iPhone 6 Plus camera: Apple sets gold standard
AS a photo enthusiast, there's lots to love about the new iPhone 6 Plus.
It's not just the bigger screen, better camera and longer battery life, everything seems to work better when you are taking photos and video - particularly in difficult low light situations.
One of the coolest features is the optical image stabilisation.
Like magic, the phone's new A8 chip, gyroscope and motion coprocessor work together to provide side to side lens movement to compensate for your shaking hand.
The iSight camera also takes both long and short exposure images to reduce movement.
A new sensor gathers more information about shots you take.
The focus pixels are sensitive to distinct angles of incoming light to quickly determine the focus direction and how far to move the lens.
The results are evident in clearer and brighter photos.
The faster autofocus is nothing short of remarkable for a phone camera.
One feature I found particularly appealing is the how you can quickly lighten or darken a photo up to four f-stops, using a simple slide in the preview pane.
You focus on your subject and then move the slide up or down by touching the preview screen.
The same control also works in video.
Face detection is also an obvious area of improvement.
The iPhone 6 definitely recognises faces faster and more accurately-particularly smaller faces.
I took a range of photos of a group of my son's friends, who were all in shadow, and the phone quickly picked up all of their faces.
The camera promises both better portraits and group shots - as well as improving blink and smile detection.
Some photographers have reported skin tones in the iPhone 6 are not as good as the iPhone 5s but it was not something I particularly noticed.
As someone who loves taking nature photos, I've always loved the ability to do a great panoramic shot on your phone.
With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, you can take panos up to 43 megapixels in size, ensuring great clarity and resolution.
When it comes to the fun factor, there have been some great improvements in video, including in time-lapse and slow motion.
The kids particularly have had heaps of fun putting together hyper speed time lapse videos of everything from funny faces to travelling through the countryside in the car.
The slo-mos of the kids jumping into the water at the local waterfall or pool were spectacular to watch while those of them blowing their lips at the camera were incredible.
The iPhone 6 allows you to shoot at up to 240 frames per second.
New cinematic quality video stabilisation certainly helps when you are trying to film on the run, whether it be at a local surf lifesaving carnival or running down the sidelines at the footy.
According to a French optical lab's test, the new features have combined to put the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Apple sets the "gold standard for smartphone image quality," DxO Labs says in the recently released DxOMark Mobile scores.
They're tied with a score of 82, a notch ahead of the GS5 and Sony's Xperia Z2 and Z3, all tied at 79.
The French lab bases its scores on lab testing of color reproduction, noise, exposure, contrast, autofocus, texture preservation and other attributes for both video and still photos.
THE iPHONE 6 CAMERA
- Optical image stabilisation (iPhone 6 Plus only) or digital image stabilisation (iPhone 6)
- New eight-megapixel iSight camera
- Improved face detection
- Panorama (up to 43 megapixels)
- 1080p video at 60 frames per second (compared to 30 on previous iPhone), and 240fps with a lower resolution shot at 720p
- Blink and smile detection in burst modes