Friday, April 2, 2021

Long Term iPhone 12 Camera Review

Sebastiaan de With:

The only time that I found the smart image processing on the iPhone noticeably bothersome is when skies get overly tinted blue. It’s clear that the iPhone can now easily detect and segment the sky in a shot, and it applies nice smooth noise reduction to it to get wonderful gradients. But even cloudy skies tend to get a blue cast that isn’t as neutral as you’d like.


Initially, I hadn’t tested Portrait + Night mode very much. In the few tests I did, though — comparing it to a regular camera and the iPhone 12 mini, which is unequipped with a LIDAR sensor, it works outrageously well[…]


Flaring on the ultra wide and wide cameras is not just noticeable, but outright bothersome when shooting into light. In the above image, you can see the telltale iPhone ‘green orb’ flare that is a result from internal reflections in the lens. This can be fairly unobstrusive as in that shot, but when shooting many bright point sources of light head-on, can outright ruin a shot.


Noise reduction is something I never really enjoyed on iPhones, and I find it really bothersome that ProRAW does not give granular control over how much is applied to a final image. When shooting in dark conditions with the iPhone’s less light-sensitive cameras, you can get muddled images that would’ve looked nicer with some grain. It’s almost like a watercolor painting[…]


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Interesting review, with some great photos.

> noticeably bothersome is when skies get overly tinted blue.

As a long term Google Pixel user I gave the iPhone 12 Pro a try back in late 2020. The camera hardware was great and a big improvement on previous generations; however that aggressive blue tint, especially noticeable in skies, was a deal breaker for me. The Pixel (5) creates much more natural colours, especially with landscape scenes (which I shoot a lot of). Sadly the iPhone 12 Pro had to be returned.

As an aside: the other thing I observed about iOS is that it's far more buggy than Android. I was constantly noticing little glitches - like web pages getting zoomed in weird ways after scrolling or rotating - that I never get on Android. iOS may be slick, but the grass isn't always greener...

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