February 6th 2014
By Mike Flaminio
Molly Wood for the NYT:
The iPhone 5S has just a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front. In general, iPhone cameras are known for having relatively low megapixels but good sensor and optics technology. The iPhone's rear camera, for example, is one of the best smartphone cameras available, and is easily capable of replacing a snapshot camera entirely.
The iPhone 5S was the surprising disappointment of the bunch. Its focus was inconsistent, colors tended to appear washed out, and its lens produced the most distortion of the bunch (once again: My nose does not look like that in real life).
Apple calls its front-facing camera the FaceTime cam for a reason. The primary feature is video chat and Apple promotes it as much. Video is going to be compressed and image quality isn't exactly going to translate. To me at least, Wood is known for these fluff pieces and the iPhone's front camera isn't that bad for photos. Still, the iPhone's front camera could stand to get a little better because people do use it to capture memories.
FWIW, of the cameras tested Wood found the HTC One to take the best front-facing photos (I'm not calling them selfies).