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Gear & Apps

Proving The Power & Value Of The iPhone 6S Through Thorough Testing

By Kishore Sawh on October 12th 2015


I’ve tried, as I tend to, to avoid the hype over the new iPhone 6S / Plus. There’s a new one every year like clockwork, and typically go through a similar pattern of changes. In addition, I, along with most people, don’t upgrade our phones every year. An iPhone to me is still first and foremost a tool for communicating via voice and text, but I kid you not, I suspect it won’t be long at all until the first function is a union between an audio communication device, and a camera. In fact, it may already be there.

I’m not sure what’s happened in the past year or two, but suffice to say the iPhone camera is THE most widely used and widely talked about camera in the world. In fact, the somewhat measured assumption is that more photos are taken every two minutes today than in the entire 20th century, and it’s reasonable to say iPhone images make up the bulk of it. So that’s the preface to simply stating, in may ways it’s the most important camera around. So why no proper reviews of it?


Well, that’s partially rhetorical, because this is a photography arena that’s focused on developing the practical skills of higher end professional photography, and developing a way to think about it. Of course, most people who buy an iPhone aren’t getting it solely for the camera, who frankly don’t give a damn about any measurement than the one they can easily see when photographing their dinner. That is a shame because the iPhone camera is today a truly powerful camera, capable of being a standalone device for creating phenomenal images and videos.


But just how so? That’s where notable and detail oriented travel photographer Austin Mann comes in, with probably the best iPhone 6S review there is due to his approach and execution.

The goal of our review is to see what the iPhone can do primarily as a standalone device, so all the gear used for this project can easily fit into a messenger bag — no big dSLR lenses, no fancy stabilizers, and no off-camera mics. Mobile photography’s unique advantage is, well, mobility, so we fight hard to maintain it. You can find the tripod and iPhone 6s tripod mount we use at the bottom of this post.”


In the review he goes over the camera-relevant upgrades from resolution to OIS for video, waterproofing, and live photos, and let’s not forget RAW images and low light performance. However, he also attaches a DxO One to make use of the screen and more power from a larger sensor; that combination is truly impressive.

iphone6s-iphone-austin-mann-camera-review-timelapse-photography-slrlounge-4 iphone6s-iphone-austin-mann-camera-review-timelapse-photography-slrlounge-5


And then when you consider the moves other companies like RØDE have been making in mics for mobile phones and small cameras, you get the sense that maybe some time very soon, should the iPhone get fast optical zoom, that’s when you may be able to get an entire, profoundly important and capable system, to fit in your pants pockets. Also, I’ll be reviewing the DxO One soon too while on two coasts on the US, so look out for that.

Take a look at this video below to get a taste of what the camera can do, and also what is held within the review, the full thing you can find here.

Source: FStoppers, Austin Mann

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Andrew Leinonen

    For what it’s worth, DXO just released their analysis of the iPhone 6S. Same score as the iPhone 6, with 7 Android phones ahead of it. If they bother to review the new Lumia 950, I’m sure there will be 8 phones ahead of it…

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    • John Cavan

      However, I think more relevant to the point Kishore is making is that if the P&S is in danger, it’s probably the iPhone putting them there. Have a look at the Flickr camera stats; the iPhones take 4 of the top 5 spots, including 1 and 2 by a huge, huge, margin. Only the Galaxy S5 is in that mix, at 3rd, but virtually tied with two other iPhones.

      Long and the short of it: consumers buying phones don’t really care about what DxO has to say, the camera is not the primary reason to buy, but if it’s in a reasonable place from an image quality, they’ll be happy. Only us camera geeks care at all and, even then, with snapshots? *shrug* There’s a reason why I use my D800 when I want to be serious.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Smartphones doomed cheap P&S cameras, and the iPhone lead that charge because Apple isolated photography as a primary use of the device. When I got my first Android device, it had a camera, of course. But one better suited as an input device: scans of barcodes, scans of whiteboards, etc…. not something I’d ever have considered for regular photography.

      It wasn’t until 2014, when I upgraded from my Galaxy Nexus to my LG G2 that I got a phone with a camera that rivaled the low-end P&S of the past era. Naturally, that rivalry is only in some circumstances, and that’s still true. An iPhone has a fixed, wide-angle lens… even cheap P&S models of yesteryear could usually do a 3:1 zoom.

      But it’s pretty clear from sales numbers that smartphones in general killed off the low-end P&S, which has been a nice mass-market bread and butter for all major camera companies. Certainly one of the factors that lead to Kodak’s demise, as that was all they did in the camera business. But this has also lead to very excellent mid-and-high-end P&S models that might never have existed without this upward pressure.

      The smartphone is the Instamatic of the modern age. While Kodak made that a very low bar, the lesson is that no serious company tried to undersell/underperform the Instamatics. They set the low bar. Now it’s the smartphone, and since the camera is “free” with that $500-$1000/year-or-so device, there is no significant market for anything worse, regardless of price. Unless you were selling huge numbers of those cheap P&S models, that’s a Good Thing.

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  2. Kamuela Moniz

    Apple really nailed on this video! Does it overheat like the sony?

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  3. Paddy McDougall

    Beautiful video.

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