Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and flagship iPhone 15 Pro Max deliver powerful camera upgrades that enable the equivalent of seven pro lenses with incredible image quality, including a more advanced 48MP Main camera system that now supports the new super-high-resolution 24MP default, the next generation of portraits with Focus and Depth Control, improvements to Night mode and Smart HDR, and an all-new 5x Telephoto camera exclusively on iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The new iPhone 15s, in particular the premium Pro and Pro Max, continue Apple’s mission to turn its smartphones into cameras like nothing in the history of photography. They have new image formats, the addition of extra focal lengths, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max even includes a 5x lens that makes use of a “tetraprism” lens that bounces light around inside the phone to add dramatically more zoom without making the phone any bigger. All of that additional hardware works in collaboration with improved software: users no longer have to click into portrait mode, for instance, because the camera automatically captures depth information when taking a picture of people, so that background blur can be added and edited even after the photo has been taken.
Apple has also added a host of features that many people are unlikely ever to even look at, let alone use, but are important to professionals. They include the addition of Log encoding and the Academy Color Encoding System – both key to those who need them. Apple also says that the new iPhone has “the equivalent of seven pro lenses”, despite really only having three; what they mean is that you can choose different crops, which is in part an attempt to appeal to those professional photographers who stubbornly say that they will only ever work with a 50mm lens, for instance. (Those new lens choices are not only a cropped version of the existing lenses… since the phone also has custom neural networks specifically designed to optimise images at that focal length.)
The phone may look as if it is serenely offering up an image to its users, but it has been busily working away in the background to ensure the picture is as accurate and vibrant as possible. All that work done by the camera and the rest of the device depends on a variety of choices made not only by the iPhone but by Apple, which accounts for the look of the modern iPhone picture… its aim in making those decisions is to make “beautiful, true-to-life memories in just one click”.
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s original iPhone camera (June 2007) offered one rear 2MP still camera (no video).
Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max Pro camera system specs:
• 48MP Main: 24 mm, ƒ/1.78 aperture, second‑generation sensor‑shift optical image stabilization, 100% Focus Pixels, support for super‑high‑resolution photos (24MP and 48MP)
• 12MP Ultra Wide: 13 mm, ƒ/2.2 aperture and 120° field of view, 100% Focus Pixels
• 12MP 2x Telephoto (enabled by quad‑pixel sensor): 48 mm, ƒ/1.78 aperture, second‑generation sensor‑shift optical image stabilization, 100% Focus Pixels
• 12MP 5x Telephoto: 120 mm, ƒ/2.8 aperture, 3D sensor‑shift optical image stabilization and autofocus, tetraprism design
• 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range
• Digital zoom up to 25x
• Customizable default lens (Main)
• Sapphire crystal lens cover
• Adaptive True Tone flash
• Photonic Engine
• Deep Fusion
• Smart HDR 5
• Next-generation portraits with Focus and Depth Control
• Portrait Lighting with six effects
• Night mode
• Night mode portraits enabled by LiDAR Scanner
• Panorama (up to 63MP)
• Photographic Styles
• Macro photography
• Apple ProRAW
• Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
• Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
• Advanced red-eye correction
• Auto image stabilization
• Burst mode
• Photo geotagging
• Image formats captured: HEIF, JPEG, and DNG
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