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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  • thrasher32 - Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - link

    That must be some really good crack there chief Reply
  • GerryS - Wednesday, October 01, 2014 - link

    Absolutely. If it can't be built into the price of the product, there's no incentive to innovate, at all. Reply
  • perpetualdark - Friday, October 03, 2014 - link

    Not true, you innovate to stay in the game, not to increase your price point. Part of the "innovation" of the android flagships has been their ability to increase technology, form, and function while reducing or maintaining costs. Both the M8 and the S5 were selling for $99 on contract within a month of launch (by Verizon). Apple might have sold a lot of phones in this launch, but that was mostly due to the fact that there hasn't been an "innovation" in several years, and very little reason to buy an Apple product for at least 2 generations. Just keep watching to see how sales hold up after the initial storm is passed. In a few months when you can buy an S5 or M8 for $99 on contract, or an iPhone for $299, which do you think will sell better? And in 6 months, both companies will have the next gen of flagship out, with superior specs across the board and will launch at the same price as Apple, because the iphone 6 will STILL be $299. Reply
  • bigstrudel - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    Samsung uses Off-the-shelf SoC's for every flagship device outside of Korea. Nothing impressive about that. Reply
  • techconc - Thursday, October 02, 2014 - link

    @danbob999 - Samsung's SoC designs are basically equivalent to Apple's early A4 and A5 work. They essentially just use off the shelf reference designs and put them together to meet their own specifications. Yes, there is some work involved with doing that, but to date, this hasn't been a competitive advantage for Samsung like it has for Apple. In fact, Samsung ends up using Qualcomm chips for a very large percentage for their devices. Likewise, putting them in the same league as what Apple, Qualcomm or even nVidia is doing isn't quite right. They're not in the same league design wise.
    Samsung attempts to add layers of customization (Touchwiz, etc.) on top of Android, but it just feels like a clumsy layer on top and ends up dropping performance and resources for the device overall. Such customizations are no substitute for writing your own OS and controlling the entire technology stack. That's why a Samsung phone will always feel clumsy as compared to an iPhone. Samsung would have to to the Tizen route to attempt to compete on that level.
    Reply
  • Chaser - Wednesday, October 01, 2014 - link

    Now this is amusing. The OS hasn't changed since it launch except for, wait for it: pull down notifications! Amazing. But seriously its the same floating blobs that sit in rows on a screen. Designed for teenagers and grandparents in mind. Reply
  • techconc - Thursday, October 02, 2014 - link

    @Chaser - Thanks for sharing your ...wait for it... ignorance on OS design and what's actually changed over the years. It should suffice to say that you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Reply
  • shm224 - Thursday, October 02, 2014 - link

    @techconc : Sure, would you mind giving us some examples of such "changes" in iOS? Reply
  • techconc - Monday, October 06, 2014 - link

    @shm224 - LOL! Not interested in doing a commercial for Apple and the listing surely wouldn't fit in a forum post. Google is your friend... If you're really interested, you can start with something like the Wikipedia entry for iOS and of course consult the release notes for each iOS release on Apple's developer site. Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, October 02, 2014 - link

    What? It gained an app store, popup notifications, printing, multitasking, search, pull down notifications, pull up settings, folders, multiple homescreens, enhanced notifications (reply, dismiss, widgets), and file sharing. Reply

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