Is the iPhone 4S good enough to be your only camera?

Ever since someone bolted a camera to a mobile phone, the obvious question — sometimes asked, sometimes not — has always been: When can my phone replace my “real” camera? The arrival of the iPhone 4S has brought this question back with more poignancy than ever as the on-board camera is, for now, the best cameraphone the market has ever seen.

Ars Technica takes a look at this question with their usual degree of keen insight (including a really cool photographic comparison of shots taken with each generation of iPhone). The question about the iPhone 4S replacing a “real” camera is geared more towards those who snap shots and don’t work at the pro level, as few professional photographers will trade in their DSLR with a cameraphone. Nevertheless, they take the question seriously:

What we were interested in was evaluating the iPhone 4S as a still camera that could possibly replace a ‘real’ digital camera. To try and keep things as fair as possible, our Canon 20D was outfitted with a Canon 10-22mm EF-S lens was set to 22mm (a roughly 35mm equivalent) and left at f/4.5. Exposure was set automatically using aperture priority, just as most smartphones do. ISO was set manually (the 20D doesn’t have auto ISO available in aperture priority mode) but was set to our best guess for the situation at hand.

Just a few days ago we reported that the iPhone 4S has quickly climbed to second place on as the camera used to take pics posted on the social media photography site (the first place prize predictably goes to the iPhone 4). I’d sum up more of Ars’ results but, in true Ars form, the article is many pages long and packed with interesting stuff. If you care about the snaps you take with your phone and how they stack up to the “pro” cameras, go check it out.

Source: Ars Technica

Corey has been been a tech journalist with a focus on Apple since 1998 and has written for The Loop, MacHome magazine, and as games contributor for The Mac Bible, and co-hosts the iGame Radio Podcast. He works as a… Full Bio