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The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. 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.


Though there's a 48-megapixel lens, the iPhone 14 Pro models are using pixel binning to combine four pixels into one, resulting in a standard 12-megapixel photo unless 48-megapixel images are enabled through the ProRAW toggle. When comparing a 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 14 Pro Max to a 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, there's not an immediate difference in quality, especially when lighting is ideal.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-2.jpg

You will see some improvements in shadows and highlights for improved HDR, and the colors can be more vibrant on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but it's a subtle difference in most cases.

Where you'll notice the biggest upgrade is turning on ProRAW for those higher quality 48-megapixel images. There is so much more detail in the 48-megapixel image compared to the 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but file size is a major downside. 48-megapixel images can be over 60MB in size, which will quickly eat up your iPhone storage. Still, if you want to take a special photo in the highest quality, toggle on that ProRAW option and you'll see notable improvements over what you can get from the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-3.jpg

Apple is using the 48-megapixel camera for a new 2x telephoto option, which crops in to the image from the full resolution. This adds a whole new focal length to the iPhone 14 Pro models, with the iPhone 13 Pro models limited to 3x telephoto. 2x telephoto is a great length for portraits or if you just want to zoom in a bit, and because it's the main camera, the quality is better than you get with the telephoto lens even with the crop.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-5.jpg

According to Apple, the Photonic Engine that is designed to enable Deep Fusion earlier in the computational photography process brings at least 2x improvement to all of the camera lenses, but it's hard to see that improvement in full in side by side Night Mode photos from the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-6.jpg

There's less noise and less light reflection in the iPhone 14 Pro Max Night Mode photos, so there is a difference, but it's not night and day. Some of the iPhone 14 Pro Max photos can also look brighter, but there are no drastic upgrades here because the iPhone 13 Pro Max was already great.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-7.jpg

As for video, Apple added Action Mode, which is meant to mimic the stabilization you get with a gimbal, plus there are improvements to Cinematic Mode. Cinematic Mode now works in 4K at 24fps, up from the max 1080p resolution on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it's just more flexible for those who like to shoot in 4K.

Action Mode does indeed improve stabilization when you're shooting video while moving, so it's useful for filming a pet or a child while running, or taking action shots. Since it's limited to 2.8K resolution, you probably won't want to have it enabled at all times because it's a downgrade over 4K, but it's a solid feature if you need the extra stabilization. In many cases, you may not need the stabilization boost provided by Action Mode as the built-in default stabilization is good enough.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-8.jpg

The iPhone 14 Pro Max cameras are a definite improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras, but the new features for most people will only be used every now and then rather than on a daily basis. If you've already got an iPhone 13 Pro Max, it's probably not worth upgrading just for the camera alone, but there are of course other features to consider like Dynamic Island, always-on display technology, Emergency SOS via Satellite, and Crash Detection.

What do you think of the iPhone 14 Pro Max camera compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to watch the full video to see both smartphones in action.

Article Link: Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max
 
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henryhbk

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2002
123
104
Boston
Still not a patch on Mirrorless or DSLR. And I don’t know if it’s compression or technique, but 48MP look to be blurred in some images. Perhaps link the original files.
They also appear significantly darker in the above (yes, I realize that is fixable but given how many photos I take it would be annoying to have to correct each one)
 

Kylo83

macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2020
3,224
10,486
D5CADE65-E686-4284-86D1-E4642ADF6BAE.jpeg

I took this using proraw at 48mp and edited with lightroom and back to jpg and the detail is epic, I’m a photographer using canon 5D mark iv and I’m so impressed, I do wish there was an option to take a raw and normal one at the same time like on dslr
 
Last edited:

FasterQuieter

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2008
670
1,469
The 48MP ProRaw images have made me see why people buy cameras like the 45MP Canon R5. I always thought they were overkill. Being able to zoom in so much and retain such detail is kind of magical. With the iPhone though, it's a little mushy. The sensor being so small and all.
 

cateye

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2011
238
821
These days the camera improvements bandied about at iPhone reveals feel much more like marketing than reality.

"If we significantly pixel-peep, there just might be a difference! BUY NOW!"

Not arguing that improvements aren't welcomed or expected as technology improves—better is, well, better—but it's hard for Apple's hyperventilated marketing to not become more and more tiresome and hollow as the years pass. Magical and Amazing, yeah yeah, yeah. Maybe it's time for a new iPhone every other year. We'll survive, Apple, promise. Now take that extra time to really think about what you're doing instead of stretching for bullet points.
 

FasterQuieter

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2008
670
1,469
I personally love the video improvements going from the 13 Pro Max to the 14 Pro Max.
Both my 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max would occasionally flash brightly whilst filming. Like the sky would momentarily all blow out. Some kind of glitch. The 14 Pro Max has been solid in every way so far.
 
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ender21

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
297
46
Southern Cal
I took this using proraw at 48mp and edited with lightroom and back to jpg and the detail is epic, I’m a photographer using canon 5D mark iv and I’m so impressed, I do with there was an option to take a raw and normal one at the same time like on dslr
You might with something like FirstLight, assuming they've updated to 14 Pro compatibility. I get DNG + JPG output from it using my 13 Pro.
 

ric22

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2022
381
287


The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. 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.


Though there's a 48-megapixel lens, the iPhone 14 Pro models are using pixel binning to combine four pixels into one, resulting in a standard 12-megapixel photo unless 48-megapixel images are enabled through the ProRAW toggle. When comparing a 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 14 Pro Max to a 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, there's not an immediate difference in quality, especially when lighting is ideal.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-2.jpg

You will see some improvements in shadows and highlights for improved HDR, and the colors can be more vibrant on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but it's a subtle difference in most cases.

Where you'll notice the biggest upgrade is turning on ProRAW for those higher quality 48-megapixel images. There is so much more detail in the 48-megapixel image compared to the 12-megapixel image from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but file size is a major downside. 48-megapixel images can be over 60MB in size, which will quickly eat up your iPhone storage. Still, if you want to take a special photo in the highest quality, toggle on that ProRAW option and you'll see notable improvements over what you can get from the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-3.jpg

Apple is using the 48-megapixel camera for a new 2x telephoto option, which crops in to the image from the full resolution. This adds a whole new focal length to the iPhone 14 Pro models, with the iPhone 13 Pro models limited to 3x telephoto. 2x telephoto is a great length for portraits or if you just want to zoom in a bit, and because it's the main camera, the quality is better than you get with the telephoto lens even with the crop.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-5.jpg

According to Apple, the Photonic Engine that is designed to enable Deep Fusion earlier in the computational photography process brings at least 2x improvement to all of the camera lenses, but it's hard to see that improvement in full in side by side Night Mode photos from the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-6.jpg

There's less noise and less light reflection in the iPhone 14 Pro Max Night Mode photos, so there is a difference, but it's not night and day. Some of the iPhone 14 Pro Max photos can also look brighter, but there are no drastic upgrades here because the iPhone 13 Pro Max was already great.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-7.jpg

As for video, Apple added Action Mode, which is meant to mimic the stabilization you get with a gimbal, plus there are improvements to Cinematic Mode. Cinematic Mode now works in 4K at 24fps, up from the max 1080p resolution on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it's just more flexible for those who like to shoot in 4K.

Action Mode does indeed improve stabilization when you're shooting video while moving, so it's useful for filming a pet or a child while running, or taking action shots. Since it's limited to 2.8K resolution, you probably won't want to have it enabled at all times because it's a downgrade over 4K, but it's a solid feature if you need the extra stabilization. In many cases, you may not need the stabilization boost provided by Action Mode as the built-in default stabilization is good enough.

iphone-14-pro-max-vs-13-max-8.jpg

The iPhone 14 Pro Max cameras are a definite improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras, but the new features for most people will only be used every now and then rather than on a daily basis. If you've already got an iPhone 13 Pro Max, it's probably not worth upgrading just for the camera alone, but there are of course other features to consider like Dynamic Island, always-on display technology, Emergency SOS via Satellite, and Crash Detection.

What do you think of the iPhone 14 Pro Max camera compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to watch the full video to see both smartphones in action.

Article Link: Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max
When viewed on an iPhone SE almost all of the 14's photos look worse (darker, blurrier, greyer)
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
950
2,995
Edinburgh, UK
Still not a patch on Mirrorless or DSLR. And I don’t know if it’s compression or technique, but 48MP look to be blurred in some images. Perhaps link the original files.
I don't think you can compare a smartphone to a mirrorless or DSLR still. Mirrorless tech is advancing just as fast. What Apple and other smartphones have rendered irrelevant is cheap point-and-shoot cameras.

I do photography as a hobby, and the fact I have a camera as good as my 14 Pro Max in my pocket all the time is a huge advantage. I'll still use my trusty Canon 7D MKII (which is not a high-end camera by any stretch) but it's still going to take a better picture than my iPhone.

"The best camera is the one you have with you." - not sure who said it, but it's true. :)
 

drcre8tive

macrumors regular
Jul 28, 2014
123
208
New Orleans
Comparing a raw image to a non-raw iPhone photo will almost always lead to disappointment in quality. The quality is there, you just have to coax it out. The whole point of 48MP ProRaw images is that you have MORE pixels... making zooming and re-cropping possible.

Emphasize the RAW part; these are not A.I. wizard-stitched and over-saturated and light/shadow boosted images, they contain straightforward RAW image data that can be processed in an image editor that handles RAW data (like lightroom / photoshop). That's where you adjust exposure, shadows, brightness, contrast and crop.
 

Unggoy Murderer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2011
950
2,995
Edinburgh, UK
It's a nice incremental improvement, but aside from 2x zoom and action mode, nothing earth shattering. I suspect the periscope lens rumored for iPhone 15 Pro Max (Ultra) will be the next big thing.
To be honest, maybe 1 in 100 of my pictures would benefit from a better zoom range. I'd rather see further improvement to sensor and stabilisation.

Obviously everyone is different and has different wants / needs, but I view the 10x periscopes as gimmicks. The image quality I've seen isn't anything to write home about, and I'd take quality over another zoom level.
 

CalMin

Contributor
Nov 8, 2007
1,171
1,473
Still not a patch on Mirrorless or DSLR. And I don’t know if it’s compression or technique, but 48MP look to be blurred in some images. Perhaps link the original files.

That is down to physics. A much larger lens simply collects more photons. Smartphone cameras compensate computationally and can achieve remarkable results, but they can't compete with great optics and physically larger sensors.

Also the 48MP RAW images need to be manipulated for sharpness which is subjective. The blurriness you see is most likely due to improper sharpening of the image in post, rather than an inherent softness in the picture.
 

vtuberalpha

macrumors regular
Sep 5, 2021
131
375
Germany
I personally love the video improvements going from the 13 Pro Max to the 14 Pro Max.
What video improvements are we talking about here?

They claim their sensor-shift OIS is better but it looks the same to me maybe a hair better. I couldn't care less about that gimmicky 4K Cinematic Mode or Action Mode since I'm not a maniac shooting video while running.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2009
2,891
3,680
Chicago
View attachment 2083722
I took this using proraw at 48mp and edited with lightroom and back to jpg and the detail is epic, I’m a photographer using canon 5D mark iv and I’m so impressed, I do wish there was an option to take a raw and normal one at the same time like on dslr
This is what I think lots of people are missing -- it's not that a ProRAW photo will necessarily look better at first (in fact, it may look worse b/c it is unprocessed), but rather that you can do a ton with that extra detail once you sit down with good software.

This may be the iPhone version where "Pro" actually refers to professional use (or users who want to do that extra work), while ordinary users may be better off with the non-Pro (or prior) model.
 
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