A Rear- and Front-Facing Camera Comparison of iPhone 4, 4s and 5

iPhone Front Camera Collage

My iPhone 5 arrived yesterday to much surprised rejoicing. It wasn’t slated to arrive until Thursday, but I wasn’t complaining. After I set up the phone using my iCloud, I did what I always do first: I started messing with the cameras.

I found it incredibly hard not to upgrade and get the 4s when I was eligible this past March. However, we had just purchased our new home and I was being fiscally responsible. My husband upgraded to the 4s just a couple of months ago, and the difference between the camera on the 4 and the 4s made me extremely jealous. But still, I waited.

And I’m greatly pleased.

I’m also pleased that the weather has been rather dull, cloudy and raining for the past two days. Why? Testing the iPhone 5 camera in dimly lit situations really lets me see what this camera is capable of, and how it compares to the older models.

As we all know, the front camera on the iPhone is exponentially crappier than the main, rear-facing camera. I’ve never read a good explanation as to why this happens, but it’s just the truth. A marked improvement can be seen on the front-facing camera if you take it in just the right light, at just the right angle. Trying to take one on a cloudy day? In the shade? Twilight? Inside at night? Good luck! Hope you like lotsa pixels! Any improvement over the grainy, crappy front-facing camera on my 4 was going to make me happy.

But the improvement is quite evident. Since we now have a 4, 4s and iPhone 5 in the house, I thought I would take a photo with each front-facing camera in our dimly lit living room to show a full comparison of the improvements.

iPhone Front Camera Collage
Left to Right: iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, front-facing camera.

These photos were taken in the same place, facing the same direction, all within seconds of each other. As the sun was not out at all on this day, there were no cases of “well, the sun must have come out from behind the clouds to light this one differently.” No inside lights were on or were turned on during these photos.


And so, I’m not sure why the iPhone 4 bursts the brightness and turns everything blue. The iPhone 4s is markedly, beyond words, better than the 4, but there’s a blur, some obviously pixelization and a red tone to the photo. The iPhone 5 photo is crisper and truer to color, though my son is obviously “over it.”

And so I can conclude that the iPhone 5 performs much better in dimly lit situations when it comes to the front-facing camera.

But what about the rear-facing camera?

iPhone Rear Camera Collage
Left to Right: iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, rear-facing camera.

Again, I’m not sure why the iPhone 4 made my son purple, but it sure did. There’s obviously something going on with a boost of the ISO to make up for the low-light that is messing with the white balance. But man, I promise you that he is not turning violet, Violet. Next, there’s obviously a huge difference from the iPhone 4 to the 4s, giving us better colors and a crisper image. Finally, I went with the first shot I took from my iPhone 5 because… well, it’s not perfect. While this image might actually show his true skin tone (oh-so-pale), the image itself is less bright than the 4s. Does that mean the 5 is actually the better, truer image? Probably. But the boost, however orange, in the 4s makes up a bit more for the dim light situation. Of course, the 5 is crisper and of a better quality, so I’ll take the 5, edit it a bit in the Photoshop Express app and call it a day.

Edited in Photoshop Express

I’m deeply pleased with the camera on the iPhone 5, especially since I went from the 4 to the 5 without a stop on the S-train. While other reviews are complaining that the differences between the 4s and the 5 aren’t “big enough,” I haven’t seen one that compares the low-light photos like I have here. Everyone knows that the iPhone can take fine photos in decent lighting. The low-light comparison makes the purchase worth it, in my opinion. There is a change, it is an improvement, and whether or not it’s “worth it” for you to purchase will be up to you.

By the way, my favorite iOs 6 feature is Do Not Disturb. Read why.


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Design Files: Turn a Quilt Hanger Into a Necklace Display

Original Jewelry Hanger

In 2004, one of my husband’s co-workers asked me what I wanted for a wedding gift. Looking back, I can say that my answer provides the only real reason why I believe that people should wait until they’re older to get married. I said I wanted a quilt hanger.

You see, I had no idea what my design style was or would evolve to be, so I registered for things that matched how I thought we “should” decorate our home. I had lived on my own for a little bit, but small apartment living with hand-me-down furniture and starting salary pay left me with no real direction for decorating. I didn’t even really know that green was my favorite color at that time. And so, in 2004, new to Ohio and inundated with all things country, I thought — just maybe — I might get on board with lots of baskets and plaids and stars and reds and blues. I honestly liked the primitive houses on end tables and country decor in other peoples’ houses. I oohed and ahhed. And so, I wanted a quilt hanger.

And we got one.

It was a lovely, Amish-made quilt hanger with stars and reds, blues and tans. It was everything I thought I wanted at the time. The quilt hanger and quilt made the move to our first house, inspiring three tan walls and an accent wall in red. It was all lovely.

I Want to Take a Nap Here... Don't You?

Until I found my style.

My Grandma, my decor inspiration even though we’re quite different in terms of style, calls it contemporary. According to my beloved HGTV, contemporary style has “pieces feature softened and rounded lines as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color, and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form.” Neutrals (grays, browns, tame greens) paired with brights (in your face yellow, bright lime greens, pops of turquoise) abound in our home. I like lines, especially stripes. I feel like this is a good piece of style for me, though I tend to fall on the side of “if I like it, it will find a space in my home.” I’m “eclectic contemporary.” Or perhaps “doesn’t fit labels well contemporary.” Or even “I’m too lazy to pick one particular style contemporary.”

All the same, I ditched the country. I adore it in other peoples’ homes. I really, really do. When I go antiquing, I am jealous of the stuff that country style can pull off, and I love to admire others’ homes that are done so well in this style. Alas, it’s not me.

I took down the quilt, but the quilt hanger, with a handy shelf above the hanger, stayed on our bedroom wall. Empty. For months and months. Until one day, I had a stroke of genius. Pre-Pinterest boom, mind you, as this photo was taken in April of 2011. Yes, Pinterest existed, but prior to this point, I had only created a St. Patrick’s Day board, a food board, and a style board. I wasn’t really into big home decor aspects yet, so this stroke of genius can only be accredited to myself, my love of jewelry (thanks again, Grandma), and a lazy Sunday afternoon that my husband was working.

My quilt hanger became my necklace hanger.

Decided to use out quilt holder for my funky necklaces. Design win.
April 30, 2011

It actually went quite well with the room, pulling out the colors in our lovely bedding (which now resides in our guest room in the new house).

New Bed

When we bought the new house, the quilt hanger turned necklace hanger came along with us and was put in our bedroom once again. But I wasn’t happy with it.

Original Jewelry Hanger

I was happy with the wall colors — Moss Print and Bubble Turquoise by Behr. It felt not… me still. I stared at it for weeks until it hit me: I hated the country oak feel of it. Nothing a little paint can’t fix, right? And so this past weekend, I set to work.

I sanded it.


I primed it, using up the Sherwin Williams primer I used to paint the chair rail and wanna-be wainscoting in our dining room.



I primed it again, because two coats of primer are always better than one.


I painted two coats of the Behr Ultra. And listen, I know it says Primer and Paint in One, and yes, I only had to paint one coat of this type of paint in all of the rooms we used it in — with no primer — when we painted this new house. But furniture pieces are a bit different. Wood grain soaks up paint in a way that drywall doesn’t. Prime your pieces. Paint them well. End of discussion.


I also chose to paint the hanger part the green of our bedroom just to bring the two colors together. The quilt hanger turned necklace display is hung near the corner where these two colors meet, so I thought it would be a good design idea to put the two colors together in this piece.

Turquoise and Green

Since I had the paint out, I also painted a picture frame that was previously red and holds one of our wedding photos.

Frame and Toes

Then I had to wait. And before I show you the final project, let’s look at some of my shiny things.

Necklaces Hanging

From BigBrother

Oh, a Lia Sophia

Target Special

And finally, I am pleased with my quilt hanger turned necklace display.

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

Quilt Hanger Turned Necklace Display

The colors are just so lovely next to one another. It no longer screams “COUNTRY!” Instead, it just says, “Oh hi, I’m a piece of Jenna, made obvious by the color choices and all the shiny.” I like how it turns my jewelry into art. Why should necklaces sit in a jewelry box? They’re art! Let them be art! I am immensely proud of this project, mainly because I had been so scared to paint “real wood” by the vocal minority of “don’t ever paint wood or you’re going to furniture hell” crowd. In short: Painting wood is fun, saves furniture from the landfill, and is a great, inexpensive way to spruce up your home.

Now I understand why my Grandma, who doesn’t really believe in painting furniture but will paint anything else, says, “If you sit still too long, I’ll paint you.”

Beware. I just might. (Because, oh! This is just a small project compared to what I’m tackling — painting — next.)

All About

I sat, book in hand, enjoying the fall breeze through the window. I thought I was going to have a carefree evening while the boys played. Little footsteps interrupted my quiet moment.

“Mommy, we need to bake the cookies!”

I sighed and put down my book. I had forgotten. Thankfully, he had remembered in enough time for us to mix together, refrigerate and bake his favorite cookies. I cursed my forgetfulness, but forced myself off of the couch.

I set out the ingredients, found the bowls and measuring cups. I doubled up on spoons. “What do we need that for?” “Why do we need two bowls?” “How many sugar grams are in these cookies?” “Two kinds of sugar? Mommy, that’s not healthy!” And on and on and on.


He helped, which made the process take longer than it would have otherwise. Soon the dough was in the refrigerator and we began the process of picking the things that he would put in his All About Me bag. Special things, favorite things, things that meant something to him. I vetoed his Leap Pad because I didn’t want it to get broken as he loves it so much and it would be expensive/impossible to replace. (Though, if it was up to me, I’d throw it off the nearest bridge; I had it so badly.)

He ended up with:

  • a soccer ball, because “I like to play soccer.”
  • a book, The Sneetches and Other Stories, because “I like to read and this one is my favorite.”
  • two toys, C3PO and R2D2, because “I got it for my birthday.”
  • a photo of he and his brother, because “I love my brother.”
  • a photo of Callie, because “I’m excited finally to have a dog.”
  • a fire truck, because “I like daddy.”

I ignored the fact that nothing in the bag represents me, the one giving up quiet reading time to teach the child about measuring and how when you mix butter long enough it gets creamy and yummy and how you pat the ball of dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge because it’s easier to work with when it’s cold. I helped him find a bag to put all of his favorite things in; he chose a gift bag with Lightning McQueen. His eyes lit up when we finished up the project.

I helped him into school this morning, his bag bag of stuff and a box of homemade cookies in my hand, his chattering following my footsteps down the stairs to his classroom. I kissed him goodbye and left him to his special day at school, pleased that he was so excited to tell his classmates all about himself.

As I drove to the gym, I thought about the things that weren’t in that bag, other than myself. The things that can’t be placed in a bag, the things that aren’t necessarily things, but are very much him. The way he likes to climb into bed with me when he wakes up in the morning, cuddling close. The way he’ll open the pew Bible during church and find words he knows. How he colors — still — with his right or his left hand. The way he tells jokes about everything, all the time. That twinkle in his eye, his raised eyebrow.


The way he pulls a Stewie on me — “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” — and ends with, “I love you.” All day. Everyday. Or how he pedals his three-wheel tractor as fast as he can to keep up with his brother on his bike. The way he loves — not just me — fully and completely.


He’s so much more than you can stuff into a bag or bake into a cookie — and I am so glad.