iPhone 6 Camera 8 Megapixels – Why not more?

October 1, 2014

iPhone 6 8 megapixels

The Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, both have a 8-megapixel rear camera.  Apple has decided not to increase the sensor resolution. Some people hoped for a higher resolution capture. Why not a resolution like the Sony Xperia Z3 with its 20.7 megapixel sensor and its one of the best cameras on the market.

The Sony Xperia Z3 camera is indeed very impressive, and Sony was able to make the least impact on image quality by using a larger sensor (1.23″ vs 1/3.0″ of the iPhone). The difference in resolution is very significant, and I can understand why many consumers are disappointed to have 8 megapixels.

I can just assume that the main reason for that is to maintain a high image quality performance. Maybe developing a sensor with the same resolution (same megapixel count) reduces the cost, although the sensor design itself is newly developed.  The main thing is that for the given 1/3-inch sensor, a higher resolution would have lead to inferior image quality and low-light performance.  I assume that Apple knew that it cannot use a larger sensor because it will lead to a thicker device due to more complex optics. Apple wants to show that in any iPhone iteration, it continuously improving the camera both in terms of features and image quality.

Had Apple went with let’s say, 21 megapixels and with the same sensor size, the image quality would have been significantly decreased.  We can see that this formula worked incredibly well, as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both took the top two positions in DxOMark Mobile tests, leaving the Xperia Z3 and Galaxy S5 behind.

In fact, if people weren’t anxious about the resolution (although some people do want it), we could have had an iPhone 6 with 6 megapixels with marginally better image quality and low-light performance. Having said that, sensor technologies continue to improve in each generation. Image quality is getting better and better, and it allows phone manufacturers to increase the sensor resolution from time to time and show an improvement in image quality.

The 8 megapixel resolution is used because it offers the best balance between image resolution that consumers demand and image quality. Going below that number would probably cause customers to search for alternatives, going above would result in image quality that is inferior compared to the competition.

I also assume that Apple want to reduce the thickness of the iPhone in every new device each year. We can see that that what it does.  However, this puts some restrictions on the camera design. Apple might preferred going with the same specs but a larger sensor, but this might yield a thicker device or more prominent protrusion at the back. We can already see that the iPhone 6 has a small protrusion where the camera lens is at the back of the device. Some people found it odd to have this protrusion on an Apple device. Everything should be perfected to the micrometer, so why this little bulge at the back?

This is what the iPhone 6 has, we can’t change it. If you really want a camera phone with higher resolution, you probably should be looking elsewhere on the Android camp. I think that for most people, 8 megapixels is more than enough for most uses. With 8 megapixels you can make relatively large prints, view them beautifully on an HDTV or high-res computer display. IF you just want to share photos on Facebook, Twitter or send it via WhatsApp, even 2 MP is more than enough.

I am among those who always crossing my fingers, hoping that Apple won’t increase the sensor resolution an focus on image quality and low-light performance. So I’m happy that the resolution stayed as before.

Are you disappointed having only 8 megapixels on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? — Share your opinion in the comment section below and thanks for reading.

Also check out the Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs Sony Xperia Z3 Size Comparison


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