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iPhone 3GS Camera Pre-Caches Images Before You Take Them?

Does the iPhone 3GS camera constantly buffer live video data, in effect pre-caching the images you want before you take them? Birdhouse developer Adam Lisagore thinks so, and says so via his Lonely Sandwich blog:

from the moment you launch the Camera app, data is not only streaming to the viewer, but being cached to memory at full resolution, much like a TiVo with a live broadcast. Where there’s been latency in previous versions of the iPhone hardware/software due to processing limitations, those limitations have been overcome in the iPhone 3GS, closing the gap between intention and result by processing the streaming input from a microsecond before the shutter was released. In essence, the iPhone is constantly storing the picture you want before you even take it.

Daring Fireball confirms this, and after-the-fact, it lines up with a lot of our experiences here at TiPb as well.

Clever indeed, Apple...

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Then why is there a delay from when I press record to what is actually recorded? Pretty stupid.
  • I notice the same thing, I would take quick photos of Basketball games, it like night and day. I never miss a pic compared to the 1st gen and 3G.
  • Adam I did notice that but, I think that quick delay is necessary for video recording.
  • As a photographer I didn't think about this but it makes sense. You would never get the sharpness it's getting unless it was pre-capturing the data. The shutter was like my D300 at 1/30 of a second at about f/4.5 (handles low light about the same.
    To compare, I used a Blackberry Storm camera and it had a noticeable lag.
  • This would make sense. I've always wondered how it took such clear pics regardless of how much camera shake you make tapping the screen.
  • The camera was my main reason for upgrading.
  • Makes sense. I was wondering how the pic could capture so fast and still be clear when I was walking down the street. Nice job Apple!