iPhone 3GS Is The Photographer’s iPhone

In case you haven’t heard the news, the best camera is the one that’s with you, like in your pocket right now. For yours truly and anybody else who can part with $200-$300, that will on June 19th be the newly announced iPhone 3GS. Looks like this will be an amazing little tool for those of us interested in taking pictures and shooting video when our dSLR’s are outta reach.

In case you missed it, here’s a brief recap of the hot new photo and video specs for the iPhone 3GS:

- 3 megapixel camera
- low light capture modes
- autofocus
- autoexposure
- OR tap to focus, allowing focus and white balance adjustment on the fly
- auto macro lens (up to 10cm away)


- 30 frames per second VGA video
- auto focus
- auto white balance
- auto exposure

Other handy stuff for us photo/video geeks:

- 16 and 32 GB storage
- faster processor
- cut and paste multiple photos into email, etc
- multimedia messaging (send photos via sms/text)

I dunno about you, but I’m pumped. All that in your pocket – always. LOVE to hear your thoughts. For photos highlighting some of these features, plus some additional snazzy chatter hit ‘Continue Reading’ link below…

Here’s a highlight photo from the WWDC just moments ago of the “tap to focus” selective focus option:

Here’s a demo image of the auto macro setting in effect (to 10cm):

Here’s a demo image highlighting the low light capabilities:

Here’s a demo shot of video mode:

And here’s a shot of video sharing mode:

Hope all that makes things a little sweeter.

If you haven’t seen my iphone photo gallery before, please check it out here. I also post daily iPhone images to my twitter feed (@chasejarvis) and to my Facebook fan page. Love to see your avatar there and/or get any feedback.

Details on the other non-photo iPhone 3GS stuff here on Gizmodo. Big thanks to the Giz for the screengrabs and their play by play, live blogging the announcement.

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Totally agree with the opening line – “The best camera is the one in your pocket”. If I can have a camera that can perform as well a dedicated digital camera then I am more than happy. Added to that you would no longer need to transfer photos to get them onto facebook etc. The iPhone is truly amazing!


Taken from a photographer’s perspective, this new feature of the iPhone 3GS promises a lot of good quality pictures and okay videos. A very compact and innovative alternative for the dSLR (in situations when dSLR is very awkward to use). Practically everybody can use this latest offering from Apple, even our kids can use this based on its user-friendliness. Kudos to our friends from Apple!

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Gamaliel says:

Damn I bought the old iphone (3G) about 2 months ago I did not know about this…!!!! :(

Anonymous says:

3 years ago I got unlocked Nokia N80 with 3MP camera. The phone made awesome images. Now I have Nokia 5800 (touch screen), 3.2 MP with video, GPS, etc. It also support multitasking. Glad the iPhone is catching up to Nokia level at this point… And I did not make a blog about it.

David H. says:

Ohhhhh! And it's an Apple product which makes it and the buyer special. You can tell folks your photo was taken with iphone and get extra oohhs and ahhhs.

If you usually carry a bag of some type, a good Canon G10 or even a simpler P&S; will fit and it would be the camera that you have with you. But if you are gonna get one or if ya gotta have every new Mac product, it just might be the thing.

Hansel says:

I pretty pumped about this phone as well. My wife and I are having our first child in November and the idea of being able to video him/her at any time with our phones is quite amazing. Poor kid will be almost complete digitized from day 1. :)

Anonymous says:

Since I waited for the 3GS for some time now to come out, the upgrades are enough for me to justify getting it, BUT seriously, the bare feature are nothing to get exited about.
Like VGA Video or the 3MP resolution, Apple wake up, it´s 2009!
Some pictures and videos just need quality, so for that spontanious photo that screams for being printed, I still need to carry an extra cam…

Nick Masters says:

They always trickle out features to ensure future upgrades.. great business practice for the bottom line, not so much for the consumer.

Ive been a blackberry guy forever (love full TACTILE keyboard, and the fact that I can, and often do, throw it at things.. people.. or drop it onto the concrete) .. BUT, this may be the version that gets me to make the switch.

Mandy says:

Your iphone images are great, just shows it doesn't matter what camera you use it's the photographer that makes the shot!

When it comes to the iphone I'd love one…Apple just need to bring the price down a little so I can afford it (along with some other Apple products!)

Chris D. says:

are you getting paid for putting the iphone on your blog? It´s really nice to have such a onbody camera, but in my opinion it´s only a toy. These toys come and go, next year there will be a better one, with 10Mpix, and an automated coffe-machine inclusive… Really boring in my opinion. Boys with toys I can see all around in the streets…I don´t need another blog about this.

So please, please write more about PHOTOGRAPHY, incubation, light, shadows, maybe financial & buisness photographic stuff…


As much as I would love to own the 32gb version, my existing AT&T; plan makes the $499 cost an untenable position. It is clear the Apple realized this by issuing the propagandized $299 quote. Come on Apple!

Ronald says:

Not sure if I want to switch carriers to get the 3G S; it's almost double my monthly bill for less talk time. Nice phone though; will definitely be upgrading to 3.0.

Here's a question: has anyone here tried out the iPhone DSLR remote app? I just found it accidentally today. http://www.ononesoftware.com/blog/2009/05/28/iphone-app-dslr-camera-remote-now-available/

Pedro says:

Sorry to insist…

Have you tried an Andriod-based phone?

Man, I own 3 Mac computers and am writing this from my iPod Touch (which, by the way, is the 2nd one I've owned so far).
I dont have an iPhone cause I deeply disagree with the attitude the carrier that brings the iphone has, in the country I live. Apple chose the 2nd most fined company in Europe as a partner here ( Microsoft is the first). And I am trying to stay away from them.
Aparently, ANDROID was developed by GOOGLE some 2 good years ago, and is today a bit ahead of Iphone. The
updates that apple introduced yesterday were included in my phone when I got it, a month ago.

Sony is about to come up with 12 Mpix camera on a phone. It'll most likely be Android-based.

I still wish I had an iPhone, cause it's sexy, slim, easy to use, and produced by an icon. I am definitely not getting a hacked version for €600, and there's no way I am enrolling the 2nd most fined company in Europe.

But honestly, my Android is way way better than I expected. Maybe even better than an iPhone 3G.

I love Apple, and that is a fact.

But Android is giving for free everything iPhone users are all asking for.

Anonymous says:

OMG!!! enough with the iphone! Your entire blog has turned into an iPhone blog!

Chase Jarvis says:

I love the phone. The concept. The everything. I know that other phones have some sweet bells and whistles too. I've played with them. Generally, even considering that, I like the iphone better. The apps. The potential. Just a matter of choice, no biggie.

That said, I do agree that At&t;'s pricing structure seems bunk. I'm not dissuaded but I can see how it would throw some peeps off.

Overall, I'm still smitten.

marioross says:

I'm sure the iphone is a good product, but if you have to pay 40$ every month for 24 month (30 minutes included) and 45 cents a minute for calls the calls are actually more expensive that with a prepay phone that you can purchase for 40 $.
I'm actually thinking if the product is worth the price, i'm sure it is not (in Switzerland).

Guillaume says:

And do not forget the DSLR remote iPhone application to trigger your Canon. Oh yeahhhhh

Ironically enough, I first read this post on my HTC T-Mobile G1. It does everything a current iPhone 3G does and more. We just got a firmware update that now allows us G1 users to take video and a bunch of other new stuff, but my phone always had the capability of 3MP, auto focus, macro, auto exposure and others. The best part is the price tag. The phone did set me back $180, an 8GB microSD was $20 on sale, and the monthly service is only $25 (for unlimited internet use)on top of my normal plan. So for $200 to start and way less than half the monthly rate, I have a phone that does all the iPhone does, and more.

I have nothing against Apple or the iPhone, I just wish people didn't think it was the only one of it's kind and treat it like it's some kind of future technology or something.

CarBlog says:

Looks really promising on paper. Can't wait to see how it does in real. There should be a 5 megapixel Camera in this thought because Nokia is getting a 8meg soon and Samsung and Sony 12 megs.

Chase Jarvis says:

@photo guy: I'll be getting the 32 gig iphone, mostly because of my shooting habits ;)

Gary says:

Don't forget it can act as a DSLR remote too!

I have a 1st gen iPhone and I'm happy to upgrade. It's rare I keep phones for 2 years, but this phone has served me well. I take daily photos of my 2yr old son, and I now I'll be able to take videos.

For those who haven't seen the keynote, it is online.

Anonymous says:

Turning into a gadget blog, chase. More about the art, less about the paintbrushes if you will….

Vaughan says:

3 megapixels?? That is beyond pathetic!

Sherri Innis says:

glad I waited til now to get one ;-)

latoga says:

while the enhanced photo and new video features are nice, the $700 price for upgrading from my current 3G makes it a non-starter. I'd rather skip this hardware rev and wait for the next which I anticipate will have a even better camera & support video in such a way as to video conference over the phone…and who knows what other still photo enhancements.

Maybe if AT&T; supported tethering of the iphone to my MBP, then I would have to reconsider…

aedmonds says:

In regards to a couple of comments on your post:

You can purchase the 3Gs online, I did it today on the Apple website. You can have it delivered to you home or office by the 19th, or pick it up at your nearest Apple Store.

I was able to purchase the 32GB model for $499.00, it's not the $299 that Apple stated today, but it's less than the $699 I've seen everywhere else.

The waiting now begins!

sacgabby says:

i just heard about this new iphone today. sounds really exciting. but i am so annoyed that when i got my iphone for mothers day not even a month ago nobody mentioned that is one was coming out. i definatley would have waited the extra month for the 3GS.

Paul G says:

Moving beyond the specs, let's consider the appeal of "phonetography" (a term I've been pushing to family/friends, and getting some laughs).

Having the camera in your pocket is huge. However, part of the appeal is the low quality images coming out of the phone and the plethora of apps out there for further stylizing/destroying the technical quality of the photographs.

If this turns into just another Canon PowerShot or similar, is the appeal still there? With the apps, yes, but careful — pretty soon these phones will have 10mp and will run through apps that are just as strong as the latest version of Photoshop.

Think MKII, not Polaroid. Forgiving quality in exchange for interesting angles and arty processing is fun, but someday both will be there.

Then what? Consider the expectation … and the possibilities.

I am considering picking up one of the new Iphones. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous says:

Insanity is existing iPhone 3G users paying $699 for the 3G S.

Especially since the lags that I experience all the time in the Camera app are due to memory allocation problems (that require a reboot) rather than slow processor speed.

Lustu says:

I also use a lot my mobile phone for street scenes, but this Iphone offer apps that create fancy image, like you do Chase !
Definitely your pocket camera when you browse the field looking for a good place to shoot. "I take the shoot now, will be back with my stuff at dawn". Can't wait ! Do you think Santa Claus gonna come earlier this year ?

John Classen says:

Chase, just curious what size Iphone you have. I have waited for today to get rid of my crackberry, so here I go! No need for overkill, but a goodly size helps too.

E. Soubiron says:

I am getting one as soon as Verizon Wireless carries it.

Anonymous says:

Chase buddy-

I'm pretty disappointed. The new features are cool but are only software related with the exception of the camera.

I'm not dropping a few hundred bucks for non hardware related updates.

Now if they were to offer a firmware 3.0+ that would include the voice dial, video camera etc for $50 or so I'd be all over that.

it looks like the iphone 3GS upgrade price for existing iPhone 3G users is +$200 for anyone less than 18 months into their AT&T; contract.

So – if you bought an iPhone 3G in the past 18 months, you will pay a premium to get the iPhone 3GS

NOTE – it's $175 to cancel your AT&T; contract (early termination fee). So you'd save $25 by canceling and getting a new contract.

Dave says:

Would be nice to be able to upgrade but being only a recent adopter of Apple equipment, I will be quite happy with the OS 3.0 update. Cut and paste at last ! & horizontal keypad everywhere ! As nice as it would be to have the new camera functionality, so long as you have 'a' camera with it's better than no camera. I have been trying to follow Chase's lead and always try to take as many iphone pics as I can. I recommend it to any aspiring photographer, it really sharpens your eye and helps you to keep the creative juices flowing. Although my wife does think I am a bit nuts tho !

Nos Da

Coinneach says:

I've been waiting for this for months.
Show me the dotted line and I'll sign it now!

Pedro says:

Man, sorry to bring bad news…

My HTC MAGIC, Android-operated (the new mobile phone operating system by GOOGLE), available as far as I know only for Vodafone and only for Europe, does all that (and I mean ALL: photo, video, gps, cut/copy, magnetometer… sorry, no voice-control) since their 2nd upgrade (Cupcake), available sometime last month of May. 3rd upgrade (Donut) expected in the next month…

Oh! And I got the phone for free…!!!

Bad news is we don't get Camera Bag (not yet)


Wayne Mah says:

i've been holding out for over a year for this iphone… and i'm really excited to hear they announced it today.

it's really amazing that the little camera is getting better all the time — and that it's only a small part of what that device can do. incredible!

where do i line up? :)

David Sanger says:

Chase – the product indeed seems a nice add for photographers but AT&T; are killing it with their absolutely ridiculous upgrade pricing :: $700 PLUS a new 2-year contract. Come one, now. Apple will have to free itself from the grips of AT

Anonymous says:

I would love one, but here in NZ they cost over $1000. Almost as much as I paid for my camera! Oh well, one day. Love your photos!

brec says:

phew, got a little gadget heavy this blog…

Anonymous says:

I'm so jazzed about all the new awesome features, but I'm really surprised (and disappointed) that with the new Palm coming out with Flash support that Apple wasn't on that with this phone as well.

I really hope an iPod update is forthcoming.

Michael says:

Rather unimpressed, most of the 'new' features have existed on jailbroken iPhones for the last year.

The auto-focus and auto-white balance may be handy depending on how well they work; but they don't get me excited.

paul.ernest says:

When I bought my 3G I made the decision to hold on to it for 2 years (contract). I knew they would come out with another, but they will announce another next year just like clockwork!

Kris Arruda says:

I really love the new features, despite the fact that all of it should be existing since day one.

I'll buy it as soon as i can!

sirshannon says:

unfortunately, according to TUAW.com, " existing AT&T; customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, the price with a new two-year agreement is $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB) " which means I'll be waiting a while on this upgrade.

I really hope they're wrong.

Mark Harmel says:

Part of me says I don't need it and the other part says since you are teaching an iPhone photo class I should now all the latest tricks. It would also be great to have the compass.

jquig99 says:

I'm really excited – I'm also looking forward to the company who devises an attachment to allow a forward camera-shot as well as the back. I've been taking tons of pictures with my iPhone and often frustrated by many of the issues addressed on the 3GS. Now, if we could only purchase the phone online instead of at the Apple store, it would be perfect!

jr cline says:

I looked at your phone picture site. You're getting some amazing photos with a phone. Cool!

Valdo says:

The IPhone sounds very good on paper.Unfortunately there is no real global support so it is not an option for highly mobile people (meaning people who don't know where are they gonna be before the contract expires). Unlocking Phone kills the warranty!

brandon says:

Well I would love to have the new one, but I just bought the 3G a few months ago, and upgrading isn't feasible.

So yeah, I'm excited. But only in a depressed sort of way.

Christian says:

frankly, i expected more.
if u wanna have a better camera phone (especially compared to the iphone), go get yourself the Samsung Pixon or something like that.
youll pay 300 Euros – unsubsidized, hence without a 50 EUR bill each month

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