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iPhone 4S Camera In the Wrong Place!



As I’ve been using my iPhone 4S instead of the Canon SD1400IS for my all-purpose point and shoot camera and I’ve noticed something: the camera lens is in the wrong place.

Apple introduced a handy new feature with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 – using the volume buttons as a shutter release. Now you can hold the iPhone in landscape mode and place your finger on the volume button and shoot a picture by pressing the button. When you do, with the volume button on the top, the lens is on the lower right corner of the phone.

It just feels off.

I tried shooting with the lens on the upper left with the volume buttons on the bottom. You have to use your thumb to press the volume button and that’s awkward, but helps me frame shots better. Shooting this second way is still a bit problematic, as my fingers keep getting in the way of the lens. Neither way of holding the iPhone 4S to shoot pictures is convenient because of the placement of the lens.

iPhone 4S Camera easy to get fingers in shot

It's easy to get your fingers in the shot with the iPhone 4S if you don't hold it right

As lenses on smartphones get better and phones become thinner, the placement of the lens may become even more problematic. I wish all smartphone makers would consider the lens placement in their designs. The optimum placement would be equidistant from both long edges and at least a third of the way over from the shorter edge of the phone.

Holding camera with volume buttons on bottom helps keep fingers out of the shot

Holding camera with volume buttons on bottom helps keep fingers out of the shot

The camera on the iPhone 4S is so good I want to use it more. I’ve found that the best way to hold the camera is to have the volume buttons on the bottom and place your thumb over one to take a shot. Put your left index finger on the top with your other three fingers away from the phone. This solves the old finger in the shot problem. Hold your thumb along the bottom edge with the lower right corner resting flush with your hand. Put your index finger along the top edge and use your ring finger behind the phone to hold it in place as it rests against the back of the phone. This gives me the least amount of shake while shooting photos and keeps my fingers out of the frame. Having the lens on top makes framing photos less awkward. I tap the screen with my left finger to focus holding the phone firmly with my right hand.

If using your thumb to press the button feels strange to you, then you can reverse this to use your right finger to press the volume button with it on the top instead of the bottom.

We at GottaBeMobile agree that all phones should allow you to use the volume button as a shutter release instead of a zoom function, as some Android phones do. It also makes more sense to have the lens placed so that the buttons are on top, just as is the lens. Even better: phones should move the lens further towards the center of the back of the phone like it would be on a point and shoot camera.



  1. Maximus

    10/26/2011 at 1:10 pm

  2. Anonymous

    10/26/2011 at 3:00 pm

    HAHAH, maybe if you didnt have such sausage fingers you wouldnt have a problem, try losing a few pounds. Seriously though, I literally have NO problem with the camera placement, I dont have fingers blocking the field and there is no issue what so ever pushing the volume button to snap a photo with your thumb or pointer finger. The placement of the buttons and the camera make taking a photo with the phone about as natural as it can be in a landscape orientation, unless you want to manhandle the end of the phone and take a portrait photo using the on screen button. 

    People are just looking for every little thing they can complain about with this phone. I’m no fanboy, this is quite literally the only apple product I’ve ever owned, but come on. It’s a good phone with great technology, its faster than almost anything else out there and has an awesome camera. Stop trying so hard to find meaningless things that are wrong with it.

    • Bodyboarder725

      10/29/2011 at 8:23 pm

      I have a problem with the lens placement as well, most people are used to holding a conventional camera in such a way that your finger gets in front of the lens. And I hope that, at 105 pounds you can rule out the insulting overweight issue… that’s clearly not the problem.

  3. Anonymous

    10/26/2011 at 3:13 pm

    Really? What a lame article.

  4. Roberto

    10/26/2011 at 3:48 pm

    Clearly you just not holding right…

  5. Michael

    10/27/2011 at 2:20 am

    Then don’t use the effin volume buttons!!!!! Use the other one right on the screen. Slow news day?

  6. GW

    10/27/2011 at 3:24 am

    How could the placement of the lens be an issue when you look at the screen for the photo composition?  Just move the phone to the position you need – or would that be too much exercise.  You are very qualified…at not being very bright.

  7. Kevin's Squirrel

    10/27/2011 at 5:13 pm

    Kevin, Kevin, Kevin…..  I think you’re just a little…. well….. nuts.

  8. Paul

    06/13/2012 at 1:29 pm

    I have a problem with the 4s camera….if you have the vol button as the shutter release and have it on top then any photo’s or vid you shoot are upside dowm when transfered to a PC? so which is the correct way to hold it?

    • Bill

      07/26/2012 at 8:37 am

      I discovered this too. I was using the volume button in the most natural way only to discover that all my video’s and images were upside down when I downloaded them to my PC (unless using Picassa). The jpg’s were easy to correct, but I had to locate a free video editing software utility that was capable of rotating the video to correct the upside down video’s.

  9. Bill

    07/26/2012 at 8:06 am

    I totally agree. My iPhone 4s takes great pictures, but I am always bummed when I get home only to discover that many great shots were spoiled when I inadvertently had a finger covering part of the lens, which should be located midway along the long edge. Buttons were also awkward, but far better than the soft button, which is difficult to reach and hard to see in bright light.

    Lastly, I have another problem. My camera keeps changing modes. When I think I am taking a snapshot, I find that when I get it home I have a bunch of 1 second video’s. Again, hard to see this when in sunlight and even when I do notice that my mode shifted — again — and shift it back, it happens again. I also have a problem with it coming up in rear facing view mode (which I never use) and keep having to reverse this.

    Lastly, battery life sucks when doing much video shooting. Wish there was at least an external battery pack that could be attached for a quick recharge.

    All of this is frustrating because the images are GREAT.

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