Though the vast majority of advance iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus reviews spoke only superficially about the performance of Apple’s latest cameras, several reviewers have spotlighted major performance improvements over the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that weren’t obvious from Apple’s marketing materials.

Much of the pre-release attention has been focused on Live Photos, higher megapixel counts, and the ease of 3D Touch access to the cameras, all noted by Apple during its September 9 media event. But there are other points to consider…

  • iPhone still images are coming closer to DSLR quality, suggests Time, noting that the iPhone 6s’s color balance and detail “mimic the tonality of RAW files, a plus for professional photographers.” Time says that Apple doesn’t over-sharpen or over-saturate colors in its images, a contrast with makers of competing smartphones.
  • Shutter speed is “ultra-responsive,” claims Digital Spy. While the site discounts the value of Live Photos as “fun by frivolous,” it calls the rapidity of photo snapping “the most tangible benefit out of the box” — even moreso than the bump to 12-megapixel stills.
  • 4K video recording is entirely usable on the iPhone 6s, but visibly superior thanks to optical image stabilizing (OIS) on the iPhone 6s Plus, notes The Straits Times. While last year’s iPhone 6 Plus shipped with a similar OIS feature, it turned out to be useful only for still photos. On the iPhone 6s Plus, OIS “also makes videos appear less jerky,” says the Times, which provides direct comparison videos showing less shaking when walking. While 4K video on the iPhone 6s is entirely watchable, it’s unmistakably steadier on the iPhone 6s Plus.
  • Selfies are dramatically better thanks both to the new 5MP front camera and Retina Flash. What could have been a gimmicky faux flash turned out to be legitimately useful, MobileSyrup demonstrates with comparison photos taken with and without Retina Flash — the former notably clean, devoid of red eye, and lacking the hugely overexposed areas that can come with flash bulbs.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus arrive in stores this Friday, September 25.

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