The New iPad has been out for a little over a month now and many reviewers have raved over it. But one feature that has been underestimated on the new edition to the iPad family is the iSight camera. 

The iPad 2 was revolutionary in bringing cameras to the iPad. But if you happen to remember that far back, the rear camera was only…well no one seems to know the megapixel number for that on. Apple didn’t bother to divulge that info. But what I can tell you is that it was abysmally bad. Same for the crappy VGA quality of the front facing camera. Fortunately the New iPad brought a little more to the table.

The New iPad bumped the megapixel count to 5 in the rear while keeping the front cam at VGA (or 0.3 megapixel.) So now the camera specs match up with the iPhone 4.

Now that we’ve got the specs out of the way, let’s dive in.

Rear Camera

The iPhone 4

Now the iPhone 4 isn’t a bad camera at all. It just happens to be a lot smaller than the New iPad. I can stay connected with the world and take pictures at the drop of a hat. The iPhone 4 rocks a 5-megapixel iSight camera at 2592×1936 pixels. Let’s look at the test shots.

iPhone 4 Images

As you can see by the test images, the iPhone 4 produces some pretty sharp images. The quality is of such that it could replace almost any point and shoot camera.

The New iPad

The New iPad also has a great camera, but it’s just too large to be used conveniently or often. The camera specs are the same as the iPhone 4, producing images with the same pixel count.

New iPad Images

The images produced by the New iPad’s rear camera are as sharp as the iPhone (Note: the first image in this set was partially obscured by the iPad’s case.)

The Comparison

After those images were taken separately, I spliced them together for a side-by-side comparison. Take a look.

Rear Camera Comparison

The iPhone produced lighter images while the iPad produced more realistic colors. Now with the iPhone, the lighter images can be helped without any editing. This is possible by enabling HDR (which was not used in any of the images.) The iPad conveniently lacks built-in HDR capability. HDR (or High Dynamic Range) imaging which is the ability to take a series of different exposures of the same scene and combining them in post processing so basically all the image is properly exposed (credit: Photography-on-the.net.)

Front Facing Camera

Alas, now to look at the front facing cameras. Both are VGA quality and not that good. Just good enough for front facing video chat or cheesy facial pics. It does have its uses though.

Front Facing Camera Comparison

It clearly seems that the front facing iPad camera is better at handling exposure to light. The front facing cam on the iPhone 4 is fine, but it seems some re-tuning has been performed to all the cameras on the New iPad. Now there are no complaints on my part. But I’m not very motivated to walk around and take pictures with my 9.7 inch iPad.

The Conclusion

In my opinion, the iPad surprisingly came out on top, but not by much. If I were to fire up HDR on the iPhone 4, the outcome would be different. I feel that the iPad took first because it was able to handle the lighting and natural colors a lot better without any editing. That says to me that the iPad has slightly better sensors in it.

So what’s your opinion? Feel free to comment below!
Note: All images shown were not edited to improve visual results. 

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