Thursday, September 15, 2022

iPhone 14 Pro Camera

Sebastiaan de With (tweet):

When it comes to computational photography, the quality of your software and processing power plays as important a role as the physical camera itself. It’s silly to judge the new iPhone entirely on sensor specs, and we can’t wait to run full package through its paces as soon as it arrives at Halide HQ.


The Wide camera sees the greatest changes. The lens gets a bit wider, a 2mm focal length difference. The aperture is smaller (‘slower’), means the lens collects less light. This was probably necessary to work with a larger sensor. We calculate that the Wide camera is able to collect 20% more light compared to last year’s camera, even with this slightly worse aperture, thanks to its larger size.

We’re astonished by the improvement in the camera sensor’s ISO range. It goes far beyond previous iPhone cameras. Given high ISO values are accompanied by more noise, it’s highly likely this ISO range is made possible by how its higher resolution sensor combines 4 pixels into one, vastly reducing noise.


A big change here is the front-facing camera gaining variable focus (and autofocus) for the first time since the very first iPhone.

Austin Mann (Hacker News):

All that said, I was excited to see this massive jump in megapixels in the iPhone 14 Pro as it will open doors to capture more detail, crop in on images, and also open up new possibilities for larger format prints at higher DPIs.


Many of you have been curious about the file sizes of the 48 megapixel ProRAW DNG files. I’ve found them to be mostly around 80MB, with the smallest files as low as 45MB (a shot with mostly sky and little detail), and the biggest being 115MB (a shot with tons of detail in leaves). For comparison, my Sony A1 (50 megapixel) RAW files are usually in the 120MB range. The image pixel dimensions of the 48 MP files are 8064x6048.


I’m pretty sure I’ll generally leave my settings set to 12MP ProRAW and only push up to 48MP when I really need it.


I do feel many of the images I’ve shot are a bit too processed and/or over-sharpened. When this happens, I’ve been bringing the ProRAW files into Lightroom CC and adjusting the “Apple ProRAW” profile slider to the left to reduce the HDR/sharp look if it’s too much for me.


Offloading photos/videos via Lightning cable is another story. I’ve had some serious pains trying to transfer content from my iPhone to my MacBook Pro. I’ve been on YouTube watching videos, unplugging, switching Lightning cables, restarting devices — doing all the things I can think of. I finally found a tip that said if you turn on Airplane mode, then Apple Photos will properly load, and thankfully it did.


Update (2022-10-14): John Gruber:

Having spent the last year with an iPhone 13 Pro — equipped with 0.5×, 1×, and 3× cameras — I’m delighted to have 2× back as an optical focal length. In day-to-day usage, I’ve found 3× to be an awkward focal length — too zoomed-in for most of the scenes and portraits I’ve wanted to shoot, but not long enough for situations where I’d want a telephoto lens with a lot of throw.


Basically, on the iPhone 13 models and earlier, Deep Fusion worked on the compressed JPEG or HEIC imagery; now it works on the RAW data direct from the sensor. This isn’t an A16-exclusive feature, because the non-pro iPhone 14 models have it too, but it is exclusive to this year’s new phones.

Jason Snell:

I get that 48MP images are overkill for most snapshots. I get that the files are huge. I get that the 12MP images using the quad-pixel method are less noisy and superior in lots of lighting conditions. I understand Apple’s decision to make quad-pixel shooting the default. But I’m a little surprised that shooting a 48MP HEIF image isn’t an option, and that enabling the 48MP camera requires a visit to Settings.

Perhaps it really just comes down to Apple not trusting iPhone users to use the power of the 48MP image wisely.

Nilay Patel:

In general, the 14 Pro and 13 Pro take really similar photos. The 14 Pro is a little cooler and captures a tiny bit more detail at 100 percent in dim lighting, but you really have to go looking for it. That’s true of the main camera as well as the ultrawide, which has a bigger sensor this year and also benefits from Photonic Engine. In very dim light at 100 percent, details from the ultrawide look a bit better compared to the 13 Pro, but you have to look very closely.


This is about as different as the Pixel and the iPhone have been in a few years. Both phones grab a lot of detail and have great low-light performance, but the Pixel 6 Pro makes very different choices about highlights and shadows while the iPhone 14 Pro is way more willing to let highlights blow out and even more willing to let some vignetting creep in.


Where the iPhone 14 Pro falls down in these comparisons is really in the details of the processing: Apple’s been ramping up the amount of noise reduction and sharpening it does over the years, and the 14 Pro has the most aggressive sharpening and noise reduction yet. Sometimes it just looks bad: this night skyline shot is an overprocessed mess compared to the Pixel.

Juli Clover:

We’ve spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be.

DXOMARK (via Hacker News):

We put the Apple iPhone 14 Pro through our rigorous DXOMARK Camera test suite to measure its performance in photo, video, and zoom quality from an end-user perspective.

Kirk McElhearn:

I was stunned by the quality of the photos I shot with the iPhone 14 Pro over the weekend. Apple’s computational photography has always made its photos look better than you’d expect from a tiny lens and 12 megapixels, but the ability to shoot in 48 Mp is a game-changer.

David Smith:

I took a number of photographs with my new iPhone 14 Pro. I was really pleased with how these turned out and thought it might be helpful to share them to give a sense of the kind of photos possible with the new camera system.

Mark Spoonauer:

But a new exclusive feature for this year is a 48MP sensor for the main wide camera in the Pro models. And based on our testing, it produces some pretty amazing results.


We had concerns that the iPhone 14 Pro’s 48 megapixels would come at the expense of ‘depth’; that its sensor wouldn’t render images as nicely or capture enough dynamic range.

Here’s @sdw’s RAW vs. an edit.

This camera is incredible.


108MP Note 20 Ultra vs 48MP iPhone 14 Pro Max

Raphael Sebbe:

48MP RAW (not ProRAW) from iPhone 14 Pro is not available to 3rd party app developers. We (Hydra app) made a request today to access it.

John Gruber:

I won’t quite argue that Apple was wrong not to include a 48 MP JPEG shooting mode, but it does seem like shooting RAW on the iPhone 14 Pro produces more impressive results than with previous iPhone generations. This new main camera sensor is impressive.

Juli Clover:

Some iPhone 14 Pro owners are having problems with the Camera app, with multiple complaints on the MacRumors forums suggesting that the camera can take several seconds to load when it is opened.

Joe Rossignol:

Following the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, some early adopters of the devices have noticed that the rear camera’s main lens vibrates uncontrollably when the camera is opened in apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, resulting in shaky video. The issue does not appear to affect the built-in Camera app.

Joe Rossignol:

A strange issue causing the rear camera to vibrate on some iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models does not necessitate a repair, according to Apple.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple will be releasing a software update to fix the camera shake / rattling issue affecting iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.

Update (2022-11-02): Sebastiaan de With (Hacker News):

But what Apple has delivered in the iPhone 14 Pro is a camera that performs in all ways closer to a ‘proper’ camera than any phone ever has. At times, it can capture images that truly render unlike a phone camera — instead, they are what I would consider a real photo, not from a phone, but from a camera.

That’s a huge leap for all of us with an iPhone in our pocket.

Update (2022-11-03): Juli Clover:

The Pixel 7 Pro came out just weeks after Apple’s new iPhone 14 Pro Max, so we thought we’d compare the cameras of the two smartphones, pitting the high-end iPhone against the high-end Pixel 7.

I think the Pixel’s photos consistenly look better. In particular, the lighting in the iPhone photos often looks unnatural. This also happens with my iPhone 12 mini, after not really being a problem with earlier phones.

Update (2022-12-23): Michael Potuck:

MKBHD launched his fun yearly blind smartphone camera test last week with a new precision ranking system, dedicated website, and more.


iPhone 14 Pro came in the middle of the pack in 7th place for the overall score. The Pixel 6A took 1st place, Pixel 7 Pro came in 2nd, and Asus Zenfone 9 took 3rd.

Other devices to beat out the iPhone 14 Pro included the Oppo Find X5 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, and Realme 10 Pro+.

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