Here’s what’s new about the Fairphone 4


We just gave the Fairphone 4 a revolutionary update, with a completely refreshed camera experience, and we couldn’t be prouder. While most smartphone manufacturers are happy to shuffle off their past releases into oblivion to make way for their latest and greatest, our Fairphone 4 software upgrade showcases our commitment to longer-lasting phones while enhancing the user experience for as long as possible. The way we see it, it is the fair thing to do.

One of the first things we realized when we embarked on this project is that if you want to enhance the overall user experience, you have to listen to the users. Which is exactly what we did. After receiving a lot of feedback from our community about their experiences with the camera, we decided to dive deeper and understand what were the most important issues and features for them. Taking time to conduct additional research with customers helped us come to a list of key improvements and opportunities for us to focus on. We got Javier Manrique (Technical Product Manager, Fairphone), one of the key people who worked on the project, to give us the full lowdown on what the team was up to and what they have achieved.

1) Given that we just launched the Fairphone 5 in 2023, it seems like a curious decision to upgrade the Fairphone 4 in 2024. What was the reasoning behind this?

The decision to go for such a massive update for the Fairphone 4 boils down to our vision, really: Just because we launched a new product doesn’t mean we ignore our older models. That has never been Fairphone’s approach. In fact, launching the Fairphone 5 helped us a lot in implementing this upgrade for the Fairphone 4. The countless hours we spent tuning the Fairphone 5’s camera systems, the new app we built for the Fairphone 5the combined benefits of this gave us the knowledge and confidence to go ahead. Plus, we received a ton of valuable customer feedback, so it was clear what we had to do.The Fairphone 5 set a new benchmark for our imaging capabilities. We wanted to make sure the Fairphone 4 came as close to it as it could. 

2) You mentioned customer feedback as one of the reasons as well. What sort of improvements can customers now expect from their Fairphone 4 camera? 

User feedback is an important aspect of our product development process, and the camera update is no exception. There are two specific areas of user feedback that have influenced the improvements in the latest update:

Low-Light Performance: One point of feedback that appeared frequently was regarding the camera’s performance in low-light conditions and their difficulties to reliably capture great shots in the dark. The update addresses this concern by incorporating optimized image processing algorithms to enhance low-light performance, and capture more detailed and clearer images in challenging lighting situations. This is enhanced even more with the new Super Night mode, which greatly reduces noise while creating sharper details.

Super Night Mode

Speed and Accuracy: Another pain point was related to the speed of the camera in general, sometimes compromising the accuracy of the picture captured. With the new camera software, we focused on optimizing autofocus algorithms for quicker and more accurate focus, ensuring that users can capture sharp images without delays. We also pushed image post-processing to the background, to actively allow users to shoot more images per second.

It wasn’t just these two areas we worked on, though. There’s improved AI scene detection to ensure the best picture possible, no matter the conditions. We reworked the color and white balance algorithms, so that photos don’t look over or underexposed, and hues are more faithfully reproduced. We improved the zoom functionality for sharper, clearer details. The flash feels more natural now, switching between lenses is smoother and feels more organic. Contrast in HDR shots is more pronounced now. I keep saying this but, honestly, it feels like a whole new camera. 

3) Were there any other concerns we have addressed?

The stability of the app has also had major improvements. We have improved the stability and raised the quality of the overall camera experience. Users value a camera that performs reliably and consistently. Feedback related to camera crashes, app stability, and overall performance has been crucial in identifying and addressing any issues, ensuring a more reliable camera experience.

4) How does the camera compare now to when the Fairphone 4 launched in 2021?

This has been a major redesign for us. It feels like a whole new camera. This software update collectively represents a significant evolution in the camera capabilities of the Fairphone 4, from the initial 2021 release to the anticipated improvements in 2024. Users can expect a more refined and feature-rich camera experience with the updated software, providing enhanced image quality and usability.

5) Could you elaborate a little bit on things like reduced shutter lag, better low light imaging, and faster autofocus?

Shutter lag refers to the time between pressing the camera shutter button and actual image capture. By reducing this interval and making it faster, we ensure that users can capture spontaneous moments without any noticeable delay for most conditions. Of course, when you are in a low light scene, your camera will need more time to capture light. It is natural that it will not be the same speed as in daylight shooting. But overall, we improved the whole experience. It’s faster, more responsive, more engaged.

For better low-light imaging, we worked on improving the use of the sensor technology and optimized image processing algorithms. The primary benefit is the ability to capture high-quality images in dimly lit settings, such as evening scenes or indoor environments. The result is reduced noise, enhanced details, and well-exposed photos without the need for additional lighting. Super Night, the dedicated mode for night photography, has also been vastly improved. It’s a world of a difference compared to earlier.

Faster autofocus refers to the speed at which the camera adjusts its focus to ensure that the subject is sharp and clear in the captured image. The key benefit is the ability to quickly capture sharp and in-focus images, particularly useful when dealing with moving subjects. The feature minimizes the chances of capturing blurry images and enhances the overall speed and efficiency of the camera’s focusing capabilities.

Better Colour Grading


These camera enhancements collectively contribute to improved photography, ensuring that users can capture sharper, and better lit images in various shooting conditions compared to earlier. Whether it’s a spontaneous moment, a low-light environment, or a fast-moving subject, these features work together to make the camera more versatile and capable of delivering better results.

6) Video stabilization also got a major facelift. Care to elaborate?

The camera update introduces enhanced and improved video stabilization features, reducing shakes and jitters in recorded videos. The difference we’re seeing is massive. However, it’s not just the stabilization. The color grading is truer to life; they are neither washed out nor oversaturated. It’s amazing.


7) How close would you say the Fairphone 4 camera experience is now compared to the Fairphone 5 camera? 

The Fairphone 5 has a faster chipset and more advanced camera sensors, making the camera more powerful overall. With the latest update, the Fairphone 4 comes as close as the software allowed us to push it, though. One thing we really wanted to achieve with this update was to harmonize the entire user experience and visual aesthetics of the camera across both models. Now, the Fairphone 4 camera has the same look and feel as that of the Fairphone 5. If at any point, a user switches up phones, the user experience will be uninterrupted.

8) What still needs to get better? Are we planning on more updates down the line?

Our goal is to continuously improve the user experience, address feedback, and stay current with technological advancements. As it stands, with the improved camera experience and the reduced price, the Fairphone 4 has so much to offer for anyone looking for a great smartphone in 2024. Meanwhile, always stay tuned for more updates as we work to make your Fairphone even better. We’re not kidding when we say we’re in this for the long haul. 

Flash Mode

9) Why didn’t we go for a camera hardware upgrade like we did with the Fairphone 3?

When we went back to the drawing board for this project, what was clearly apparent was that the hardware was solid, but the software had a lot of room for improvement. Improving the software also had the added advantage that we could offer this update for free to our existing customers as well, totally independent of when they purchased their device.

10)  On a personal note, what was the most challenging this about this project? And what was the most rewarding part? 

Photography tends to be very subjective. Everyone has their own individual preferences for color settings, contrast, saturation, filters. Which makes camera tuning immensely challenging. You have to try and match everyone’s expectations, but you also have to make your peace with the fact that you can’t please everyone. With this update, we’re hoping that we meet the expectations of a sizable majority of our customers. As for the most rewarding bit, we’re already hearing and seeing excellent feedback internally for our efforts. This, in itself, is great motivation for the team and me to continue working on further improvements and updates down the line. I can’t wait to see what the Fairphone community and the world at large have to say.

If you are an existing Fairphone 4 user, all you have to do to enjoy the improved cameras is install the latest updates. And if you’re not, you can pick up all the Fairphone you need by clicking right here.

Javier (and the rest of us at Fairphone) would love to see the results of your new camera experience. Share your latest photographs on your social media channels and don’t forget to tag us, along with the hashtag #ShotonFairphone4. 

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