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Apple has just announced three new iPhones: the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
And, as usual, these iPhones come with new cameras and new camera technology.
But will these new smartphones be enticing for photographers? And if you’re looking to purchase a new smartphone, should you grab an iPhone 11 Pro?
Read on to find out.
First things first:
While Apple has announced three new iPhones, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Max are basically identical, save for the screen size. Hence, both the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max have the same camera specs:
An improved front-facing camera.
Deep Fusion technology.
Let’s take a closer look:
The three-camera design is Apple’s first foray beyond their (now standard) 2-camera setup. The iPhone 11 Pro boasts a telephoto lens (52mm equivalent), a wide-angle lens (26mm equivalent), and an ultra-wide-angle lens (13mm equivalent). The new camera (the ultra-wide-angle) should make it possible to capture sweeping landscape shots, or simply to gain a wider field of view when doing group portraits and event photography.
While the wide and telephoto lenses incorporate optical image stabilization, the ultra-wide-angle lens does not. This shouldn’t be a huge problem, because camera shake is less apparent in wider lenses. But it’s nice to have a bit of image stabilization, especially for night shots.
And speaking of night photography:
Apple has finally added a Night Mode to the smartphone camera lineup. This will supposedly increase detail in night photos, making it possible to produce less noisy images in near darkness. Given the poor performance of iPhones at night, this is a feature that Apple phones have sorely needed.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see whether the iPhone 11 Pro’s regular shooting mode will have improved low light capabilities. I’m not holding my breath, however. The iPhone XS’s low light performance is dismal in low light compared to competitors such as the Google Pixel 3, and there are no indications of a significantly improved sensor on the iPhone 11 Pro.
While the iPhone 11 Pro rear cameras all sit at 12 megapixels, the front-facing camera will see an upgrade from 8 megapixels (in the XS) to 12 megapixels. The lens has also been widened. I don’t recommend using the front-facing camera for serious photography, but it’ll be nice to take some higher resolution selfies and wider selfie-group shots.
The iPhone 11 is the successor to Apple’s cheaper iPhone XR.
Fortunately, it offers a notable camera upgrade: from a single wide-angle lens, the iPhone 11 now features both a wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lens setup.
It also includes Night Mode, which will make shooting in low light (hopefully) easier.
The most intriguing aspect of the new iPhone cameras is the promise of a Deep Fusion technology. This should work on all the new iPhones, including the iPhone 11.
While this feature won’t be rolled out until after the iPhones are released (in a software update), Apple claims that this new technology will allow your iPhone to capture nine images at once, process them, and create a final image that’s optimized for detail, noise, and dynamic range.
If the feature is as impressive as Apple claims, then we have a lot to look forward to.
If you’re a serious smartphone photographer, you’re going to want the iPhone 11 Pro over the iPhone 11. No question. It offers the additional telephoto camera, which you’ll appreciate if you ever want to shoot portraits or street photos.
But how does the iPhone 11 Pro stack up against its competition?
Personally, I would wait to grab the iPhone 11 Pro until you see what Google comes out with this fall. The iPhone 11 Pro, with its triple cameras and promise of Deep Fusion technology, is appealing. But Apple is currently behind Google in terms of low-light capabilities. And you don’t want to buy a new smartphone, only to wish you had waited just a bit longer for the Pixel 4.
The iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are available for preorder starting this Friday, September 13th.
What do you think of Apple’s new smartphone cameras? Will you be purchasing an iPhone 11 or an iPhone 11 Pro, or will you wait to see the Google Pixel 4? Share your thoughts in the comments!