An improved camera

Smartphone cameras are getting better and better, and this is an area manufacturers are really thinking about.

You only have to look at the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its 40 megapixel camera to see just how playful manufacturers are getting, and with 13, 16, and 20 megapixel cameras normal inclusions, this is an area a manufacturer really has to think about.

For the iPhone 6, Apple hasn’t been working on increasing the sensor from its 8 megapixel count, but rather improving the sensor and how it views light, with the inclusion of “Focus Pixels,” which Apple says helps the iPhone get more information about what you’re aiming the camera at.

There’s little information on how this works, but it sounds a like a real-time version of RAW technology, taking information about light at various angles and using this to work out how best to focus the lens, while providing a touch based version of aperture control, sliding a little sun up or down a scale to change the light based on the subject you’re touching on the screen.

In real life and practise, the technology works for the most part, providing a little more control in one of the easiest camera apps, with solid performance in both daylight and at night.

An image from the camera of the Apple iPhone 6.

The best performance is in daylight, and we’re sure you’re hardly surprised by that, but at night, the effort isn’t bad, with the dual-tone flash helping light scenes, though we preferred the ambient light most of the time. Sometimes, ambient light won’t be enough, though, providing some blotchy colour blocks.

With decent lighting, though, even the dark scenes render nicely, and there’s even some solid macro abilities to be had, as well, though the iPhone 6 camera tends to prefer an abundance of light if you want to get up close and personal with things, like food, flowers, or bugs.

Trigger happy shutterbugs will find a speedy burst of rapid fire frames is possible simply by holding down the shutter, providing quite a few frames — we stopped at 40, but you could probably get more from a single burst — with the camera app providing a way to narrow these down significantly, even though these will all be stored as individual files on the phone itself.

Video is equally fun to play with, not just because there’s a faster 60fps Full HD capture, but also because the focus is always adjusting and readjusting, thanks to continuous autofocus, while slow motion can now be captured at 240 frames per second, provided you don’t mind dropping to 720p HD (1280×720).

An image from the camera of the Apple iPhone 6.

Over to the front-facing camera, and while little has changed, it does appear to be a little brighter than its predecessor, even though the megapixels have stayed the same.

On this one, you’re going to find people complaining regardless, because while the megapixels haven’t nudged from 1.2mp — and they probably should have — we suspect Apple has taken the view of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with this one.

The fact of the matter is, while devices like the HTC One M8 carry a 5 megapixel front facing camera, and others run the gamut between 2 and 13, Apple’s 1.2 megapixel front-facing shooter still provides solid colours, reasonable sharpness, and enough for most people to indulge the habit that is frequent self-portraiture shooting.