What to Expect in the iPhone 6S Camera

Happy September! New iPhones are around the corner and I’m more excited than ever to be gearing up for this year’s iPhone camera review.

You may remember my first iPhone 5 review in Iceland, then the iPhone 5S review in Patagonia, and last year’s iPhone 6 review in Iceland. This year’s iPhone 6S camera review will be an entirely new location, so keep your eyes peeled.


I have quite a few thoughts on the features that will impact photographers shooting on iPhone.

If history repeats itself, the iPhone 6S will be the biggest camera update in at least two years. The 4S and the 5S marked MAJOR camera improvements, and I suspect this round will be no exception.


4K Video Capability: Yes

This will be the biggest feature to roll out. At the keynote, I expect to see an epic reel of jaw-dropping footage, shot by the world’s top filmmakers in the most remote places on earth, all captured in 4K on the iPhone.


12 Megapixel Photos: Yes

Everyone will be really excited about this, but to be honest, I’d rather have insanely awesome low light capabilities. However, the extra resolution will be really nice for cropping in post.


Optical Zoom: No

Wait until next year. I suspect we’ll see significant improvements in digital zoom, but my hunch is that anything Apple is doing with a dual lens imaging system will have to wait for an entirely new housing.


Force Touch Quick Camera Access: Yes

The iPhone 6S screen will be implemented with Apple’s Force Touch technology and I believe it will be most often utilized to access the camera quickly when the screen is off. This will be even faster than touching the home button and sliding the camera up from the bottom right corner.

While actively shooting, Force Touch will be used for locking exposure or focus, or perhaps for digital zoom.


Major Low-light improvements: No

I don’t expect significant improvements here. A sensor resolution increase is paired with low-light grain increase. I don’t think it will get worse, but I don’t expect this to be much of an improvement.


Faster Processor: Yes

To handle the 4K image processing, the A9 (hopefully with substantial RAM) will be powering the iPhone 6S. This will impact not only the shooting experience, but also the editing and post-processing.


Faster Burst Mode: Yes

Today, the iPhone 6 burst mode is capable of shooting about 10FPS. I think they’ll bump this to 14FPS for medium-resolution shots (8MP), and it will remain at 10FPS for full-resolution (12MP) shots.


Slower Slo-mo: No

I’m 50/50 on this, but I think I have to say no. I suspect we’ll see 4K at 30FPS and 60FPS, and they’ll bump 120FPS & 240FPS to 1080p (currently all slo-mo is 720p).


Major Battery Life Increase: No

There are rumors floating around about a one-week battery capacity. Sounds amazing, but don’t hold your breath. My hunch is the battery life will be significantly higher performance, but the faster processor and 4K video processing will suck more power than ever before. Plan to keep charging your iPhone every night.


Camera/Siri Integration: Yes

I’m not exactly sure what this will be, but I suspect some sort of voice activated control of the camera.


Better Photo-to-Print Integration: Yes

I think Apple is going to get more serious about our ability to print our iPhone photos and create systems that make it really easy to do so. With a 12 megapixel sensor, it will be easy to blow them up big and put them on the wall, and I think they’ll capitalize on this opportunity.


Non-Camera Related Expectations


Slightly diminished antenna signal: I suspect Apple will have strengthened the outer shell of the iPhone casing, and due to this thicker metal we’ll see a slight decrease in antenna reception.

Heating up: I also suspect the increased case thickness and greater processor power will cause the iPhone to be warmer to the touch, especially while shooting with it in the field or editing media.

Availability: September 18, 2015.


Overall, I’m really excited about what’s coming in the iPhone 6S. The camera upgrades will be substantial, and regardless of the features, I think this will be the year when the iPhone becomes widely regarded as one of the best pro imaging tools out there.

As always, I’ll be performing detailed side-by-side comparisons between the iPhone 6 and 6S for all the photographers and filmmakers out there interested in how the new model will affect their images and workflows, so stay tuned.

Do you agree or disagree?
What feature do you want?

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