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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Comparing the iPhone 13 models to the iPhone 12 models makes the iPhone 13 update seem uninspired and unnecessary, but for those who have an older iPhone, it's a different story, especially when it comes to camera quality.

We compared the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 8, and iPhone 6, and have come to the conclusion that if you have an older model and take a lot of pictures, the iPhone 13 is worth the upgrade. Check out our video up above and our comparison photos to see if you agree.


It will come as no surprise that the iPhone 13 outperforms the iPhone 6, and this is where we see some of the starkest differences. The iPhone 8 is closer in quality and has a color profile that's actually quite similar to the iPhone 13, but it's still a clear difference in lower lighting conditions.


With the iPhone 11 Pro, it's harder to see the improvements in photos with bright, even lighting, but the iPhone 13 does a much better job with lights at night (there's less lens flare) and also with texture. The Deep Fusion feature that kicks in primarily with indoor lighting makes a big difference in texture quality.


The iPhone 11 Pro has some haze issues that tend to affect most photos, and it's more noticeable at night and in the afternoon when the sun is low. Earlier iPhones had a lot of trouble with accurately exposing different areas with uneven lighting, and Apple has made a lot of improvements in this area over the last few years.


The iPhone 13 excels with color accuracy, including skin tones, outperforming all of the older iPhones. It's also fantastic at HDR, and everything is super sharp, even when lighting is less than ideal.


Want to see higher resolution versions of our comparison photos to get a closer look at the differences? We've uploaded them here, and make sure to watch the video for the full comparison. Let us know in the comments what you think and whether the iPhone 13 is worth upgrading to.

Update: There have been multiple comments about the camera lens of the iPhone 11 Pro used in the video. MacRumors videographer Dan cleaned the lenses of each camera prior to taking photos to ensure they were smudge free, and there were no scratches, smudges, or other visible camera defects.

We've also gone back and looked at photos captured by other iPhone 11 Pro devices and have found the same softness and lens flare issues consistently in certain lighting conditions, such as when there's a side lighting element or harsh sun filtering into the lens. While it is possible there is an internal defect with the lens, we do not believe this to be the case. It is worth noting, though, that this "haze" effect is not seen in all lighting conditions.

Article Link: iPhone 13 Camera Comparison: If You Have an Older iPhone, It's Time to Upgrade
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macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2007
Comparing the iPhone 13 models to the iPhone 12 models makes the iPhone 13 update seem uninspired and unnecessary

I don’t like this regurgitated line reviewers use to avoid comparisons to the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 is a cheaper option for older iPhones to upgrade to that is still sold by Apple. If I had an iPhone 6, I’d surely want to know if an iPhone 12 would get me nearly all the camera improvements at a lower price. Macrumors isn’t the only site saying this… pretty much everyone is. Apple probably told them to frame their reviews this way.

Spoiler: since reviewers are avoiding comparing the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 because it’s “too similar”, the iPhone 12 is probably worth the cost savings over the iPhone 13 for people still on older iPhones


macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
Florida, USA
iPhone 11 lens is dirty. You need to clean lenses before shooting any photos. Especially if it's a device comparing review. I know that iPhone 13 camera is great and it's best, but iPhone 11 camera is not that bad.
Yeah it's practically become a reflex to wipe my phone's camera on my shirt or pants before shooting. Been doing that since I had a Palm Pre!


macrumors 68040
Oct 11, 2012
Undisclosed location
First thing in mind.
Why is the child censored on the thumbnail of video for the iPhone 13? ? [/sarcasm]
(Friday jokes!)

Never mind, the video thumbnail had been updated. ?
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macrumors 6502a
Dec 22, 2013
I have an 11 for work and a 13 Pro Max. The 11 doesn't have that haze issue; clearly the lens is dirty or busted. Come on. :)

Other than that, the 12 and 13 are mostly identical except for low light edge cases, where the 13 Pro blows the 12 Pro away in many cases. The video is also just even better on the 13, with better stabilization and exposure than even the 12.

The 11 is still quite decent... in bright light. The 6-7-8 definitely show their age now. They look considerably worse in detail, tonality, noise, etc.
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