iPhone 4 features: Hands-on with 5 megapixel, front-facing, and 720p video camera

The iPhone 4 was officially launched today and after picking mine up, I was eager to test out the new cameras. The rear camera is 5 megapixels and features 5x digital zoom and 16:9, 720p HD video recording. It also has a built-in LED flash that can be used for photos or video. The front-facing camera is VGA quality and can be used for both 1.4 megapixel stills and 360p video as well.

So how do the iPhone 4 cameras perform? Find out after the break!


Photos taken with the rear camera are beautiful. They are very crisp and the iPhone 4 does an excellent job with exposure and focus. As with the 3GS, I am extremely impressed with the macro ability of the lens. Here's a few pictures I took with the 5 megapixel camera.

The quality of the VGA front-facing camera also impressed me. The photos are, as expected, not as good as those taken with the 5 megapixel camera, but they are still very nice. This self-portrait was taken with the front-facing VGA-quality camera:

The LED flash is much better than expected. I have not been able to test it while recording video because it's still daylight, but photos taken with the flash look great. Here's a sample of a photo taken with and without flash.

I will admit to being a skeptic about the 5x digital zoom. Optical zoom is so superior to digital zoom that I expected it to look horrible. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that software behind the digital zoom does a great job with the photos. Clearly, they are not as good as they would be without the the zoom, but not too bad. Here's a series of photos I took in increments of 1/4 of the full 5x digital zoom.


HD video recording on the iPhone 4 is a dream come true. The ability to record 720p video with my iPhone feels like such a luxury. The video comes out crisp and beautiful and is so easy to edit with iMovie directly on the device. My only complaint is that the tap to focus feature can be a bit touchy (pun intended!). When standing still while recording, tap to focus works wonderfully. However, if you've walked around for a bit and then decided to tap to focus, the iPhone sometimes struggles to grab a good focus. I demonstrate this in the the video below.

The VGA-quality front-facing camera also captures video, and although it's not HD, the quality is still pretty good.

Here's a video I put together with iMovie for iPhone with video and photo samples. What do you think? If you've put your iPhone 4's video recording to the test, we want to know your experience and thoughts as well. Sound off in the comments below!

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.