Since the iPhone 4 hit, one of the most consistent features in Apple's smartphone family has been its camera technology, which has gotten even better with the launch of the iPhone 5s. The iPhone has long been the most popular camera on Flickr, but even more impressive is how often its used for print, including in TIME and ESPN. Add another feather to Apple's cap, as the company's recent iPhone 5s has been given a "very capable" rating by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, who used the device during a recent trip to Scotland.

After snapping more than 4,000 images, Richardson said he was impressed by results produced by the iPhone 5s, saying they never looked like he was settling for a device that was "second best."

"The color and exposures are amazingly good, the HDR exposure feature does a stunningly good job in touch situations, the panorama feature is nothing short of amazing—seeing a panorama sweeping across the screen in real time is just intoxicating," Richardson said. "Best of all it shoots square pictures natively, a real plus for me since I wanted to shoot for Instagram posting."

The iPhone 5s still sports an 8-megapixel camera, same as the iPhone 5, though the sensor size has been increased by 15-percent; the aperture has also been taken down a notch; both combine to create images that are better in low-light conditions, and just as solid in typical everyday environments. Many of the images shared by Richardson look terrific, and you wouldn't even know they were taken with a smartphone unless you were told. Of course, the iPhone isn't the only smartphone that takes excellent pictures, though it highlights just how popular Apple's handset is among the photography crowd.