iPhone 12 Pro Max camera: Why this pro photographer is super excited
As a professional photographer, I was blown away by how that iPhone 11 Pro was able to replace my DSLR at photo shoots. But Apple just introduced that that contains the and the camera technology is even better this time. ( .) The Updates in particular, both in terms of hardware and software, have already got me taking pictures with this thing. Here’s why I’m so excited.
More zoom with the 2.5x telephoto lens
I love the iPhone 11 Pro’s telephoto zoom lens, but at just 2x it doesn’t always provide the zoom level you want. I often find myself zooming in digitally to get exactly the composition that I want. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes that even further by 2.5x, which might not look like a big upgrade, but I think it will show up on a lot of shots.
Would I have liked 5x or 10x? Sure, I like the bigger zoom on phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but because they’re so big, I don’t use them as much as the 2x on the iPhone. Maybe 3x would have been a good compromise, but I still think upgrading the 12 Pro Max will make a big difference to a lot of my photos.
Larger image sensor
Apple already manages to get incredible picture quality out of tiny phone camera sensors, and their great software enables the amazing night mode shots we’ve seen before. However, a 47% larger sensor captures more light and enables brighter images with less noise and better dynamic range. Because of this, my professional camera (a Canon 5D Mark IV) uses a much larger full frame sensor.
I’m really excited to see the difference this larger sensor can make not only for my night photos, but also for capturing fine details in landscapes or up close when taking macro pictures of flowers. A larger sensor combined with Apple’s image processing software is likely an effective combination.
Improved, faster lens for better night mode
It’s not just the sensor that can capture more light – the lens itself can let in more light than before thanks to its larger aperture of 1: 1.6. This number basically means that the hole the light passes through is bigger than before, so more light can pass through in the same amount of time. Together with the larger sensor, Apple’s 12 Pro Max improved images in poor light by 87% compared to the iPhone 11, which was already among the best even in poor light.
However, the redesigned lens isn’t just about letting in more light. Apple also stated in its launch presentation that it improves the optical clarity of the lens and reduces image distortion, especially around the edges of the image on the widest lens. All of this means better looking, more professional images. Nice stuff.
Many of the best pictures I’ve taken on iPhone were taken in raw form using third-party apps. Raw images do not store data such as color information or sharpening, which allows greater control when editing in mobile apps such as Adobe Lightroom Mobile. However, the downside of raw recording in third-party apps is that you won’t be able to take advantage of the image processing Apple uses in its own camera app. For example, Deep Fusion processing for amazing HDR values is only possible when recording with the iPhone’s native camera.
To better appeal to professionals, Apple introduced Apple ProRaw to its camera app, which uses many of its image processing functions but does not permanently embed data such as white balance, so you can make these changes in post-production too. Apple says it’s the best of both worlds, and on paper I’m tempted to agree, but I have to hold my final judgment until I can not only take pictures in this new format but also edit the pictures.
It’s worth noting that Google has already done the same with itswho called CNET Editor-in-Chief Stephen Shankland “enormous”. How the two compare remains to be seen.
HDR video and improved stabilization
It’s not just still images that have seen improvement. The phone now also offers HDR with Dolby Vision at up to 60 fps. According to Apple, this is the first time this has been offered on a device. In theory, this would help control bright lights and lift up dark shadows, just like HDR does when you’re taking still pictures.
Optical image stabilization has also been improved by moving the image sensor to counteract movement and vibration instead of moving the heavier lens as before. How much of a difference this makes remains to be seen if I can take the phones out for a proper test, but with better picture quality and stabilization, I’m really excited about the type of videos I can produce with this phone.