645 PRO Image Quality—How Good?

This page sponsored by MobiTog.com—the iPhoneography Community

Our new app, 645 PRO, delivers different output options compares to most iPhone camera apps, including “developed RAW”—dRAW—TIFFs. But what difference—if any—does this make to the images you end up processing?

Chris Poole, a professional photographer from Tennessee, decided to find out, and published his conclusions on the discussion board of the hugely-popular iPhoneography blog.

Not only that, he also uploaded his test images to box.com so that you can make your own mind up. Look at the images and use the supplied tools to zoom in to very high levels of magnification.

Personally, I think the results are quite significant. With Chris’s permission, here are some highly-cropped and then enlarged (300%) portions of his test images taken with 645 PRO (dRAW TIFF) and the standard iPhone 4S Camera.app. Note that Chris took the shots in low light to push the small iPhone image sensor and Apple’s native “development” process to their limits and thus magnify any weaknesses.

Here’s the 645 PRO output:

There’s definite noise from the sensor (which is to be expected from a small sensor working in low light), but it’s really not bad. Compare it with the output from the standard camera:

The artefacts introduced by JPEG compression are clear. And the information that has been changed during that compression process can never be recovered.

We’re well aware that for most people, sharing their images at relatively low resolution on the Web or via e-mail, this really doesn’t matter.

But to those for whom it is important, 645 PRO provides a way of getting greater initial image integrity and thus greater control over their final image quality.

Its small sensor and quite basic optics mean the underlying image quality delivered by iPhone doesn’t come close to rivalling that of DSLRs or even the better compact cameras—it can’t. However, when “the best camera is the one that’s with you”, we’re determined to help you get the best output from it for your needs!

(NOTE: Chris’s analysis also includes output from 645 PRO’s MAX-quality JPEG option. It’s worth noting that, while this lacks JPEG compression artefacts, it has been subject to processing in order to provide the best-looking final output at print resolution—rather than output with the highest integrity in the image editor—so it is noticeably different to the dRAW TIFF. The JPEG is the option for photographers who subscribe to the Henri Cartier-Bresson view: “Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.” The dRAW TIFFS are for those who like to cook…)

Mike Hardaker
Founder, Jag.gr 


  1. Sean Magnoni says:

    Definitely a substantial difference. Looking forward to the 1.10 update.

  2. Michael Koch says:

    From my own testing on a 5MP iPhone4 I can confirm the results.

  3. Tony says:

    Hello Mike,
    I was shocked at the quality of my iPhone4’s printed out put(4×6 cropped and 5×7 native). I started using ProCamera and I kept thinking that I would really love to have even more control over the exposure and sharpening. The dreaded jpg artifacts :)! I started to use 645Pro and I was not sure at first… It is crazy I know, but not until I looked tell tale signs of compressions at 200% in CS and LR that I realized that, again, this “phone” just keeps on surprising me. There are inevitable trade offs, but having an artifacts free file is very welcome.
    Thank you for your efforts in developing 645Pro. I am looking forward to future updates. Tony

  4. Guest says:

    Hi there,

    Would anyone mind telling me: What is jpeg artifact? Why are there best looking final print output and highest integrity in image editor?

    I’m really confused.

  5. Yannik Yo says:

    Why can’t we buy the app in Switzerland? It’s not available in the Swiss app store.

    • Mike says:

      Yes it is – it’s here:


      However, you won’t see it if you’re browsing on iPod Touch or iPad, as the iTunes App Store won’t show apps that it believes are incompatible with the hardware. This is fair enough with iPhone Touch, iPad and iPad 2, because they’re not compatible. It’s annoying with new iPad (3rd Generation) because it iscompatible. We’re working with Apple in an attempt to fix this for owners of new iPad.

  6. monzo says:

    Sounds great. Have a couple of questions:

    1: Does it do less sharpening than iphone standard camera?

    2: Does it do white balance instead of iphones automatic white balance or does it change white balance after iphones own white balancing?

    • Mike says:

      1. Yes (although it’s worth noting that the built-in iPhone Camera.app applies less sharpening to images than most third-party apps that use the default capture approaches).
      2. It uses the iPhone’s own white balance with the key element that it is lockable—so you can lock it to a setting that you want and then shoot away with that setting. 645 PRO doesn’t have manually-configurable white balance (e.g. to a specific temperature) as that is not available to iOS developers.

  7. Tom says:

    Guys, what settings do you use for your casual shooting? 645 pretty lags during the sunny day when Im trying to frame.

    And wich settings has most neutral colors.


    • Mike says:

      If you’re finding 645 PRO lagging, memory fragmentation may be an issue. Try the following:

      1. close down all your running apps via the multitasking bar

      2. Shut down iPhone completely, and then start it up again.

      This “tidies up” the memory, resets various elements and generally makes all apps perform more efficiently (something that is particularly important for 645 PRO, which asks a lot more of the hardware than most apps.

      The most “neutral” colours of the Film Modes are found with C42—assuming you feel iPhone’s sensor is itself neutral, of course! The dRAW TIFF option, of course, is completely neutral…

  8. Fred Zelders says:

    DISAPPOINTED by 645 PRO :-(

    On an iPhone 4 the app crops the image that is shown in the viewfinder.
    A substantial part of the image is not on the picture that is stored :-(

  9. Fred Zelders says:

    You may delete/discard my previous reaction. My iPhone did me not allow to change the zoom-factor.
    After complete reset of the iPhone I was able to set Zoom to 1.0

    Everything OK now.

    Great app. Thanks!

    • Mike says:

      Hi. We’ve identified and resolved the issue with zoom “sticking”, and this will be fixed in the next update, currently being prepared for App Store review. Our apologies.