"iPhone 4S Camera, Ready for Prime Time?" - Digital Photography Podcast 296

The upgraded camera is one of the major features of the iPhone 4S. But does it have enough horsepower to be your everyday compact camera? In this podcast I review the specs and features of the iPhone 4S camera, then talk about how it performed in my testing. Plus you'll learn tidbits such as the ISO range, shutter speeds available, how its HDR works, and more.

Also be sure to check out iPhone 4S Camera Pros and Cons that has some good supplemental infomation in easy to absorb list form.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (32 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Side Lighting is the Oct. 2011 Photo Assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Oct. 31, 2011.

TDS Nov. Aperture Workshop

I've organized an Aperture Workshop on Nov. 12th and 13th. Signups are in progress now. If you want a registration form, or just more information, drop me a line. BTW: We include a professional model shoot as part of this workshop. Just saying...

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

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Derrick, do you have a link for the transfer software you mentioned in the podcast? Thanks.

Hi Jon, I can do better than that. Here's a post on PhotoSync - http://thedigitalstory.com/2011/10/take_control_of_ipho.html

I'm also in the middle of testing Photo Stream by Apple. More soon on that.

Great info, but you completely omitted discussing battery life and how the camera affects it.

I love my iPhone 4S but I simply can't use it as a Point and Shoot replacement because the battery life falls so short of their estimates and it even seems to heat up a little bit. So having a day at Disney World wouldnt work because you'd be out of juice by noon.


Just got around to listening to your iPhone report. Well done. Will be looking forward to your report on how well the iPhone 4S works with Aperture 3. I have done some testing myself and so far it works pretty well with the Photo Stream feature. Even when I edit within the Photo Stream via the iPhone the edit will show up within Aperture. Pretty cool I have to admit.

Kitty the battery life could be a problem as you stated. One solution I am looking into is the uNu Power DX External Protective Battery Case for iPhone 4S:

Really do not know much about this type of case except what I have been reading. Maybe Derrick has some information he will be able to pass on about this type of case. If it works the way it is suppose to then it would give you the extra life you would need. I am sure there are other brands in the market. I did see some at the local AT&T store, however they did not fit the iPhone 4S correctly. Hey where made for the iPhone 4. The camrea did not line up and the button where off some. But I am sure more battery type cases for the iPhone 4S will be hitting the market soon.


I had held off discussing the battery because I was in the middle of testing it myself. At first, I thought the battery life was shorter than my iPhone 3GS. So I rebooted the phone, and it's been great ever since.

On testing days, I used the camera often, plus data services, and I was down to about 20 percent battery when I went to bed. On days when I didn't use these functions as much, it's about 40-50 percent left.

It's true you're not going to shoot all day with an iPhone. Take a dedicated camera for those assignments. But for snapshots when you need them, I think it's terrific.

So Derek,
Having just read your iPhone 4S camera review I have a question. Do you think the iPhone 4S camera will replace your Canon S90 for your nimble photographer kit? I know that you favor the S90 for its ability to shoot in RAW format. However, does the camera in the iPhone 4S satisfy your "nimble photographer" needs sufficiently to remove another piece of gear from your kit? It will be interesting to hear your report when you revisit this topic in a few months time.