With their flagship iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has changed the camera industry forever

“Even today, the interchangeable-lens cameras and high-end cameras have their fans, so demand for these monsters still exists. But for how long?” Om Malik writes for The New Yorker. “We don’t know the digital-camera industry’s own answer to that question, but as of Wednesday the time frame certainly shortened. That was the day Apple announced its new iPhone.”

“While in most ways the device launch was predictable, the iPhone 7 Plus, with its souped-up camera, made a big impression on serious photographers. The iPhone 7 Plus, which retails for seven hundred and sixty-nine dollars (or higher) has two lenses—a 28-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel lens and a 56-mm.-equivalent, 12-megapixel telephoto lens,” Malik writes. “Apple has managed to pack a lot of premium features—longer exposures, better aperture, and the ability to shoot digital negatives, which professionals call DNGs. A DNG is, essentially, a photo file that captures all the visual information possible for further manipulation, such as enhancing shadows or removing highlights. The new iPhone uses circuitry, software, and algorithms to create images that look and feel as if they came out of high-end cameras.”

“Apple isn’t the first phone company to reach the market with dual-lens systems… But Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is the first major phone to marry the dual-lens system to immense computing capabilities,” Malik writes. “This is terrible news for companies making compact cameras—Olympus and Nikon’s compact-camera sales in the most recent quarter had already nosedived by twenty-five per cent and forty-five per cent, respectively. The new iPhone 7 Plus drives a stake through the heart of these mass-market devices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait to get our iPhone 7 Plus units and put those camera through their paces!

As Malik notes in his full article, the also-ran iPhone knockoff outfits, with their slim or not profits, cannot afford to keep up: “The distinct business advantage that Apple has achieved thanks to its hardware is the sheer volume of iPhone sales, which justifies the big spending on the specialized chips that make that hardware so powerful. The new image processor is a perfect example. It can spread the cost of that investment in chips over hundreds of millions of iPhones.”

All of Apple’s Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus models are sold out, shipments slip to November – September 9, 2016
With the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple makes dual cameras the new normal – September 8, 2016


  1. Interesting that you get the trolls and competitor acolytes on here who can’t wait to magnify significance in any fall, true or perceived in numbers or success of Apple products. Thats despite there often being for the most part, clear reasons other than those they like to persist upon exaggerating. Yet on a regular basis we see the effects on competitors inside and outside the computer, watch and phone business from Apple’s business, be it in full or part, which they conveniently ignore. It really does curtail intelligent debate.

  2. As a photographer, the dual lens + high end processor chip + software will be more than a game changer. This will set the pro photography realm in a different direction. I’ve been waiting for this day. And it’s only the beginning…iPhone 8 rumors commence!

    1. I disagree. As a pro with 5 studios, you can’t replace a Canon or Nikon with a f/4 100-400 lens with a point and shoot camera. Take an iPhone to the Olympics or any concert or sporting event and compare the variety of results to those generated using a pro camera body and there will simply be no comparison. What really matters is the end product … wishful thinking won’t change the game for real pros.

      1. Within 10 years 5 cameras will bespeckle the back of the iPhone, each with different focal distances. Software will piece the images together to equal current DSLRs, exceeding them when it comes to VR images, portability, ease of use and sharability.

        Don’t bet against tech advancements. You’ll lose.

  3. Does anyone happen to have a link to the Sports Illustrated page from the Denver game last night? One of the photographers shot the entire game on a new (presumably) 7 Plus. I poked around the site a bit but ran out of time.

  4. It’s doubtful a cell phone camera will be able to cover all pro still or video bases, like, ever. It’s a great adjunct and option and I applaud it (I want one!) but pro’s will still need a range of lenses, sensor size for low light options, and other accessories. One size won’t fit all. Not hardly, not unless you like to extremely limit yourself. I see the new iPhone 7 Pro camera as just the best camera you have in your pocket and on you most of the time. Can’t wait to use it.

    1. Being the owner of Canon F1s and later early Rebels, I can easily say that the iPhone is the only one I want to carry now, unless an unusual situation arises like the need for stabilized high power zoom or extreme closeup macro lens work.

      I’m not a photog, but do have to document a lot of work I do and iPhone does just fine and the 7 will do better.

      1. Right. I don’t think we’ll be seeing wedding photographers (or professional photojournalists, or fashion photographers) working just with an iPhone, but the bar keeps getting higher and higher with every new version, and this is great.

        In 2006, Nikon’s high-end DSLR (retailing for about $1,000) had a 10-megapixel sensor. Comparable Nikon of today has about 25 megapixels. Consequently, we can expect that many megapixels in iPhone 12 (ten years from now).

        Professionals will always use professional gear. In addition to being more robust (physically), they will always provide greater dynamic range (between dark blacks and bright whites), higher low-light sensitivity will less noise, and better, faster lenses, than mobile phones of the time.

        For the rest of us, it is great to know that technology that improves the professional gear makes its way down to our phones as well.

      2. I agree the new iPhone Plus camera will be capable of much and for many will cover most bases and then some. But for a lot of pro’s needing better manual control, lenses, higher mpx, studio capable, etc. there is no substitute. You can imagine a client showing up for a shoot and seeing an iPhone on a stand and wondering “what the hey?” Clients will always like a big tech dog ‘n pony show to feel they’re getting what they paid for. It’s nice you can make it work but I don’t think most will be trading in their DSLR’s quite yet. My Sony A7SII has 4K full frame sensor low light capability Apple can only dream of. Plus HDMI output to a Video Devices recorder for ProRes. I also use an old 18mpx Canon 60D in a down-shooter stand to shoot old color & b&w negs and slides in any size format in RAW with superior results. So I’m still neck deep in the old muddy, and will be for some time.

  5. The laws of physics still apply, so many photographic challenges will continue to require a larger sensor and different lenses than anything that can fit in a pocket.

    That does not, however, preclude me from wanting to trade in my 6s for a 7 plus. I am not looking forward to the additional size or weight, but the camera advancements will make the trade-offs worth it for my use profile. I’ll still use my DSLR for available-light sports and wildlife work, but many of my best images were spontaneous situations that I managed to capture with the camera that I had on hand. I have no plans to start carrying a backpack full of kit with me, so having a better camera on hand all of the time will definitely help me make the most of those opportunities.

  6. As a professional photographer that just shot a concert and an auto race using a Canon 100-400 lens, those of you who think that a snapshot camera will replace pro hardware need to rethink. Prosumers, enthusiasts and the like might consider the iPhone a pro tool, but pro’s need real lenses, long focal lengths, and large files.

    1. Just saw your post after typing mine. You are exactly right.

      I was raised on Nikon F2, Canon F1, Olympus OM1, Mamiya 645s and RB67s. Had to learn how to set color by habd, retouch with a paint brush, print by hand and process by hand. It was a skill, a science, a technology and an art all in one. The first place I worked was staffed by guys in their 50’s and 60’s who had been doing it all their lives- one guy we called Moses had been a Combat Photographer still and mopic in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I was a kid of 21 among a group of craftsmen who taught me what school never could about photography. Maybe that is what jades me.

      There is no substitute for great glass in a great lens (which is a system- not a single lens) captured on great film. Digital is getting better and better, but has yet to fully blossom into a medium as sensitive as film.

    2. ‘Snapshot’ to me is almost derogatory. The photos I’ve been able to take with my 6+ are a hell of a lot better that the ‘snapshots’ of yesteryear. My Samsung Intensity took snapshots.

  7. It is a nice exercise in engineering and will certainly be the nicest point and shoot ever made to date, but going past that is hyperbole.

    Maybe you have never seen a fine quality print on hand enlarged on high quality paper, exposed on high quality fim on a great camera with great glass (lens system), hopefully you have. If you have not it might be easy to buy in to the marketing hype, but the difference is real and profound and woth the expense and effort- like most good things in life.

    I am just old enough to have learned, worked with and made my living for a season with professional grade cameras, lenses and lab. There is a reason people would willingly buy a single lens for thousands of dollars that had the same basic specs as a cheaper one bought in a Department Store, because the image was radically better. The same is true for why people who play musical instruments are commonly pickey about speakers and amplifiers, because they know what real, live music sounds like.

    I have an iPhone but I also have cameras with Leica lenses that produce images that simply cannot be produced on the tiny components of any phone. This in no way diminishes the accomplishment of Apple’s engineers, but let’s seprarate hype from fact.

  8. Something that few people talk about in reviews anymore is durability. In the real world, things get dirty and degrade over time. With a p&s or camera phone, you have one lens. When it gets scratched or dirty, that’s it. With a professional camera, lenses are swapped in seconds. And with a film camera, every photo uses a fresh clean sensor. All digital cams require care to keep them clean. Nice as the newest iPhone cam may be, it’s still got the same long term limits and compromises as any ultraportable consumer device. To most buyers, they don’t even care about photographic quality, it’s not even a selling feature. I know people who would rather have the old headphone connection than a high resolution camera.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.