1:1 Square Photo vs Regular Photo – iPhone 5S / iOS7

December 23, 2013

This is another part of my iPhone 5S camera review. In this part we’ll take a close look at the “SQUARE” photo option in iOS 7 on the iPhone 5S. As for the latest iOS 7 operating system, there are 5 difference camera modes: Slo-mo, Video, Photo, Square and Pano. The first two are for video recording and the last three are for stills capture.

It won’t be too difficult to figure out by the name of the feature that the “SQUARE” mode refers to an image with same height and width.  In order to shoot a square photo, all you have to do is to swipe left on top of the visible camera image or on the photo mode area to move from “Photo” to “Square”, or swipe right if you are in “Pano” (Panorama) mode.

Square photo mode, iOS7

Photo (top) vs Square photo (bottom) mode, iOS7

You can see that by changing to “Square” photo mode, the image is displayed in a 1:1 square proportions instead of a 4:3 rectangular aspect ratio. The image that you see on your iPhone 5S display will be the same as the final image output.

Square image dimensions: 2448×2448 pixels
Regular image dimensions:  3264×2448 pixels

As you can see from the above image dimensions in pixels, both the regular image and the Square image have the same height, but are different in width. This means that what the iPhone does is to crop the image and therefore you lose the the data from both the left and right side of the horizontal center. With a short calculation, you lose 3264 – 2448 = 816 pixels in total, 408 pixels from the right, 408 pixels from the left.

It’s worth mentioning that you can always make a square crop using a photo editing software or an iPhone photo editing app. For some photos a 1:1 aspect ratio does look better and does emphasize the subject and give it more presence compare to four thirds. The advantage of having this feature built-in is that you don’t have to edit it prior to sharing the photo with friends. Other than that, it’s a nice feature to have.

Other article about iPhone 5S you might be interested in:

iPhone 5S HDR Photo test

iPhone 5S high ISO performance

iPhone 5S camera image quality

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  • Jack Bishop

    When using my iPhone 5S camera, the PHOTO selection is “off” color. When I switch to SQUARE it is the “true” color. Any idea what’s causing this? Just started doing this recently. Thanks, Jack

  • Sally Hamilton

    I have the same problem. Only square mode shows acceptable color. I have no idea why..