The Apple iPhone 4 has really set a new standard in the mobile phone camera. The image quality of both stills and video is now good enough for even professional production work, well kind of. Indeed, the iPhone 4 (just the phone, not the whole cover) on the September 2010 Macworld magazine cover was photographed and post-processed entirely on another iPhone 4 by photographer Peter Belanger.[@clickzilla1]
This is all the more remarkable because normally Peter shoots Macworld covers with a Phase One P65+ digital camera which, at 60MP resolution, has 12 times the resolution of the iPhone 4’s 5MP camera. To reduce the need for any cropping (and thus resolution loss when resized back), he photographed the iPhone 4 as close to the size of the Macworld cover as possible.
Of course, it does not mean — as some headlines and content so happily (and misleadingly) suggest — that anyone can pick up an iPhone 4 and suddenly churn out masterpieces. Here’s what he says on his blog post:
For the most part, my strategy for photographing the cover didn’t change from how I normally would photograph with the Phase One digital camera. I still had my normal set with lots of lights, flags and stands. I did have to change my light source from strobes to tungsten lights because the iPhone can’t sync with studio strobes. I did end up making my own camera mount for the phone to go on my tripod (monopod). I hadn’t seen one that would do exactly what I needed (even if I did I didn’t think it would ship to me in time) so I picked up some parts from the hardware store and rigged one myself.
For “post production,” Peter could not use Photoshop on his Mac, and chose the following software, er apps:
- PhotoForge by GhostBird Software ($2.99) – to remove a slight green cast from the image
- Resize-Photo by iLegendSoft ($0.99) – to increase the photo from 216 dpi to 290 dpi in order to meet MacWorld’s printing requirements.
- One app that he wished he had but was yet unavailable is Camera+ 1.2 by tap tap tap ($1.99) – for separate touch exposure and touch focus.
- The MacWorld article has surprisingly received more No recommendation votes than Yes recommendation votes. Are there so many disgruntled iPhone 4 users out there — or is this a vote against pros hyping the stills and video capability of the iPhone 4?
For a glimpse of what actually goes on into a cover creation, here’s one for the 2009 iPhone 3Gs cover: