iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2: Camera comparisons

We tested the updated camera in the iPad Air 2, and compared it to identical shots by the iPad Air 1. Here are the results

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  • iPad Air 2 camera specs 1000 Camera tests
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 1 Studio lighting
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 1 Air 1: shot 1
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 1 Air 2: shot 1
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 2 Standard daylight
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 2 Air 1: shot 2
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 2 Air 2: shot 2
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 3 Advanced daylight
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 3 Air 1: shot 3
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 3 Air 2: shot 3
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 4 Low light
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 5 Air 1: shot 4
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 5 Air 2: shot 4
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 6 Faces
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 4 Air 1: shot 5
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 4 Air 2: shot 5
  • iPad Air 1 and 2 comparison 5 Foliage/high detail
  • iPad Air 1 test shot 7 cropped Air 1: shot 6
  • iPad Air 2 test shot 7 cropped Air 2: shot 6
  • More stories
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iPad Air 1 and 2: Camera comparison tests

The iPad Air 2 features, among other enhancements, a higher-resolution camera - this component has been boosted to 8 megapixels, compared to 5Mp in the iPad Air 1. But does this spec improvement translate into noticeably better photos in real-world shooting?

To find out, we took the iPad Air 1 and iPad Air 2 out and about (risking public mockery and/or mugging) to test their cameras in a variety of conditions. In this slideshow we present comparisons of zoomed-in elements of the shots, to illustrate the differences in the level of detail each tablet is able to capture, as well as the original shots for further comparisons.

See also: iPad buying guide 2015

Best iPad games | Best free iPad games | Best iPad apps | Best free iPad apps

Next »

Next Prev iPad Air 2 camera specs 1000

The iPad Air 2 features, among other enhancements, a higher-resolution camera - this component has been boosted to 8 megapixels, compared to 5Mp in the iPad Air 1. But does this spec improvement translate into noticeably better photos in real-world shooting?

To find out, we took the iPad Air 1 and iPad Air 2 out and about (risking public mockery and/or mugging) to test their cameras in a variety of conditions. In this slideshow we present comparisons of zoomed-in elements of the shots, to illustrate the differences in the level of detail each tablet is able to capture, as well as the original shots for further comparisons.

See also: iPad buying guide 2015

Best iPad games | Best free iPad games | Best iPad apps | Best free iPad apps

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Studio lighting

We took these shots in the Macworld photography studio, under studio lighting and generally excellent conditions. The iPad Air 2 captures noticeably more detail - check out the greater pixellation around the robot's eye on the lefthand shot.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Studio lighting

Here's the full studio lighting test shot taken by the iPad Air 1. Click to see it at a larger size.

 

iPad Air 2 camera test: Studio lighting

And here's the full studio lighting test shot taken by the iPad Air 2.

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Standard daylight

The iPad Air 2's camera doesn't always make good on its theoretical superiority over the iPad Air 1 - in these shots of St Pancras Station, taken outdoors in decent daylight conditions, it's tough to tell the two apart.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Standard daylight

Here's the full outdoor daylight test shot taken by the iPad Air 1. Click to see it at a larger size.

 

iPad Air 2 camera test: Standard daylight

And here's the full outdoor daylight test shot taken by the iPad Air 2.

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Advanced daylight

We deliberately set up an awkward shot here - an office block against a bright but cloudy sky, creating complex lighting conditions and a silhouette subject - to see how the iPads would cope.

As in the previous standard daylight shot, the two iPads proved too close to call.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Advanced daylight

Here's the complete advanced daylight test shot, as performed by the iPad Air 1. Click to see it at a larger size.

 

iPad Air 2 camera test: Advanced daylight

And here's the iPad Air 2's effort.

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Low light

In very low-light conditions the iPad Air 2 again shows clearly superior performance. Neither shot is anything to write home about (bear in mind that the iPad Air 2 still doesn't come with a flash) but the newer model's camera produces less noise.

As in other comparison illustrations, we've zoomed into both pictures and placed them alongside each other. Actual, full-size shots will show less obvious pixellation and noise at standard zoom.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Low light

Here's the full shot taken by the iPad Air 1 in very low-light conditions.

 

iPad Air 2 camera test: Low light

...and the iPad Air 2's take on the same shot.

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Faces

Both the iPad Airs are able to handle skintones well. In our test photos of the editor-in-chief's boat race it was tough to tell the iPad Air 1 and iPad Air 2 apart - if anything, the Air 2's shot seems fractionally more blurred, but we're pretty sure this is just down to experimental inaccuracy (ie the photorapher's shaky hands).

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Faces

Here's the full face test shot taken by the iPad Air 1.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Faces

And here's the face test shot taken by the iPad Air 2.

 

iPad Air 1 vs iPad Air 2 camera test: Foliage/high detail

Finally, we took this daylight, high-detail shot of a tree. (This is a zoomed-in detail of the full shot, although in this case we've zoomed in less extremely than before.)

The cameras on both iPad Airs handle the shot effectively; there's little to choose between them.

 

iPad Air 1 camera test: Foliage

Here's a larger version of the foliage test shot taken by the iPad Air 1. (It's still cropped in a little, since the full-size shots were too large for us to use online.)

 

iPad Air 2 camera test: Foliage

And here's the cropped-in version of the iPad Air 2's foliage test shot.

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