cameras

Apple iPhone 4S Digital Camera Review

The iPhone 4S has the best camera we've ever tested on a smartphone.

$130.21 at Amazon
Advertisement

Introduction

The refrain common refrain over the past decade—since cell phones started snapping pictures—has been that mobile phones will kill standalone cameras. Now it seems likes phones are helping cameras to thrive. Sales are up, even in a crummy economy. Everyone is a photographer now, even if they just post a few phone snapshots to Facebook. More would-be Ansel Adams loyalists are discovering that they actually like to take photos. They learn to recognize the advantages of a proper camera, whether it's a long-zoom compact or a full-fledged, interchangeable-lens DLSR, and upgrade from their humble camera phones when they can.

But that leaves us wondering about cheap point-and-shoots: They're meant to take good-enough photos for sharing online, just like the cameras built into phones like the Apple iPhone 4S, on review here. The best camera is the one you have, and when your iPhone is always in your pocket, it's hard to justify a pocket cam, even if it barely costs $100.

We're reviewing the 4S as a point-and-shoot, not because we expect fantastic performance, but because we want to see if its camera is good enough to replace a standalone pocket camera. (And just to be clear, we're testing the 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera, not the front-facing, VGA-quality camera.)

The Apple iPhone 4S is available in black and white shades in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB configurations, starting at $199.99 on contract with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Apple iPhone 4S, take a look at these other point & shoot cameras.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Color
  4. Noise
  5. Resolution
  6. Video
  7. Playback
  8. Hardware
  9. Controls
  10. Design & Handling
  11. Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS Comparison
  12. Samsung MV800 Comparison
  13. Nikon Coolpix S4100 Comparison
  14. Conclusion
  15. Photo Gallery

News and Features

Tg tracker hero

Olympus's new GoPro competitor is ready for adventure

Olympus's new action cam has everything but the kitchen sink for $400

Canon powershot sx620 hs hero

Canon unveils flagship flash, mini macro, and a compact cam

The new PowerShot SX620 HS lends itself perfectly to travelers.

Panasonic lumix gx85 release news hero alt

Panasonic's 4K-Ready GX85 Is a Bargain Hunter's Dream

Panasonic's latest camera is one of the best values around.

Hubble space telescope hero 1

Photography of the Unseen, Part 2: Astrophotography

A look at the art, science, and technology of space photography.

Sony rx10 iii news hero

Is Sony's New RX10 III the Best Point-and-Shoot Ever?

Sony takes the wraps off of the stunning new Cyber-shot RX10 III.

Canon eos rebel t6 news hero

Canon Unveils $550 EOS Rebel T6 With WiFi and NFC

Canon rounds out the EOS Rebel family with the new T6.

Nikon coolpix b700 hero

Here Are All the 2016 Nikon Coolpix Cameras

Big zooms and tiny pocket cams

Sony world photography awards 2016 hero1

Our Shortlist for Sony's 2016 World Photography Awards

We narrowed down our top 15 photos in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.