iPhone 3GS camera outdated last year?

by Mike
Posted June 9th, 2009 at 5:36 am

While there were many things announced yesterday at WWDC, several of those pertaining to the new iPhone 3GS, one in particular left me wanting more - the camera. The old iPhone 2G and 3G cameras were 2 megapixel shooters with nothing else to aid in mobile static image gathering. The new iPhone 3GS uses a *slightly* higher resolution 3 megapixel camera, except this time auto-focus, auto-white balance, and a few other small software tweaked features are also added. As soon as I saw the camera I thought to myself “That’s it?”. Do you find yourself asking the same question?

Many speculated the new iPhone would debut with at least a 5 megapixel shooter. I’m sure many people are waking up this morning disappointed that Apple didn’t seem to care too much about this feature on the iPhone. Granted, megapixels aren’t everything. Just because you have 12 megapixels on a phone doesn’t mean it is magically going to take better pictures than a $5,000+, 9 megapixel pro DSLR. Still, in the camera phone world where 5 megapixels is now quickly becoming the norm with more and more manufacturers planning 8+ megapixel phones, one has to stop and question why Apple only went half way with the new iPhone’s camera.

Another glaring problem that I can’t understand why Apple refuses to acknowledge is the lack of a proper flash. Not some crappy LED flash, I’m talking higher end xeon flash. While it does eat more battery to power the flash, if you’re marketing your phone as a multimedia phone, one of those multimedia features it should nail is picture/video taking. I don’t care how good you tweak your camera software to account for low light situations, especially on a phone, having a flash will always bring you better low light/night shots. Why Apple ignores this is beyond me. It seems they think we only want to take pictures in the hours between sun up and sun down. Sure night pictures with built in flashes on mobile devices aren’t always the greatest looking, something Apple probably has a stigma with. But you know what, sometimes those quick little moments of life happen where the sun doesn’t shine and you only have a few seconds to capture the moment or it’s gone forever.

In regards to video capture, staying close to the lines of the “multimedia powerhouse” that Apple is pushing the iPhone line, the lack of any hi-def video recording options is a bummer. Sure it eats up space quick, but at least giving customers the choice makes all the difference in the world. Do you think Apple is going too mainstream with the units and ignoring some key features that would really launch Apple and their iPhone devices into the upper echelon of the gadget world?

While there are several other issues that kind of put a dimmer on the iPhone 3GS such as the god awful U.S. carrier of choice, A suck and T, no immediate MMS, tethering, etc., the iPhone 3GS will still sell like hotcakes I’m sure. Will such setbacks with the camera make you rethink your decision? Are you holding out for a different model of phone from another manufacturer? If so, what model?

Do you feel the same way and think that the iPhone 3GS’s new camera was outdated in 2007, or that Apple dropped the ball big time in regards to picture/video capture?

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7 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • jasneskis
    July 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I agree the new i phone should have had a bigger camera than the 3G, same for the new T Mobile Touch. A camera is very important to me. I rely of my phone for pictures. There is no reason to move from 2G to 3G on these phones
    The one thing I have not tried out on the new T mobile 3G touch is the screen in the sun. Most phones are useless in the sun as the screen is not visible, meaning camera and key pad on these phones.. I wonder if this problem has been remedied as neither of these phones have physical key pads.

  • check22
    June 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I agree about the photo capability. I’m looking for a new phone with a decent camera, and the iPhone 3GS won’t cut it, sadly. Then again, I’m one of the rare ones who’d doesn’t care about all the extra features. The internet is too distracting to take with me everywhere.

    • Mike
      June 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm

      oh god, I couldn’t live without my mobile internet. Going back to my BlackBerry from my iPhone was hard enough as the internet on a BlackBerry is nothing compared to an iPhone…even with Opera Mini. Still, I just couldn’t stand not having the background apps and messaging features my BlackBerry offer. Photo wise, I’m pretty much the exact opposite of you. The camera isn’t as big of a deal to me. To each his own. Good luck on your quest.

  • Bowler
    June 16, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    i’m looking forward to that glorious day when the iPhone is included for free in a basic cell phone plan; still waiting…

  • guzz
    June 16, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I have a nokia n95-3 because i’ve allways feel like it’s a lot better than the iphone 3g (specially the camera). Now with iphone 3gs i still feel n95 is better though the iphone has a more powerful processor. But i think n97 will be my next phone. Iphone is nothing more than a pretty phone.

    • Mike
      June 16, 2009 at 9:11 pm

      While I agree the iPhone 3G and 3G S still have some short comings in regards to hardware and software, I still feel that it offers a lot over the competition. Also, while the iPhone doesn’t necessarily offer a ton of “new” features, it builds upon and ultimate makes better many of the current technologies currently available on the market.

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