The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

By Michael Hession on at

When Apple announced a surprise update to the iPod Touch last week, many sought to revisit the appeal of the device in a smartphone-saturated world. One major benefit of the updated iPod Touch is the improved camera. We did some tests to see if the latest iPod matches the camera quality of the latest iPhone.

Last year’s iPod Touch sported a 5 megapixel camera, which was updated this year to 8 megapixels—same as the iPhone 6 has. But as we know, the same megapixel count does not equate to the same image quality.

It was clear from the very first images I looked at that there is a difference in quality between the new iPod and the iPhone 6. The iPhone simply has slightly more detail and slightly punchier colour. Check it out:

iPod Touch (2015):

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

iPhone 6:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Side-by-side detail:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Sometimes the difference is quite noticeable when you look closely, like here:

iPod Touch (2015):

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

iPhone 6:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Side-by-side detail:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Sometimes it’s barely noticeable at all, like here:

iPod Touch (2015):

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

iPhone 6:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Side-by-side detail:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

The difference isn’t huge, but it’s there. It reminds me of the difference I saw when upgrading to iPhone 6 from an iPhone 5s. So I decided to quickly test the iPod Touch against a friend’s iPhone 5s.

iPod Touch (2015):

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

iPhone 5s:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Side-by-side detail:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

The two look extremely similar. It’s odd, because Apple explicitly states that the camera in the new iPod Touch is an updated one. It seems clear that it has not been updated quite to match the iPhone 6.

One interesting thing to note is that even though the iPhone 6 produces sharper detail in good light, I always preferred the way the previous generation of iPhone camera handled noise in dark situations. Less noise reduction is applied, which makes for more organic looking images. You get a courser grainy look, but it doesn’t look all smudgy like some pictures with the iPhone 6 can look. However, the iPhone 6 is a bit brighter overall.

iPod Touch (2015):

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

iPhone 6:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

Side-by-side detail:

The Updated Camera on the iPod Touch Falls Short of iPhone 6 Quality

That difference is also slight, and personal preference plays a part in which is ‘better.’ But overall, I would not hesitate to state that the iPhone has a better performing

So if you’re all amped on the updated iPod Touch, keep in mind that even though you’ll see the same resolution as Apple’s flagship phones, you won’t necessarily see the same level of image quality.