Video Quality

At a high level, video recording seems to be mostly similar. Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 continue to rely on EIS for video stabilization, both seem to use somewhat similar optics and sensors, and both can only shoot 1080p video. However, the details are really where we see improvements in the iPhone 6. For starters, the iPhone 6 now has 1080p60 video support, which is definitely helpful for improving spatial resolution and general performance. There's also 720p240 slow motion video, which is an addition to the 720p120 video that we saw in the iPhone 5s.

Video Encode Settings (Approx.)
  iPhone 5s iPhone 6
1080p30 17 Mbps High Profile H.264 17 Mbps High Profile H.264
1080p60 - 27 Mbps High Profile H.264
720p120 27 Mbps High Profile H.264 31 Mbps High Profile H.264
720p240 - 42 Mbps High Profile H.264

As you can see, there's really not a massive difference in encoding bitrate, at least for the standard video record settings. However, even casual examination shows just how big a difference there is when comparing video from the iPhone 5s to video from the iPhone 6.

While the YouTube compression is likely to make it hard to see whether the iPhone 6 really has better video quality, when viewed at full resolution with Quicktime it seems that there is some level of improvement, but this could be due to the smaller field of view that is used when compared to the iPhone 5s. This tighter FOV also seems to be part of the reason why the stabilization is more effective than before. At various points in the video, it's quite obvious that the iPhone 6 is also benefiting greatly from PDAF as we see seamless transitions throughout the video and consistently better focus while the iPhone 5s is locked from the start and would require multiple taps to refocus the video.

1080p60 brings significant improvements to temporal quality, as capturing fast motion is noticeably more fluid when compared to 1080p30. Video stabilization is also retained, which makes 1080p60 an easy choice when capturing fast-moving objects.

As with the iPhone 5s, the original video on NAND is saved to play back at either 120 or 240 fps, but on the phone and when uploaded to social media the slow motion versions play back certain parts at 30 fps. As far as I can tell, there's relatively little difference in the image quality between the two modes, but this advantage is unlikely to hold when in lower light situations as the frame rate inherently caps the exposure time.

Camera: Still Image Performance Audio Quality
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  • elajt_1 - Friday, October 03, 2014 - link

    (@melgross) And to call you one would be an insult to an idiot.
    Apart from the rage, I think it was he made some valid points.
    Reply
  • Jimrod - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    You mad bro? Reply
  • rational_wannabe - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    You have serious issues. So it's OK for Samsung to sell their plastic crap for the same amount of money? Nice way of rationalizing things... Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Yeah it's OK since there is nothing wrong with plastic. It absorbs shock, is light and do not block wireless signal. Perfect material for a phone. It is also durable enough. How many people replace their phone because the plastic is cracked? Not much. People replace their phone either because the screen is broken, it was damaged by liquid or simply because it is too slow/old.

    Apple has been selling phones which are cheaper to produce for years at the same price (or higher) than the competition. Smaller phones tend to be cheaper, because the display is cheaper, the battery is cheaper, and the rest cost the same. So even by using plastic, Samsung phones cost more to produce so I fail to see how they can be labeled as "cheap".
    Reply
  • blackcrayon - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Apple is spending far more in developing the phone in other areas though. Writing the OS, designing custom SoCs, etc. Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Designing custom SoCs is an investment. It isn't supposed to raise the cost of the phone.
    Samsung also design some of its own SoCs and even manufacture them.

    The OS is debatable. But from a hardware perspective Samsung phones (at least the high end ones) are definitely not cheap, even if they use plastic.
    Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    R&D should affect the cost of the product? That's not how it works . . . Reply
  • Parhel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Ugh.. meant to say R&D "shouldn't". To state it plainly, R&D may be an investment, but it's still an expense. The cost needs to be recouped, and they make money by selling phones, so . . . you do the math. Reply
  • danbob999 - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Of course they have to make money. But spending more in software development, R&D or marketing doesn't make their phone any less "cheap". I was replying to someone saying that Samsung phones were "cheap" because they were in plastic. The fact is that Samsung phones tend to be more expensive than iPhones to make, because the cost of the components is higher, despite any savings made by using a plastic shell. Reply
  • akdj - Friday, October 03, 2014 - link

    Only BECAUSE it takes my Note3 twice the cores, at twice the clock speed with three times the amount RAM to FINALLY close the gap on performance. Almost. My 5s is still quicker playing Asphalt8, manipulating photos, even rendering VIDEO! Most likely the latter because of the extreme lack of interet in the development community (other than game ports) to 'build out' apps and software. And that sucks! I love my Note 3--- coming from the original its a massive upgrade. That said, Samsung is using stock, off the shelf SoCs ....indeed 'produced' by them as they've got the capabilities to cook bake and roll out silicon BUT they've chosen to increase horsepower, drop the gearing ratios and add a stage III nirrous kit 'built' and low level programmed with basic ARM instructions and a radical slather of Peanut Butter JavaScript to wade through just for TouchWiz. By the time you open an app, you're at 85-90% RAM usage. I've got a N3. I like it and I'm not getting rid of it. It serves it's purpose for our business perfectly. But AS a business owner and one that relies on creative talent to make it 'work' I find your comment very VERY ill informed and 'ignorant' ...no to be a dick. But yes, R&D is definitely a percentage figured into the equation with BOM. As well, the software development, A8 & the second generation 64bit processor with a faster GPU, more efficient memory managment with the SoC 4mb buffer and iOS 8 itself are expenses. Paid to a LOT of talent! For crying out loud, they developed a new CODE! And a spectacular one at that! Free lessons are everywhere and if you're experienced, have a macbook laying around, download the latest XCode and you'll have Swift down in a weekend. Not to mentioned the low level 'Metal' instruction set to eliminate the OpGL ES overhead ...allowing developers 'direct' (hence, 'Metal') access to the GPU ...if you're at all curious on how incredible this development most consumers will NEVER know about ...check out Unreal 4's site, the UR4 engine and what they've done with Metal. You can download their patio presentation frim WWDC in the app store. It's absolutley amazing. Samsung's phones are spendy because they're licensing Wacom, using active digitizers few are able use (until this evolution, three's a charm I guess), massive batteries, a horrid looking bezel that's rigid for sure, but then again, this is the first I've seen people, on purposes bending phones, and that's not a real life issue or even concern. I shared earlier, somehow my nine year old son has managed to keep his iPod touch fifth gen in perfect non bent and scratch free condition. Two years. Lotsa boogers and bumps but no dents, no dings, scratches or 'display marks' without screen protection. Guesses can be made in physical pieces. Even how long (labor pricing) to produce a single unit. But development of actual silicon, low level optimization to your non fragmented operating system, 64bit technology 24 months ahead of the industry and obvious benefits from the 20nm A8. iOS 8 (and its counterpart more than ever, OS X 10.10) and its ability to aggregate our information across devices, handoff calls, emails, texts or whatever the hell you're doing on your iPad ....get distracted, fall out and when you turn your iMac or MBP on, there's the email you were working on. Ready for you to finish. The web page you were reading or the movie your were watching ...vice versa too. Start on your computer a doc, and open your iPhone, there'll be a small 'doc' icon signifying you're working on something and you're able to finish it here! Forget the phone downstairs, your in bed reading before sleep, phone rings...no worries. Answer it on your iPad. AirDrop between laptop, tablet and phone, MacPro and ipad....iPhone to your iMac, slick n quick.

    Of course, then there's the whole 'build quality' argument. Where designers, reviewers, and the public ALL Seem to agree. The iPhone SNOKES Samsung's BQ. Period. They're like jewelry, true and real 'art'. Each phone has been an engineering marvel. Samsung? Are you kidding me? Other than their goofy, curvy, earthy S3 baby blue tangent, their 'rectangle' phone lacks ANY design fundamentals much less achievements.
    When you sell as MANY pieces as Apple does, costs come down. For the 'pieces'. But the machining process (2 year cycle) is entirely changed. Fusion welding and sapphire 'plants', robotics and laser/chamfered edging with incredible attention to detail are just a couple of the hundreds of THOUSANDS of re-tooling the facilities for the latest 'build'. And after a couple of hours today with the 6 & 6+ as we anxiously await ours, with an open mind (& as an ambidextrous user of Android and iOS Windows and OS X) --- NOTHING on the Internet does justice to the phone itself. It's. Absolutely. AMAZING!
    Reply

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