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iPhone 3G-S: camera pictures grainy and blurry

9617 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2009 1:03 PM by Aibo82 RSS
Jeff Goldman Calculating status...
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Jul 2, 2009 12:17 AM
Just upgraded to the 3G-S from a first generation iPhone. The first generation's 2 megapixel camera took remarkably good pictures - crisp, clear and great color balance. Unfortunately, I'm having bad luck so far with the the camera on the 3G-S. The images are grainy, unfocused and the colors are very washed out. The unit is new, the lens is clean, and this problem has repeated despite many pictures taken in a variety of light conditions. Anyone else having a similar problem and/or found a solution?
iMac - Intel 2.4gHz/24", Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • benjitek Calculating status...
    It sounds like you're running into similar issues that many reviewers did, however, most of them were overall satisfied with the camera. Might be a good idea to search any major news service for their reviews, and compare your pictures to their samples.
    3GS, iPhone OS 3.0
  • DCGOO Level 3 Level 3 (760 points)
    Have you smudged up the lens? Very easy to do (especially after pizza), and would produce all the effects you mentioned.
    MBP 17, MBP 15, Powerbook G4, iMac 20, 32gig iPhone3Gs, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • doobias123 Calculating status...
    Go to apple store and take a test pic with one of the floor models, then try with yours and compare pics.
    iphone 3g/Macbook
  • Drewsmits Calculating status...
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    Jul 8, 2009 10:21 AM (in response to Jeff Goldman)

    I have the exact same experience! I also upgraded from the original iPhone and have found the camera on the 3GS to be a disappointment. Photo's are grainy, the dynamic range is a lot worse, and the overall sharpness is worse. Given the same lighting conditions in my apartment, photos from the iPhone 1st gen allow me to read text on a poster across the room, but with the 3GS you can hardly even tell it's text. Spot focus doesn't help, I've tried playing with the exposure to give the 3GS an advantage, but no dice.

    The only situation I've found where the camera is an improvement is for macro photos. For stuff closer than a few feet the 3GS is the clear winner, but overall I'm really disappointed with the photo quality compared to the original.

    I'm going to the apple store to compare it to other 3GSs to make sure I didn't get a dud, but I've already compared mine to a coworkers and it was pretty similar. I don't understand why everyone online thinks this camera is such a significant improvement, but my guess is they are just impressed with the tap to focus and macro.

    iPhone 3GS, iPhone OS 3.0
  • Xian Rinpoche Calculating status...
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    Jul 8, 2009 10:54 AM (in response to Jeff Goldman)
    Try taking a photo by releasing the shutter button as opposed to pressing it. by this, I mean press the button and keep your finger on it. Focus on what you want, then release. This will minimize shakiness. If you still get noticeably worse pictures, it could be due to the auto-focus. I confess I've not been impressed by the new camera either...
    3.06GHz iMac (4Gb RAM), Mac OS X (10.5.7), Other : Macbook, Mac Mini (HTS), iPhone 3GS (16Gb), Time Capsule (500Gb)
  • Nina Tovish Calculating status...
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    Jul 10, 2009 9:17 PM (in response to Jeff Goldman)
    I am having a similar experience, and it is VERY disappointing. My 3GS pictures are noisy, grainy, over-saturated, too high in contrast, and softer in focus. I get much better details from my original iPhone, especially in low light.

    Have a look at these two pictures of the same subject:

    The 3GS is much worse.
  • sibeliusDLG Calculating status...
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    Jul 26, 2009 6:12 AM (in response to Nina Tovish)
    I have an iPhone, iPhone 3G, and just purchased an iPhone 3GS. The iPhone and iPhone 3G have the same camera. When I upgraded to the 3GS my 3G went to a family member. Right away I started to notice the same issues with the camera. I took both iPhones (3G/3GS) and took the same shot with results similar to what you've shown. The difference is even greater in low light situations, where the 3GS falls flat (the 3G camera could at least handle low light -- the 3GS can't).

    The focus-touch is neat, but to be honest with you I never really use it much anyway. I miss the old camera. The only nice thing about the new lens is that you can take better close-up photos -- but that does little good unless you have excellent lighting conditions.

    I used to use my iPhone camera all the time. Now I've gone back to my point-n-shoot digital camera for casual photos. Bummer.
    2 x 3 GHz - Quad-Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • tnvnl Calculating status...
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    Jul 26, 2009 7:25 AM (in response to Nina Tovish)
    I actually liked the 3GS much better of the 2 pics, the original seemed very bland... They both looked sharp. Color was much richer on the 3GS.
    Windows XP
  • w7ox Level 4 Level 4 (2,385 points)
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    Jul 26, 2009 7:57 AM (in response to tnvnl)
    Likewise: My 3GS camera does very well, if not doing something silly like shooting into the sun or with inadequate light. I prefer the results to those with my original 2G iPhone.

    But it will never replace one of my dedicated cameras.

    MacBook Al 2.4, Mac OS X (10.5.7), Dell WinXP Desktop ; iPhone 3G[S]
  • hdan Calculating status...
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    Aug 10, 2009 12:42 PM (in response to Jeff Goldman)
    My 3GS camera is clearly superior in image quality over my 2G, however, I am getting a dark spot, the size of a standard pencil eraser in the camera app and on the photos. (Okay, maybe not clearly superior <grin>)

    Anyone else heard of this?

    And yes, I have checked and cleaned the lens to no avail.
    And yes, I have removed the plastic protective covering.
    3GS, iPhone OS 3.0.1
  • Aibo82 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 10, 2009 1:03 PM (in response to hdan)
    Its possibly a blown pixel or pixels on the CCD (charge-coupled device) basically the chip that picks the image up!

    Id say get a replacement or repair asap!
    Iphone 3gs, Core i7 2.66ghz Asus rampage II self build


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