I finally got around to upgrading to an iPhone 5 recently and while I was curious about the improved camera I didn't really pay it much attention until one night when I fired up iPhoto and was going through the shots I'd taken about the place and realised that the images that were coming out of it were pretty decent. I'm actually pretty surprised. I wasn't expecting such an improvement over the iPhone 5s, but you can definitely see it. I guess that sapphire lens accounts for something. I still wouldn't use it as a replacement for any of my serious cameras, or even a high end compact, but you can take pretty descent shots with it, even in the absence of any Instagram like filters. I know the iPhone's camera was always pretty good, but most people used it in conjunction with software to give it a retro or film-ish look. In the 5 it can stand on its own, and the files hold up well to manipulation too. Here's just a few random photos I've pulled out of the camera roll and tweaked a little in Lightroom.
I haven't done much to them really. Mostly, I've just added a 3:2 crop, and used some of the vsco film presets here and there for a nice grade. I've also added a few vignettes. Sharpness is pretty good, and noise is ok, for a phone. The only thing that really holds it back is the dynamic range, and I think that's what is separating all camera phones. Over all though, I have to say, I'm very impressed