It’s no surprise that cellphone photos are now the most popular on the Internet. Everyone I know carries a smart phone with a camera in it.

The iPhone 5 sports an eight megapixel sensor made by Sony. Sony/Apple claim the camera is 40% faster than the iPhone 4s. I have no way to verify that claim but it does feel a little “snappier.” Pun intended.

The new camera also claims better low-light performance. It is in my opinion a full stop better – but some reviewers feel like there may even be a two-stop advantage. Perhaps I am a bit pickier than they are but it’s better for sure.

The iPhone 5 also offers better sharpness and dynamic range than competing phones

The big change is in the software. While there have long been many apps that let you use the iPhone to make panoramas – that capability is built-in. There are more controls over the settings

I am a little (okay VERY little) disappointed that Apple didn’t use this new phone as a chance to launch some new super camera technology. Don’t get me wrong, this camera is certainly an improvement over the iPhone 4s but I was hoping for more. Perhaps the long-time (and often debunked) rumors that Apple is eventually planning to release a standalone camera would justify only a minor upgrade to the iPhone 5 camera.

While the average consumer will certainly be able to use the iPhone 5 as a replacement for the common point and shoot, I suspect that most people reading this blog will still want to keep a decent compact camera around for more serious work. I’d say that about any cellphone camera.

So no earth-shattering news. It’s a great little phone and camera. Would I upgrade from the 4s to the 5 just to get this camera? Nope. But if you’re in the market for a new smartphone that makes great photographs you can’t go wrong with the iPhone 5.

Highly recommended.

P.S. I won’t be using the iPhone 5. Why? Because I can’t find a decent carrier who supports it. I was the original iPhone guy. I even did the first iPhone podcast called the Apple Phone Show. But those first years with AT&T were torture. I had AT&T triple billing me, dropping calls, ignoring customer service requests and then just flat out refusing to cancel when the phone became available via Verizon. Even after I fulfilled my AT&T contract it took attorneys to get my freedom and I’ll never go back. Then there is Verizon. It actually worked well with the iPhone. I had good coverage everywhere I went except the two places I spent most of my time. My studio and my home. After repeated calls for help from Verizon were met with shoulder shrugs, I switched to Sprint. And that’s when the real pain began. When I tried to upgrade the iPhone 4s to the iPhone 5 I spent two full weeks of my life trying to get the thing to work. They would manage to get the phone working but not the voice mail. They fixed the voice mail but then I couldn’t get the text messages to send. Once they fixed that we found out I could send text messages but people sending text messages to me would end up finding out they went to some guy named Ralph instead. Through all of this the Sprint people (each of the 28 times I called customer service) informed me that I had no choice but to sit through the sales pitch their bosses required them to make about Sprint’s new family plan. Sigh. I don’t have a family so can I please just get help? NOPE! Sprint’s customer service motto is: “We’re not happy until YOU’RE not happy.” So I am quitting Sprint  and my last chance is T-Mobile. The bad news? They don’t sell iPhones. If you have an old one that is unlocked you can use it on their system but the iPhone 5 is not available there so I still using the Samsung S3 which is a fine phone. So far T-Mobile has been great. They recently got a big chunk of AT&T’s network. They support 4G. They don’t throttle users and their costs are lower than any other carrier. But if T-Mobile fails me I’m going back to one of those rotary dial land lines and calling it a day.


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