iPad 2 vs. iPhone 4: Rear Cameras – Eye to Eye (literally)

Apple chose to give the iPad 2 the same low resolution camera found in the 4th generation iPod touch. Both produce sub-megapixel 960 x 720 pixel photos (0.69 megapixels). The iPhone 4, by comparison, produces 2592 x 1936 5 megapixel images. I took two photos of a rabbit from about the same distance, was off a bit on the angle, lighting conditions, and time (within a minute or two apart) using an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4. The photo to the left shows segments of each photo in native resolution of the rabbit’s left eye. It provides an idea of the quality produced by the iPhone 4 (left photo) and iPad 2 (right photo). Note that photographic quality is determined by more factors than just pixel resolution.
You can see in the rescaled photos below (both photos were rescaled to be 420 pixels wide). You’ll note (depending on which screen you are viewing it on) that the iPhone 4 photo looks sharper, has less noise, more contrast, and more color saturation. The iPhone 4 photo looks better than the iPad 2 photo even when rescaled to the same pixel width for web page use. None of this is surprising, of course, given the huge difference in pixel resolution and, perhaps, glass differences in the lenses. Despite the iPad 2’s low resolution, I’m looking forward to using it a lot.

Photo taken using the iPad 2 rear facing camera

Photo taken using the iPhone 4 rear facing camera