mini with the iPod touch 5 to demonstrate that they produce extremely similar results.
One could argue that the colors on the two photos above are slightly different, but it's almost negligible and something as simple as light reflecting differently off the pink shirt I was wearing could have caused it.
These next 7 photos were taken with an iPad mini and were not altered in any way.
The bottom line
Although the iPad mini doesn't have as good of a camera as the iPhone 5, it still does a great job, especially considering it's an iPad. Since the iPad mini is much smaller than the retina iPad, using it to take photos is also much less awkward than with its big brother. However, because the iPad mini is still much bigger than any compact camera, I wouldn't recommend getting an iPad mini for the camera alone. I think of it more as a great bonus added to an already great device.
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