I’ve been using the iPhone 6s Plus as my daily driver since it shipped out a few weeks ago and in that time, I’ve been able to snap quite a few pictures. Now, it’s a new device and new devices (flagships in particular) usually always become faster and improved overall in various areas. So I wanted to compare the improved camera of the iPhone 6s Plus against the iPhone 6 Plus camera to see if there really is a significant improvement or an improvement that would really make you seriously want to consider upgrading.
I do wanted to take a look at what’s on paper first. the iPhone 6s Plus features a 12MP camera sensor with 1.22 micron pixels, Live photos, autofocus with focus pixels, OIS, and an f2.2 aperture. The iPhone 6 Plus features an 8MP camera sensor with 1.5 micron pixels, autofocus with focus pixels, OIS, and an f2.2 aperture. There’s of course other subtleties that Apple has included under the text specs section on their website like Burst Mode, Panorama, Tap to Focus, etc. They aren’t very new or really noteworthy in this comparison in my opinion since I want to focus primarily on image quality.
In terms of image quality, here are some sample photos captured from the iPhone 6s Plus and the iPhone 6 Plus. I’m going to be kind of blunt and say that you’re not going to be able to really tell the difference. And I say that because there isn’t a major difference to speak of at all. Yes, we have more megapixels with the iPhone 6s Plus but that has little to nothing to do with the image quality. It will result to a larger resolution image overall, which in theory, will allow you to zoom in or crop an image and retain more detail. But even when I zoom in and compare the two, the differences are very minor. You really have to have a very well-trained eye to spot any major difference.
I think what truly makes a difference in image quality is with the aperture size since both sensors feature an f2.2 aperture. The Depth of Field and low light performance is going to be very similar. I did find it interesting how the 8MP sensor on the iPhone 6 Plus features 1.5 micron meter pixels while the iPhone 6s Plus camera sensor features 1.22 micron meter pixels. In theory, the iPhone 6 Plus should be better at capturing low light images than the iPhone 6s Plus. But when comparing the two in low lit areas, I actually prefer the iPhone 6s Plus for its more natural color tones. But in terms of how well lit a subject is, the difference is—well, there’s really not much of a difference.
Taking a quick look at some video samples where the iPhone 6s Plus pulls away from the iPhone 6 Plus. It features 4K video recording at 30fps and it’s clearly better than the 1080p HD video footage at 60fps capture from the iPhone 6 Plus. This is the one area I can say hands down the iPhone 6s Plus footage is better. I did mention I will focus primarily on image quality so I will skim past this section. But in terms of autofocus, it’s much snappy on the iPhone 6s Plus. I can lock onto a subject very fast in well-lit areas. Well-lit areas give me more trouble. Also, the shutter speed is faster on the iPhone 6s Plus because of its faster internal specs, specifically the Apple A9 processor and 2GB of RAM.
Overall, I understand this is an S model iPhone so it’s not going to be radically different than its predecessor. I feel like Apple kind of just sprinkled in some subtle new features to make us happy with the camera performance and knowing good and well that the iPhone 7 is where they will significantly overhaul the camera.
So is the iPhone 6s Plus camera better than the iPhone 6 Plus camera? No, not really. 4K is nice, sprinkles are nice, but it’s all about that frosting. And these two smartphones more or less are the same flavor. If you disagree, great. Let me know in a comment down below.