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« A wasp washing to demonstrate the iPad's stunning macro capture ability | Main | Tune-in Tuesday: AmpKit Special »

iPad vs iPhone 4S camera shootout, part 2

In part 1 of this camera comparison we considered still photography, could the new iPad with its 5MP sensor compete with the iPhone 4S and its 8MP sensor? Not too surprisingly, both devices produced very similar results. Be sure to check out the entire article, which includes plenty of sample shots, for the full story.

1080p v 1080p

With video, things are a little different. Both the new iPad and the iPhone 4S capture 1080p video with decent stabilisation. We were expecting the iPad and iPhone 4S to be very evenly matched, and indeed they were. The samples from each device are almost identical. So much so, in fact, that it would likely take someone who is very familiar with iPhone 4S video quality to spot the differences. But there are differences.

The processed look

Just like with the photographs, the new iPad video capture has a slightly more processed look. We are not quite sure what's going on here. Why should the new iPad have a more processed look than even the iPhone 4 which also features a 5MP sensor? We are fully aware that minds sharper than ours are suggesting that Apple is simply reusing the 5MP Omnivision sensor as last seen in the iPhone 4, but the actual results seem to suggest otherwise. The iPad samples show some kind of edge enhancement that neither the iPhone 4 or 4S exhibit. It's not a deal breaker, in fact you may prefer this new look, but it does seem a little odd to us.

Is it possible that the new iPad is packing the exact same optics and sensor and the iPhone 4S, yes an 8MP sensor, but that the camera software is binning those extra 3 mega pixels in order to give a final 5MP image? It seems unlikely, but then it also seems unlikely that Apple has deliberately chosen to give the iPad photos and video a more processed appearance. The truth is, we just don't know the answer, and for most people the video capture from both the iPad and iPhone 4S will be indistinguishable, we really are just splitting hairs here.

Audio capture differences

Perhaps it's because the microphone on the new iPad well clear of our hands, or perhaps it's just a bit more sensitive, but whatever the reason, we are quite convinced that the new iPad picks up a little more ambient noise than the iPhone 4S. Play the video sample above through a decent set of speakers or earphones and hear it for yourself.

An end to end experience

There simply isn't another consumer video camera on the planet that has a display quite like the new iPad's display. It's also true that there is no camera available that has the video editing and soundtrack creation goodness that iMovie and GarageBand bring to the iPad. As an end to end video capture, editing and distribution solution, the new iPad is in a league of its own making. People will produce stunning videos using nothing more than the new iPad and a couple of cheap apps. Yes, the new iPad is a bulky device for capturing video, but you have to remember, this isn't just the camera, it's the entire solution, and an extremely powerful one at that.

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Reader Comments (2)

Like the 4S, the new iPad has a smaller field of view in video mode compared to that of iPad 2. What kind of differences did you see in 1080p vs 1080p?

March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiege

I find iphone 4 is way better

March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

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