The iPhone 5 camera seems fairly similar to its predecessor, at least to someone who isn't an expert in photography. However, there are a few new features. First of all, photos snap a lot quicker, which is nice for taking photos of things seen from a moving vehicle.
Note: don't be a distracted driver! Have the passenger take the photos.
There's also a HDR feature - which existed in the iPhone 4 also, and allows for brighter colors and a more even exposure. It can also lead to 'fake' looking photos with exaggerated color.. But, in the case of Vermont fall foliage, the colors are always vastly more vivid than I'm able to capture in a photo, and the HDR gives a somewhat better representation of that.
This was an HDR photo - note the vivid colors but also the 'ghost' trees on the horizon.
The HDR can cause weird photo 'artifacts' when photographing fast-moving objects, because it really takes a compilation of several photos.
Perhaps the funnest new feature is the panorama feature which allows the creation of a 180 degree panorama (vertical or horizontal) without using an external app. It works great. Click on the photo below for a larger view of a foot, horse, and snowmobile bridge across the Moose River:
This bridge is at the point where the river flows out of the Victory Basin.
Looking downstream, the river is a typical beautiful Vermont river, with riffles and pools:
Looking upstream, the alder swamps and black cherry floodplain woodlands are visible in the distance:
The maples are vividly red, especially the well-named red maples, and the birch are a striking shade of yellow.
Some may disagree but I find that a drizzly, dark day like today really brings out hte fall foliage. Though, to be fair, the sun through the yellow birch leaves is also amazing. The beech trees are still green.
Oh yeah.. I almost forgot about the iPhone. In short, people who are very into the art of photography will not want to use the iPhone as their primary camera, but for people like me more interested in easily being able to take photos for outreach or science, it works great.
For more fall foliage photos click here. I'll be updating this as the season goes on.
Oh yes, one other thing... it's advisable to avoid using the iPhone 5 maps for directions in rural areas. Vermont isn't as hazardous as the desert, except in a blizzard perhaps, but if you want to explore the backroads of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, where the foliage is near peak right now, bring a paper map and better yet enquire locally at any store or info center. People love sharing their favorite roads and places. Even more so in the winter... iPhone maps and even Google Maps often don't 'know' that many roads are closed in the winter or require 4*4 (or a snowmobile).