A Photographer’s Request From Apple For the Next iPod’s Camera

There have forever been rumors of the next Apple iPod touch having a camera—and a good one at that! In my recent review of the Apple iPhone 4’s camera, it was concluded that for a cameraphone, the performance was really quite good. Further, the high ISO abilities were better than some compact cameras thanks to the new back-lit CMOS sensor. Despite all this, there were still some major flaws. Here’s a list from a photographer on what the next iPod Touch should have.

Intelligent Resolution

Apple would be smart to talk to Panasonic about this feature on their Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 and therefore Leica V-LUX 20.

In digital zoom, like the one that Apple currently uses, one usually sees lots of jagged lines and lots of detail missing. Somehow or another, the processing in Intelligent Resolution fixes this all. When seeing it, I thought that perhaps it will just add image noise to get the areas more detailed. However, this isn’t what it does at all.

It digitally corrects almost any error that you may find. It’s really quite fascinating and for consumer uses I’ll take it. I’m not too confident yet about it for professional uses as I need to see it in action more and I did see pre-production models.

This will be great for those that would actually like to make prints from their iPod photos. Though I’m confident that such a situation would be rare.

Intelligent Zoom

This is also a Panasonic feature that I’ve seen in many other cameras as other companies have realized the potential of the technology.

The Intelligent Zoom feature uses the intelligent resolution feature to give the cameras a bit of a boost in zoom without loosing image quality through digital means. It’s essentially a special type of digital zoom. I’ve seen prints with Intelligent Zoom and for the consumer market, I approve of this feature.

Yes, I never thought I would say that either about digital zoom. It would be a much better implementation on a thin device like an iPod Touch.

Faster/Sharper lens from Leica or Zeiss

The iPhone 4’s camera currently has an F 2.4 lens on it. That is really great because it lets in lots of light for the sensor to soak up. However, the lens could be sharper to make the photos really pop.

Steve Jobs said that the iPhone 4 is almost like an old Leica camera in that it is such a beautiful device. Perhaps approaching the legendary lens/camera maker could prove to be even better for the company?

Leica, in theory, could develop a much faster aperture lens for the iPod Touch with little problems like vignetting. The cost to do this would make Apple drive the price of the device up, but people would surely pay for it.

5MP Resolution

The current 5MP resolution on the camera is more than adequate enough for most users. There is no need to dump loads of megapixels onto a sensor that small. The file sizes from the iPhone 4 are large enough from a camera phone and are nearly equivalent to that of point-and-shoot cameras.

For what it’s worth, anyone would rather take a very good 5MP resolution photo than a horrid 12MP photo that is plagued with noise and artifacts.

Better Manual Focus and Controls

As stated in my review, I really wish that there were more manual control options available for the iPhone’s camera. Hopefully, the iPod Touch will allow for manual controls like shutter speed or aperture.

If these don’t make sense (like aperture because the sensor is so small) then at least better manual focusing as opposed to the tap-to-focus option would be nice. A great example of this is how Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and Olympus PEN E-P2 focus when in manual mode—they digitally zoom into the area selected to be focused on and allow the photographer to achieve extremely sharply and accurately focused photos.

More Art Filters

This is where Apple could take some pointers from Olympus. Olympus appears to be the king of Art Filters right now. Perhaps talking to them about some of their options like Cross-process or Diorama would help iPod Touch users express their creativity much more.

Digital Image Stabilization

This is a given. As stated in my review, this was my main peeve with the camera. Apple got the focusing right for the most part—but what is it without image stabilization? There is no image stabilization whatsoever in the iPhone 4. Not even digital! That perplexed me; Apple said how great the camera is. For the most part, they’re right about that for a phone camera but then Apple went and didn’t include something that is so important to taking pictures these days.

Even my T-Mobile G1 (the first Android phone) has image stabilization.

Perhaps they could remedy this with the iPod Touch’s camera?

Native RAW Viewing/Editing Support

I can’t think of a photographer in the world that wouldn’t buy this device if it offered native RAW Viewing/Editing Support.

Nuff said on that.

What would you like to see in the new iPod Touch’s camera?

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.