iPhone 4 field of view

If you’ve upgraded from a previous iPhone to the iPhone 4, in addition to the many new features and updates of the new camera, you may have noticed a slightly larger field of view (FOV) with the iPhone 4. This means the iPhone 4 is capable of wide angle shots that are just a little bit, well… wider.

We compare the old and the new FOV on the iPhone camera after the jump. >>>

In photography, the field of view is what’s visible through the viewfinder, and in the case of the iPhone all you see in the viewfinder is what your photo will look like and how it will be cropped.

This is because of the specs of the new camera in the iPhone 4. The focal length of the previous iPhones is 3.85mm, which is the equivalent to 37.0mm lens on a 35mm film camera. While the iPhone 4 still has a focal length of 3.85mm, the field of view is slightly wider and is closer to a 30mm lens on a 35mm film camera. It’s like getting a new wide-angle lens for your camera.

The image above was taken from the same perspective at the same time. It compares the two FOV and overlays an outline on the 4G image showing the approximate crop of an image from an older iPhone.

I welcome the wider FOV. There have been times when I’ve had to stitch together images because because I was up against a wall and I wanted just a slightly bigger frame from my old iPhone. The iPhone 4’s camera is good enough that using the new digital zoom to crop in a little bit won’t effect the quality and sharpness of your image much. There’s also a lot of pixels in the 4’s 5MP images — cropping your photo in won’t hurt it much either.

The iPhone 4’s wider field of view is one of the new, little-known benefits of the new camera. To me, the crop feels more like an old 35mm SLR than my previous iPhone. It certainly feels more open. Happy shooting!



UPDATED 07/20/10: Changed 35mm SLR focal length equivalent from 28mm as reported by Ars Technica to a more conservative 30mm focal length equivalent reported by other photographic websites.