Battery aside, it’s the cameras that are the standout feature this year and it’s not just software tweakery either. Apple has made some hardware changes, namely making camera aperture wider, to make sure it’s ahead of the pack in terms of smartphone photography.
What’s more is that the camera set-up is identical to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it means you can have the best camera on a phone which you can use one-handed.
The main camera system breaks up into three 12MP cameras: the main camera, the ultra-wide camera and the telephoto lens. Sounds just like the last one? Well not quite. The aperture on the ultra-wide camera jumps from f/2.4 to f/1.8 allowing in more light and making huge improvements to low light photography. The upgraded telephoto camera comes with 3X optical zoom which is a step up from last year and finally, the main sensor has a f/1.5 aperture.
The camera’s nighttime photography is the best we’ve seen and rather than increasing brightness to unrealistic levels, low light shots are handled with much more subtlety and style.
In daylight, the camera is phenomenal, but then so is any other recent high-end iPhone. To further up the ante though, the iPhone 13 Pro is capable of Macro photography which we’ve seen from Android competitors previously, but it’s seriously good here and quite addictive.
Computational photography has been finessed to a fault and image quality is superb. Of course Apple doesn’t stop there as there’s a new feature called ‘Profiles’ in the camera app which allows you to apply a filter to the camera, rather than applying one later. Each option, ranging from vibrant, cool, warm, rich contract has a slider so you can ramp it up or slide it down for a more subtle take.
Video is far from neglected and a headline feature this year is Cinematic Mode. In short, this allows you to shoot a scene and then change the focus point while shooting or in post-production. It’s incredibly fun to play around with and works with the front facing camera too, whether we’d use this often is doubtful, but the tech is nevertheless impressive. There is one caveat though, Cinematic mode will only work in 1080p at 30fps which will disappoint a few Tarantino wannabees.
More useful though, is the sensor-based stabilisation which proves real gains for iPhone videography and it’s even effective in low light. Cinematic Mode in low light raises the same issues as portrait mode, with the occasional blurry edges especially around hair.
Fancy tricks aside, the iPhone 13 Pro camera is quite possibly the best in the business when it comes to smartphone photography.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro image gallery