In sum, the iPhone 5â€™s cameras are considerably better than the iPhone 4Sâ€™s, having made tangible improvements in situations that both amateur and professional photographers will appreciate. While the iPhone 5 still lacks for an optical zoom lens, itâ€™s not a stretch to say that itâ€™s otherwise such a competent camera that the days of standalone digital cameras and camcorders appear to be numbered.
Camcorders, absolutely. Standalone digital cameras? Looking at the pocketable Sony RX100 point-and-shoot, I’m not so sure.
Update 2012.10.03: Barney Britton and Kelcey Smith, DPReview:
The iPhone 5 is a fine mobile device, with an excellent camera. In qualititative terms it’s not the best camera out there, and nor is it the best camera on a smartphone (the Nokia 808 has that honor, for now) but it offers satisfying image quality, some neat functions like auto panorama and HDR mode, and – crucially – it is supremely easy to use. It isn’t much better than the iPhone 4S, as far as its photographic performance is concerned, but it isn’t any worse (notwithstanding a somewhat more noticeable propensity towards lens flare). When manufacturers employ pixel-binning to achieve higher ISO settings we don’t normally celebrate the fact, but in the case of the iPhone 5, it gives you greater flexibility in poor light (i.e., you might actually get a picture now, where you just wouldn’t with the iPhone 4S) and the drop in quality is unnoticeable when the images are used for sharing/web display.
I didn’t know the iPhone 5 pixel-binned.