DxOMark recently published its review of the iPhone 6s, and it confirms what we already sort-of new: it’s not a huge step up from the last generation iPhones. In fact, the camera performs ever-so-slightly worse than last year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which both entered the DxOMark rankings in 1st place when they were reviewed last year.
It’s a slightly different story this year. With Apple packing in more pixels in to the sensor, the company’s aim was to offer higher resolution pictures without ruining performance. For the most part, Apple achieved its goal. DxOMark notes that exposure, white balance and detail are all good in bright light. What’s more, autofocus and stabilization are both great on video in daylight. It’s in low light conditions that the iPhone 6s doesn’t perform as well. There’s noticeable noise, yellowing and ghosting in low light and indoor conditions.
From our tests, images are generally well-exposed and for the most part colors are vivid and pleasing outdoors. However, there are occasional differences in exposure noticeable between consecutive captures in very bright outdoor scenes, typically due to the inconsistent activation of the HDR mode. There is also a slight but consistent underexposure in extremely low light levels (5 lux); the result however is still quite usable and an improvement over the iPhone 6. White balance is reliable though inevitably some inaccuracies were noticeable at times, with a slight yellow cast visible in some outdoor scenes. Although this cast was present in captures from the iPhone 6 the cast was slightly stronger and more noticeable on the 6s.
As for video, it could do with some OIS action if it’s going to improve its stabilization in low light, which is currently supplied using some clever software tricks, rather than through mechanical means:
Results for digital stabilization were similar to the iPhone 6 (and the Samsung), with it working well in good lighting but rather less efficient at reducing shake in low light where, arguably, it is needed more.
The iPhone 6s ended up with a score of 82, the same score as given to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last year. That places the iPhone 6s in 10th place on the current list of smartphones, behind the likes of the newly announced Nexus 6P, Moto X Style and Xperia Z5. I’m sure many Android fans will gloat over that very fact. According to DxOMark, the iPhone is no longer the market leader when it comes to camera performance. By all accounts though, it’s still a very good camera overall.