iPod touch Camera vs iPhone 4 Camera – Sample Photo / Still Image Test

After publishing my iPhone 4 vs iPod touch video test, I decided to take the still photo capabilities of each device for a spin. The differences were astonishing.

Despite comparing favorably to one another in the 720p video test, the same lenses produced substantially disparate still images – and I can’t say that I was anything but disappointed with the iPod touch 4th generation’s photo quality.

  • The iPhone 4’s photos, much like its videos, came out far more crisp. Even with ample light (outdoors or indoors) and proper focusing techniques, I could not produce a sharp image with the iPod touch.
  • The iPod touch is only capable of capturing 960×720 still images – inexplicably lower than its 1280×720 video resolution!
  • There is no flash on the iPod touch 4th generation devices.
  • The default camera app on the iPod touch 4th gen does not have an HDR feature.

Here are my original, untouched image samples (obviously, NOT at their native resolution). You’ll want to click through each one of the thumbnails to see the striking differences.

iPhone 4 – sharper digital zoom

iPod touch 4 – muddy with digital zooming

iPhone 4 – still photos have good field of view

iPod touch 4 – lacks sharpness

iPhone 4 – uneven white balance

iPod touch 4 – equally-as-uneven white balance

iPhone 4 – heavy details

iPod touch 4 – devoid of any detail

iPhone 4 – A little oversaturated, blue

iPod touch 4 – fairer image quality

Bottom line: if you’re going to buy an iPod touch for its camera, only plan on using it to record videos – not still photography. The iPhone 4 is still quite usable for either still photography or video.

22 thoughts on “iPod touch Camera vs iPhone 4 Camera – Sample Photo / Still Image Test”

  1. You know Chris, this is indicative of my issue with Apple as a whole. They want you to buy an iPhone, plain and simple, but I flat out refuse, I don’t need a new phone or a bill. I don’t mind Apple products but their outright disdain for consumers never ceases to amaze me. Granted the ipod touch is a decent enough device, but why do they constantly cripple it? Shoddy things like the difference in the way some features work inexplicably, why some apps just don’t even show up when I look for them because I guess its iphone only, but then most sites register my device as an ‘iPhone’ so what’s with that? And so I continue to wait on Google or Microsoft to develop a similar but not crippled device. Why isn’t gps in the device? I mean really? I can get a throwaway phone with gps location in it but Apple purposely goes out of their way to remove features. I’m stymied, but it is their choice and the choice to buy and bend over and take it is left to the consumer. I bought my touch for the browser and the wifi, I rarely listen to music but I rip video and audio and listen to podcasts. A lot of times I have to find workarounds, but until they decide that hey, we make a lot of money on those Touch users that try to support us yet we don’t market to them, cuz you know what, screw them for buying the device that actually sort of fits their needs and they didn’t buy our more expensive device that has a contractual obligation, I’ll keep waiting for the competition or for them to get their heads out of their pompous backsides.

    But during your tests can you tell me if any of the augmented reality apps work? That at least, might persuade me to deal with the shoddy camera. You sure it wasn’t just that iPod Touchs’ camera might be defective? Anyway, thanks for the testing.

  2. @Zhirow: I checked the specs on both devices; the Touch does indeed capture 1280×720 video and 960×720 still images. Unbelievable — that’s not even 2 megapixels! I wrote Apple a nasty letter.

  3. I’m going to get an iPod Touch 4 christmas.Im 12 years old. I gonna get the ipod touch 4G!! WHOOO! My friend has the Shuffle.(Sooo lame!)hahahahahahaha!

  4. @ Zhirow …your ignorance amazes me. No GPS? of course not…It has no network service. It’s only wifi genius, for gps to work you need a constant connection.

  5. @prescott why do you need a a network service to use a gps? garmin and timtoms dont work on the network, they use a gps chip which detects the signals from the satellites and every 6 months the consumer or user is asked to update his maps and software at the dealership. no doubt the iphone has the ability to connect to a network and update the maps by itself but why would you need that unless you’re an explorer?! hence, apple is fu*king around!
    dont be so quick to shout out “ignorance”, it always back-fires ;)
    peace out!

  6. i just bought my first ipod, it’s the ipod touch.
    I have to agree, i’m very disappointed. For the amount of money i spent it delivers extremely poor value.

  7. While the reason why Apple chose to use a substandard camera part in its iPod Touch 4G is inexplicable, the idea that it doesn’t include GPS is actually quite understandable, if you understand a few things about how GPS works on cellphone-sized devices (I’m an antenna engineer).

    A standalone GPS unit has an optimized antenna that is large, which greatly aids both accuracy and initial location fix time. A cellphone-sized device like an iPhone or iPod Touch, however, uses a relatively small antenna for its GPS reception. This can work, but it must be assisted by the network for its initial position fix (unless you really wanted to sit around for 15 minutes while the unit works out your position by itself).

    This is why nearly all cellphone-sized units which feature GPS actually use A-GPS (assisted GPS) to help out the position accuracy. This is also the reason why an iPod Touch 4G doesn’t have a GPS feature, since it doesn’t have access to a nearly ubiquitous network to guarantee location. Still, you can use Wifi triangulation like the first iPhone.

  8. LOL ! Just Stupid people believe this comparison ! You can easily understand the pictures of ipod are FAKE ! FUCK YOU!

  9. I agree wit this observations. What it prompted me to make this comparison is the HDR feature in the iPhone camera, which is not existent in the iPod 4g. There alone sets these two cameras apart.

  10. You may nit be in agreement, and that is fine. I have BOTH devices and I can compare the side by side. You like it or not, it is true.

    Now, comparison aside learn to desagree without the hard language!

  11. Wow…these are kinda obviously FAKE! I take pics w/ the iTouch and it comes out fine 

  12. I came across your post while searching for a fix for the itouch camera.  It is true, my video is fine, my photos are awful.  I am amazed when I see the photos that my friends have taken with their iphones, much, much better quality than my touch.  It seems like it is their prerogative to handicap features but I wish they hadn’t promoted the camera quality in their advertising.

  13. You do realize the iPod is a $200 device while the iPhone (without a contract) is over $600?

    A comparison between the two is silly, at their actual price points.

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