iPhone4s VS. iPhone5 | quick camera comparison

So I wasn’t planning to get the iPhone5.

In October 2011 my Uncle Michael purchased the iPhone 4s. He was the supreme Mac geek. He was one of those guys. Totally bought into Apple products and always, always, always got the newest thing. Two weeks later he unexpectedly passed away. The phone was barely used when it was handed down to me.

It took me a long time until I could bring myself to set it up. To wipe it clean of his music, his notes, his fingerprint. But … as the grief settled in I knew it was ridiculous of me not to.

I have now used it for eleven months. The camera blows my socks off and I haven’t had to delete any of my photos after importing because of course Uncle Mike bought the 60GB model. (I have over 5,000 photos currently in my camera roll.) I know his ghost isn’t attached to it or anything, I don’t believe in that, but in a way it is a connection to him. A memory of him, and the iPhone5 didn’t jazz me enough to trade in.

Oh, not to mention – I have a phone that is less than a year old. It has a lot of storage space. And in the last two weeks, we have bled out enough cash to take a vacation. Only we had to replace the video card on my iMac, replace the brakes and tires on my car, buy school clothes and school supplies, and repair a major plumbing issue. So, was I going to bleed out another $200 on a phone? Nope.

“But you use it all the time,” my husband said. “We can hand the old phones down to the boys,” he said. “You depend on that camera every single moment of the day! Why wouldn’t you want to upgrade to the best that’s out there?”

“Not really interested,” I told him.

But guess who was? (Interested.) My aforementioned main squeeze. His iPhone4 was slowly giving up, having lived a nice long life in his pocket and on his nightstand. When the iPhone5 arrived Monday I felt nothing except happy for him to play with his new toy. I sent him a text of a photo of the box, but not at all was my materialism piqued.

“The only thing that could possibly sway me would be the camera,” I told him one night we sat in the garage after putting the kids to bed, sharing a beer.


This morning I was testing the iOS6 panoramic camera feature on my phone. Then I thought I should test it with his. I am definitely most interested in how the new iPhone5 camera operates under low light conditions. I felt like this room would be a great environment for the test because there are shadows and light in one space.


As someone who takes approximately 10,000 photos a year on her “phone”, I am pretty sure the choice has been made. Image quality trumps everything else. For me, that 100% zoom says it all. So much better sharpness and detail. (None of these were sharpened or edited in Photoshop.)

Feel free to make your own judgements. I know everyone has their own opinion about these types of things. But man, wow.
As Kip Dynamite says, “I love technology.”


PS : Uncle Michael would TOTALLY support this decision. It feels kind of strange to talk about his death here for the first time in a blog post comparing Apple products. But then again, it doesn’t seem strange at all. xo


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  1. Love the sweetness I felt reading that. You are right…in fact, if you look at it this way, you’re enjoying the exact thing he’d be if he were still around today. You’re carrying the Apple legacy :)

  2. The best part of that whole post was the picture of you and Uncle Mike. (ps–My husband is DYING to get a 5 even though his 4s is only 3 months old…and this didn’t help!)

  3. I wasn’t sure what to say, but I like the idea of “cheers to Uncle Mike,” so I’ll go with that one, already used. I’m sorry for your loss. That’s one cute pic of you and him together! … Thanks for the review and visual comparisons! I see a little issue with the blinds in the images taken with the 5, but overall, I’m lovin’ it. xo.

  4. Amber – That made me laugh!

    MaryAnn – I AM SORRY DON’T DIE!

    Angelica – I think that the iPhone4s has a tiny bit more of a zoom compared to the 5. The 5 shoots as a 33mm and the 4s shoots as 35mm. Read more here: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/09/12/Apple-iPhone-5-vs-iPhone-4S-image-comparison

    Laura H – That issue with blinds is user error. You have to pan slowly for the camera to register in Panoramic. I just went a bit too fast in that spot.

  5. Had to chuckle…my iphone5 came in the mail yesterday. I bought it with my bday money bc I had an old iphone handmedown from my hubby and yet, that camera in the 5 lured me. After it arrived, I sat the box on the table and let it stay there for a while. I cooked dinner, got the kids ready for bed and then let my husband set it all up. I spent an hour on the couch tweaking it to my liking. In my old iphone I didn’t load any of my music onto it bc I didn’t have room. All 2500 songs from my itunes are locked and loaded and ready to go on my new phone…with 54GB’s to remaining for the photos I will be taking.
    I recycle, buy off the clearance racks, repurpose, reuse, only buy what I need, etc. etc. but the thought of having that iphone5 camera kinda won me over for all the reasons you mentioned. So nice to come here and be affirmed. :)

  6. This made me smile. My dad, also named Michael, was a total Mac geek. He passed away unexpectedly last year, so little things like this remind me of him. I still have an iPhone3GS and don’t want to put out extra money, but know I’d love the upgraded camera! Thanks for the info!

  7. I’m anxiously waiting for my iphone5 :-) Hopefully it will arrive in 3 weeks…
    I have a question: how do you zoom on your iphone?? Iphone5 will be my 3rd iphone but I never found a zoom function! Did I just missed something? Thanks in advance for helping me out.

  8. Awesome post, Tara. sweet memories… sweet sentiment. I have a question about the 10K photos on your phone in a year. I am the same way! I did get the 60G and I don’t bother to delete very much… I do back up! :) My question – do you organize via iphoto or on the phone itself? or do you stick with “camera roll” and let your fingers do the walkin’? :) just curious :) “I’ll take my answer off the air” (heh heh) :-)

  9. Seeing this a bit late, but am just smiling to see another person who is only geeked about the new camera (I have a regular 4, so even more reason to be excited).

  10. My real camera is my canon 7D, can’t consider my iphone camera as the real one. I use it when I have to photograph a product in a shop, a little article in a magazine I don’t own, but I never like the result…

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