This video is making the rounds, but I only recently saw it, so you may be new to it, too. Benjamin Dowie shoots some beautiful footage on the new iPhone 4S. And forget the novelty for a second: this works because of some specific engineering decisions in how the camera on Apple’s phone works.

Got an iPhone 4S yesterday and got up this morning to go for a surf. No surf, so thought I’d shoot some stuff to see what the new camera is like on the 4S. Got home, looked at the footage, and couldn’t believe it came out of a phone. Was so excited so thought I’d quickly cut a vid to share the goodness.

It’s actually amazing. The automatic stabilisation seems to work wonders, and gets rid of most the jello. Depth of field is flipping awesome. Colours are really good straight out the camera, but I did give this footage a slight grade.

For capturing footage when you left your camera at home, it looks utterly brilliant. I’m curious to see if any other devices approach this shooting quality.

Benjamin suggests throwing the 7D “in the bin,” to which I’d say, anyone getting rid of your 7D, please just throw it in my general direction. (Shout when you do so, so I catch it rather than getting beamed in the head.)

Obvious ongoing challenges inherent to a phone form factor:
Low light is out of the question.
Sometimes you want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.
Sound input remains a big problem (actually, also true on many dedicated cameras).
You might need your phone for use as a phone.

It’s easy to swap all of those tradeoffs for mobility, and swap mobility for all of those advantages. So, I don’t fear for the dedicated camera; I just see more good footage getting shot. (Oh, I also predict someone smart collecting all the worst mobile phones and exploiting their gritty, digitally-distorted quality, so throw those in my general direction, too! Unlocked, ideally.)

  • Re: Depth of Field

    While watching I couldn't help but think 'Well of course there's some real pretty DOF in there; these are all extreme macro-y close ups.'

    To show shots like that to tout something like depth of field is a little bit misleading.

    Lovely footage though!

  • Peter Kirn

    @humblesound: Oh, yeah, absolutely, though some of these portable lenses really aren't equipped to do those kinds of macro shots, so it's at least partly fair. And there's the ability to flip between DOS on the 4S.

    More generally, of course, making pretty macro shots is a good way to make the camera look better – people were doing that with the 7D, too! On the other hand, we're all about making pretty footage…

  • wow… this is pretty impressive, coming from such a small device. I didn't care much for the 4S, as i already have an iPhone 4 , but now i'm almost tempted. Some shots are almost as good as my 7D ( no, i'm not throwing it in the bin..)

  • deb

    that looks like a tasty breakfast.

  • jay

    Clearly we are going to be seeing amazing things done with this phone. Great vid!

  • a sample video made with the iphone 4S
    color and stabilization test during an artwork studio