iPhone 5S Sample Images and Image Quality Analysis

I bought my iPhone 5S two weeks a go and have plenty of time to play with it and explore its camera features. Coming from DSLR makes the iPhone 5S feels very limited in terms of its camera functionality and handling, but nothing beats portability I have to tell you.

I’ve spent a few days taking photos with my iPhone 5S in both low-light and daylight and find the 5S to perform incredibly well in daylight, but also pretty good in low-light. I mean considering the fact that the iPhone 5S features a 1/3″ sensor and 8MP resolution, this is quite an impressive stuff.

Let’s go over some of the iPhone 5S sample images that I’ve taken in the past couple of days. This will give you a good understanding of the Apple iPhone 5S camera image quality. I will add my side notes to give you more details about my impressions with the iPhone 5S rear-facing camera.

iPhone 5S Camera Sharpness and Color Reproduction

An image worth a thousand words, so let’s take a look at some sample images.

Pomegranates in a box. Sample image taken using the Apple iPhone 5S rear-facing camera that shows how sharp the 5S lens is – tack sharp!

The iPhone 5S camera is tack sharp as you can see from the above image and bottom original crop images.  The above image was shot at ISO 40, 1/30 sec shutter speed and at f/2.2 aperture without flash.  Furthermore, the color reproduction and color accuracy is superb. It gives you the feeling that you are actually there looking at the pomegranates yourself without anything between you and the subject.

The next image I took in Mini Israel. This is a miniature construction of a building and its surroundings, including small puppets.

Miniatures in mini-Israel
Another iPhone 5S sample image that shows the amount of details that the 5S camera resolves in daylight

The above miniature sample image taken with the iPhone 5S main camera shows its detail resolving power. It was taken at ISO 40, 1/2160 sec shutter speed, f/2.2 aperture without flash and with Spot metering. If you are among those who always do pixel peeping and searching for sharpness flaws, you will love the 5S lens. I am not such a perfectionist myself, but I was blown away by the sharpness of the lens.  I obviously assume that the 5S image processor does apply sharpening in some degree, but the amount of details cannot be ignored — brilliant image quality!

The next sunset photo was taken in a Marina. A beautiful shot of boats docking in the marina with a beautiful sunset in the background. This is, like all the photos here, an unedited image straight from the iPhone 5S. The photo was shot at ISO 40, 1/125 sec. shutter speed and f/2.2 aperture with spot metering.

Sunset with boats docking in the marina
Sunset image taken with the iPhone 5S camera

Here’s another iPhone 5S sunset photo, but this time a panorama image.

Sunset panorama image taken with iPhone 5S
Sunset panorama image taken with iPhone 5S (click to view original on flickr)

I remember trying to shot those type of photos many times before with my DSLR, and it was quiet tricky. The iPhone 5S camera did a splendid job automatically. I set the exposure and focus around the cloud area near the sun and iPhone 5S did the rest.  I discovered a few things about the iPhone 5S camera when shooting in the marina. First, the fast aperture really helps in dim light situations. It allows the camera to keep a good balance between the  ISO and shutter speed and the camera will do its best to use the minimum ISO for noise free image. The exposure meter on the iPhone 5S does wonders, and you can see from how well everything looks, no washout colors (experienced it with other phones when shooting sunset images), excellent dynamic range considering the small sensor size (1/3″) and very detailed image.

Furthermore, the built-in Panorama mode in the iPhone 5S is super accurate, and I had no negative comment to report about it — worked perfectly!

Let’s take a look at some more Apple iPhone 5S sample images..

Instant Passion Fruit Ice Cream
Instant Passion Fruit Ice Cream – taken with the iPhone 5S main camera (click to view original on Flickr)
Chocolate chip muffins
Yummy Chocolate chip muffins – iPhone 5S sample image (click to view original on Flickr)

Here’ a link to the complete set of my Apple iPhone 5S sample images on Flickr.


Taking photos with the iPhone 5S was a big joy for me, and I was especially excited when I viewed the images on my large LCD screen at home. The iPhone 5S camera image quality is impressive in every way. I personally was stunned by its sharpness, color reproduction and its light metering sensor. At times it seemed maybe too easy, considering how much effort I put to take an equivalent image with my DSLR. Of course DSLR cameras have many advantages over the iPhone 5S and I won’t get to it in this aritcle, but you can read my Lumia 1020 vs DSLR guide, which will give you a good understanding about the differences between DSLR cameras and mobile phone cameras.

I hope those images and my explanation gave you a good overview of the iPhone 5S image quality in low ISO. If you enjoy reading, please share this article with your friends. Thanks! 

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