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Apple's iPhone 4S Adds 1080p Video Recording, Fast Lens, and Gyro Stabilization

10.4.11 @ 5:11PM Tags : , , ,

I know the rest of the internet is already clogged with news about the new iPhone 4S — which looks the same as the previous iteration, the iPhone 4 — but there are some video-specific features worth noting. The 4S ships with an 8 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor that records 1080p video at 30 FPS. With an f/2.4 aperture and a gyro for video stabilization, those movies shot on iPhones should start looking a bit better. Per usual with Apple promo videos, the new iPhone spot is rife with “amazing,” “incredible,” and every other hyperbolic term in the dictionary, so here it is starting with the part focused on its photo/video capabilities:

This is in addition to the new dual-core A5 processor (the better with which to use mobile iMovie?), Siri voice assistant, and Apple finally using the cloud to sync instead of old-fashioned USB cords. The lens features, as mentioned in the live stream of the event, “the kind of features used in high-end DSLRs.” More on the camera at TechCrunch. Pre-orders on October 7th, available in stores October 14th. More details on Apple’s page, and so you don’t accuse me of being an Apple fanboy (here’s what I said about the iPhone 4, and I’m currently on Android, though that’s about to change), here is the 4s compared to the best of the rest.


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  • now if they could just get people to film with it the right way. Every day I see new videos being filmed by people who don’t understand aspect ratio.

    • Alec Sprinkle on 10.5.11 @ 9:54AM

      Ha. Yep.

    • The best camera is the one you have with you. Unless you’re working on a “production”, chances are you’ll have your phone and nothing more. I’m happy to see Apple taking the camera part seriously.

    • true-ish but theres the exceptions among iphone shooters like Park Chan Wook know a helluva alot about aspect ratio!

  • How about you stop being such a butthole on .nofilmschool. and be encouraging Arthur C. Would love to see your first film’s aspect ratio. This website is for folks trying to grow their passions.

  • It’s a shame that they don’t seem to have gotten rid of the rolling shutter that was on the iPhone 4. It looks fine with slow movements, sure, but when are you actually going to be using this with a steady cam or tripod? I’d have preferred them to improve the 720p rather than offer 1080p jello cam.

    Maybe I’m being a bit picky, yes, it is just a phone, I know I know… But the 5D was just a stills camera (and yes, I realise the 5D suffers from the same thing)…

    • Alec Sprinkle on 10.5.11 @ 11:54AM

      So you want the iPhone 5 to have 3 CCD’s?

      • Some CMOS sensors have global shutter. Do your homework.

        • as far as i know, the phantom is the only camera using a global shutter right now – and understandably so. i definitely wouldn’t expect a phone of all things to use what – at this point – is still such a luxury chip. at least not until they saturate the pro / pro-sumer video market first, which i feel we may see in the next year or two. i have a sneaking suspicion that the gh3 might be the first dslr to get it. though november 3rd may have a few surprises…

        • Alec Sprinkle on 10.5.11 @ 2:13PM

          Wow! If I’m reading this right, it’s a whole 1.3 MP! That sounds like it’ll be as good as my old GL2 in photo mode. No, yeah, that sounds like a great idea.

          • You said the iPhone would have to have 3CCDs if you didn’t want rolling shutter. I gave an example where CMOS didn’t have rolling shutter. Stop acting like a jackass.

            Also, try not to get confused with MP for cameras and resolution for video. They are essentially the same, true, but you never have the same resolution for stills as you do for video in these devices. Do you really think that the iPhone 4s shoots 8MP video?

            The link that I provided was 1.3MP for shooting video, not taking stills. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a 1.3MP sensor can shoot 720p:


            Don’t embarrass yourself further unless you have something useful to say, please. I hate pointless arguments like this…

          • Alec Sprinkle on 10.5.11 @ 2:49PM

            Yet here you are.

    • So does the RED Epic (to a much lesser degree). It’s part of having a CMOS sensor, dude. Can’t ask for much on that tiny piece of equipment (for a camera).

      • I know I know, I don’t expect Apple to shill out for a CMOS with the same readout speed as the Epic, but by increasing the resolution, they’ve added to the number of lines it has to scan per frame, making the rolling shutter more prominent…

        And yes, as I said before, it’s just a phone, so agree, can’t ask for much from such a tiny piece of equipment.

        Siri looks amazing though. Like a digital friend who doesn’t tire of your endless questions :)

        • chip and processor speed could have improved too though, which would increase the refresh rate, and decrease rolling shutter effects.

  • How s the price on 64GB version? i mean native price (without payment plans)

  • Jackson Childs on 10.5.11 @ 2:45PM

    People have done very interesting work with the gopro type HD cameras. It’s entirely possible a smartphone would be capable of video of at least that quality, if not now then soon. It’s also logical that mobile non-linear editing via cloud computing video storage is at hand, if not here already.

  • Shaun Wilson on 10.6.11 @ 9:00PM

    Just a thought, a film shot on an iPhone 4 with a great story is going to be a lot better than a terrible story shot at 5K. While it maybe true that these cameras have a lot of limitations to their capabilities when compared to a production camera, at the end of the day we use video cameras to tell stories to an audience, have we all forgotten this part? Im working on an iPhone 4 short right now and am using the limitations of the phone camera (and trust me there are many) to work in with the story in combination with RED footage (don’t laugh, Im also using VHS).

  • Looking forward to getting the 4S. There is an app called “Filmic” that allows variable frame rates, including 24p and the best part is the ability to lock down exposure white balance and focus. Not sure if the iMovie app will edit the 24P files though..

  • Please forgive me if this is a stupid question but my knowledge of camera technology is limited still, learning.
    If I were to mount the Iphone 4s on a tripod would it eliminate the problem of rolloing shutter and if so would you
    be able to capture quality 1080p at 30fps ? When displayed on an HDTV say 42″ would it aproach the quality
    that you might call broadcast quality or is this just a disappointing pipedream. I’ve been hopeing to puchase a
    Canon 3CCD video camera eventually but the $30000.00 price tag is still beyond my budget yet.

  • So can you guys please let me know if you know the actual focal length of the video recording in iPhone4S? i mean what r the focal lengths on wider end and zoomed end eq to 35mm ?

    Thank you . .

  • To answer your questions Jim;
    Mounting your iPhone on a tripod well definitely help but you’ll still get the rolling shutter effect when panning, especially if you’re panning quickly (also dependant on the cameras frame rate and shutter speed which is dependant on the available light!!).
    Yes the new iPhone 4S can capture full HD video which I’m sure will look great on your big screen TV but the word ‘Broadcast Quality” is a very subjective term.
    I believe at the end of the day you’re getting an amazing little HD video camera (I mean phone) that you just have to work with its limitations and will only get better and better.