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Apple iPhone 5s overview: the Cupertino firm pushes the envelope with image quality

By Kevin Carter - Monday, October 07, 2013

Mobile Overview
DxOMark Mobile
76

Overview

With a DxOMark Mobile score of 76 the Apple iPhone 5s ranks in second place to the inspirational Nokia 808 Pureview, and ahead of other notable camera-phones including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the previous iPhone 5, which score 75 and 72 points in our smartphone rankings.

The new iPhone 5s focuses quickly and accurately and captures images with lower noise and fewer artifacts than its predecessor, while retaining very nearly the same high levels of detail. On the downside, strong luminance noise is still apparent in low light levels despite a slightly bigger sensor and larger f/2.2 optics.

Along with the upgrade to the camera sensor, the new iPhone 5S adopts new flash technology boasting two different color LEDs with the resultant images showing better color rendition and good levels of detail both in our lab and our real world tests. 

Apple's improvements in handling noise from the sensor have benefits for video capture too. This is readily apparent in low light but even in bright lighting there's lower chroma-type noise in the shadows. Movie clips also show very good detail, excellent color and an improvement in exposure accuracy over its predecessor. However, on the flipside, we observed some fluctuation in exposure and occasional autofocus inaccuracies with motionless subjects when changing from macro to infinity. Some variations in sharpness between frames were noticed when testing the stabilizer feature indoors while walking, which may be perceived as slight residual motion.

Be that as it may, the iPhone 5s takes the lead with a score of 72 points in our DxOMark Mobile Video ranking, and achieves an overall 76/100 score in our DxOMark Mobile rating, just one point less than the Nokia 808 Pureview.

Photo

DxOMark Mobile Photo
78
Exposure and contrast
90
Color
82
Autofocus
81
Texture
59
Noise
70
Artifacts
91
Flash
83

Pros

  • Very good overall exposure
  • Very fast and accurate autofocus both in low light and bright light.
  • Good color rendering.
  • Very good flash: good exposure, stable white balance, good color rendering, low noise level and good detail preservation.
  • Pleasing detail preservation outdoors

Cons

  • In low light conditions (20 lux and under), edges are sharp but details are lost
  • Strong luminance noise in low light conditions.

Video

DxOMark Mobile Video
72
Exposure and contrast
78
Color
90
Autofocus
47
Texture
82
Noise
75
Artifacts
80
Stabilization
57

Pros

  • Good color rendering
  • Good detail in both bright light and low light.
  • Low noise levels.

Cons

  • Occasional irregular auto-exposure adjustment
  • Occasional autofocus inaccuracies when refocusing from macro to infinity on still subjects
  • Residual motion observed after video stabilization in indoor conditions