In yesterday’s keynote, September 14, Apple presented its four new iPhones: the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max. While the changes may seem minor, there is an important jump on camera, accompanied by many details that Apple did not explain in the presentation.
We are going to tell you everything that the cameras of the new iPhone 13 hide, since hardware has been completely improved And the software promises to work better than ever in true Google Pixel style: using photography and computational video.
The iPhone 13 have the camera of the iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 now have the same camera sensor as the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Remember here that, last year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max had the largest sensor in the family, above the sensor mounted on the iPhone 12. It is a sensor with 1.7µm pixels, with a lens with aperture f / 1.6.
The matter does not stop here, but they also inherit Sensor Shift technology. This is the system stabilization within the sensor itself, an evolution from optical stabilization (OIS) to an IBIS (in-body image stabilization) system.
The iPhone 13 and 13 mini have the camera of the 12 Pro Max, but with a good handful of software improvements and a better processor that will handle images even better.
In other words, iPhone 13, on paper, will take better photos than an iPhone 12 Pro Max, by having the same hardware, but with the important software improvements that we will tell you about below.
Although the numbers are the same as always (double 12 megapixel camera), the jump in sensor has been relevant, in addition to having the new optical stabilization system. However, the jewel in the crown is once again the iPhone 13 Pro.
The iPhone 13 Pro have the largest sensor mounted by Apple
What about the iPhone 13 Pro? In this case, we have the largest sensor assembled by Apple, although we continue with the 12 megapixels. In this case, we have a sensor with 1.9µm pixels and a fairly bright aperture of f / 1.5. It also has stabilization within the sensor.
There’s also major differences in ultra wide angle. In the iPhone 13 its lens has an aperture of f / 2.4, while the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are brighter here, at f / 1.8. Finally, they have a new optical telephoto lens of three times (equivalent to 77mm), which allows digital zoom up to 15 times.
Software is the star of this generation
There are four big news at the software level: Next-generation smart HDR, new Photo Styles, Cinema Mode for shooting portrait mode videos, and ProRes recording on Pro models. Let’s get into parts.
“Intelligent HDR 4 is capable of applying different adjustments to several people separately within the same scene. The software and the image signal processor are responsible for optimizing the contrast, lighting and skin tone of each one. the world comes out with its best face. ” Manzana.
The new intelligent HDR is now capable of, taking advantage of the segmentation of the elements of the image, treat each person in the photograph in a different way. That is, if there are four people in a photograph, and one of them has darker skin, the HDR will not process it in the same way as the other people, since each skin tone requires a specific processing.
The second great novelty is the Photographic Styles, user-modifiable real-time image settings. We can modify tone and temperature, in addition to choosing between styles with more contrast, brightness and more. You might think here that these are nothing more than filters, but again, computational processing has something to say.
The photographic styles are not filters to use: the scene is analyzed so that they are only applied to the subject, without compromising their skin tone or the color of the sky and other elements of the scene
In iPhone photographic styles, neither the sky nor the person’s skin is affected. That is to say: the elements of the image to which we are going to change tone and temperature are segmented, but the sky or skin is not altered.
The video portrait mode comes to Apple with the cinema mode. We have already seen this function in some high-end Android, although Apple goes a small step further, at least with the focus. The phone is capable of detecting which person is in the foreground and which person is in the background, in order to focus on one or the other.
When a person enters the scene, cinema mode detects and adjusts the bokeh. This mode can be used with the main sensor and with the telephoto lens, being compatible with the recording in HDR Dolby Vision.
The iPhone 13 Pro are the only ones capable of recording in Pro Res. The ProRes format is part of Apple’s line of codecs designed to record videos and modify them in post-production. It is a format with high image fidelity and low compression, which gives greater margin for editing.
It will not be necessary for us to go to an external editor like Final Cut to take advantage of this format, but the iPhone itself will be able to record in Pro Res.
Finally, iPhones have macro mode for the first time. In this case they do not use a secondary sensor, but they get it from the ultra wide angle. They promise to focus at a distance of 2 megapixels, in addition to allow video and time-lapse recording with the macro itself.
In short, although the iPhone 13 maintain resolution, there have been major changes in sensor and software. It is, in fact, one of the biggest changes in the camera compared to recent generations, although the final results will be seen in their corresponding analyzes.