In addition to a likely improved processor and camera sensor, it appears that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will include a dual-LED Flash. In light of reports and part leaks pointing to this new feature, it is worth taking a look at how dual-LED flash parts compare to single LED flashes (as found on the current iPhone 5) in real-world use.
An analyst has claimed that the next-generation iPhone’s LED flash setup with feature multiple colors. From the image above, it certainly appears that the two LEDs will throw off different color light. For instance, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo said that the LED flash will feature both white and yellow-based lights, unlike the sole white light on past iPhones. With that in mind, based on light sensors that Apple has included in its product before, we speculate that Apple may be able to light up either one or both lights depending on determined lighting conditions or use a determined amount of light from each flash. For example, for photos taken at a concert (where the scene is typically dark with many lights flashing), Apple’s new iPhone could light up appropriately for the user to take the best possible shot.
Rumors have been split on what kind of sensor will be coupled with the new flash. Claims have ranged from an 8MP sensor (to match the current iPhone 5, 4S) to 12MP to a 13MP Sony unit.
Also, based on a series of reports comparing single LED flashes to dual-LED flashes on non-iPhones, it appears that a dual LED-flash setup could increase both the distance of how far the LED light will travel during photo and video capture and how bright the light will be.
A test from 2010 demonstrates how a dual-LED flash holds up in comparison between the same subject being photographed 5 feet and 20 feet away. The post notes that the color and brightness drop off is minimal compared to what would happen from a phone with a single LED flash.
In other cases, the dual-LED flash provides noticeable improvements for images at the same distance.
A test from 2011 presents that a dual-LED flash could dramatically improve photos in low-light situations. As can be seen in the image comparison above, the dual-LED photo (on the right) is much more illuminated. However, this particular camera sensor yields a slightly washed out look. The camera in question is a Nokia handset from a few years ago, and Apple’s camera team has made strides to prevent washed out photography. With that in mind, it would be unsurprising to see the next iPhone take much better photos in low-light situations (sans the washed out look).
Earlier this year, a report claimed that a potential dual-LED flash system in the next iPhone would mean much better video capture as well in low-light environments. The video below gives a peak at the power of a dual-LED flash (in comparison to Xenon flash technology):
Apple’s iOS 7 includes a handy new button to enable the rear flash as a flashlight. With that in mind, here’s a video of a dual-LED flash being used as a flashlight on another smartphone: