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coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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I have a 13 Pro and almost instantly I had a feeling that my old iPhone 8 was sharper. I did some tests and indeed it is. I also read of others noticing it, so it's not a problem of my unit. Do you have an older iPhone to compare? Images look slightly out of focus. The RAW image taken with apps like Halide are even softer. It's better in terms of HDR and noise levels, but not sharpness. Am I alone? I attach one of many samples. This could also be seen on the macrumors articles (looking at rocks for example). I did many tests, it's not a DOF problem, images are steady and on the same plane of focus (I'm a photographer). There's a lot of post processing in the 13 images, that almost makes them look sharper, but in some areas it's clear that in my case the 8 captures more detail
 

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RRC

macrumors 68000
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Think we are going to need more comparisons than that…

But either you’ve got a faulty iPhone 13 or something is wrong as there’s no way the iPhone 8 should be sharper.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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I can give you as many as you want

More samples here https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65514319 of another user with a 12 mini and 13 pro

Sometimes they are on par, sometimes the 13 is better, but in close range the 8 is almost always sharper. It would be interesting to see what others think, which have an older but not too old iPhone on hands. A simple picture of a written piece of paper at 50cm distance is enough

Or there’s a batch of faulty camera modules or they’re all like this
 

now i see it

macrumors G4
Jan 2, 2002
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iPhone 8 might be applying more sharpening effect after the fact in post processing than the 13. If you magnify to picture to max and examine the boundary between two contrasting colors, the one that has more highlight to the edge was sharpened more after the fact by the camera software.

I have both an 8 and 8+ and the pictures they take look a bit too over sharpened to me.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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I checked the RAW pictures of both, and the 13 is still softer, so we can rule out post processing

Do you also have a 13 and can take two quick shots to compare?

Any other phone is fine, even the 12

There are samples in the dpreview thread with 3-4 who observed the same (last post is me)
 
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RRC

macrumors 68000
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You say you checked the raw file… what app are you using to take the photo? As it’s not the stock app then.

If it’s only up close, the different apertures etc come into play on the newer phones.

Regardless, the 8 isn’t a better camera.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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You say you checked the raw file… what app are you using to take the photo? As it’s not the stock app then.

If it’s only up close, the different apertures etc come into play on the newer phones.

Regardless, the 8 isn’t a better camera.

Used stock app, then Halide, then Lightroom

It’s not only up close, but the difference is more evident when close. Even a portrait will be sharper on older phones. The 8 overall hasn’t a better camera. But all older 1x iPhone cameras probably from 7 to 12 are sharper than the 13 1x camera, that’s a fact which can be easily confirmed by the posted samples and links. Everything else is better in the 13
 
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dallegre

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Feb 25, 2016
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Looking at the samples provided here and in the dpreview thread, it's pretty perplexing to me, at least in a way that it's hard to conclude that it's an optical hardware problem. It almost seems like there is something being done with contrast interpretation (aka sharpening) at the raw level. Design choices at with optics can prioritize things like highlight/color rendition vs absolute resolution, but it's really hard to make any conclusions with so much behind the scenes processing going on (even in raw). The OP example here almost looks like a focal plane issue, but the other examples should be well within DOF.

Personally, I don't think it's a big deal, but I am certainly curious to know what's going on.
 
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coso

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Feb 9, 2012
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Looking at the samples provided here and in the dpreview thread, it's pretty perplexing to me, at least in a way that it's hard to conclude that it's an optical hardware problem. It almost seems like there is something being done with contrast interpretation (aka sharpening) at the raw level. Design choices at with optics can prioritize things like highlight/color rendition vs absolute resolution, but it's really hard to make any conclusions with so much behind the scenes processing going on (even in raw). The OP example here almost looks like a focal plane issue, but the other examples should be well within DOF.

Personally, I don't think it's a big deal, but I am certainly curious to know what's going on.
In general DOF plays a big role. But in my examples the focal plane is correct. Meaning that there's a "maximum" sharpness attainable with the iPhone 13 Pro 1x lens, and this maximum sharpness is worse than previous iPhones. The effect is the same of when you use a cheap lens wide open on a real camera. We all know all cheap lenses perform better when stopped down in aperture (like f/8). In the iPhone the diaphragm is fixed for every lens so you can't "enhance" the optical rendition of the lens and the depth of field, at the expense of light. So you're stuck with full aperture performance. I think it all is a compromise in the end. Bigger pixels and lens means more light, faster shutter speeds, better low light results, better noise levels. They probably decided to lose some sharpness and apply aggressive sharpening in post to counter this. If you manual focus in Halide, just looking at the loupe makes it apparent how you can't get more sharp than that. As you move the slider you just go from out of focus, to somewhat in focus, to out of focus again. I mean, RAW images aren't THAT worse than the iPhone 8, but for sure there's less detail in there. Sometimes though the 13 still performs better, because in the 8 if there's noise the detail is lost anyway.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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I just went from the Max to the pro and I am noticing the camera doesn't seems as sharp either, and colors not as saturated. All standard out of box settings of course...

Camera system would be identical between the two… do you have old photos to compare?
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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what app is this? this doesnt look like the stock app. i dont have blurriness issues, only for macro shots with the vignetting on the outer perimeter

It also happens with the stock app

I used other apps to get access to RAW images file thus ruling out any post processing and only evaluating optical performance

If you still have an older iPhone try taking a same picture of text then zoom in
 

dallegre

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2016
229
227
Also check these samples from a reddit post (full size image are also available from the post, but these are definitely enough to see the issue)

Interesting examples. While it's certainly possible that the optical baseline of the 13 main sensor has less resolution than previous generations, overall it seems to me like there's something computational going on here, decisions being made by AI with regard to edge sharpening and smoothing. I'm not sure what is going on with the flower example in the reddit post, that's an exposure/profile problem, so hard to evaluate. The cicada looks like an AF miss or it was within minimum focus distance, so also hard to evaluate.

My 13 Pro gets here today, and I'll be sure to compare it to my venerable pixel 2.
 
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coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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Interesting examples. While it's certainly possible that the optical baseline of the 13 main sensor has less resolution than previous generations, overall it seems to me like there's something computational going on here, decisions being made by AI with regard to edge sharpening and smoothing. I'm not sure what is going on with the flower example in the reddit post, that's an exposure/profile problem, so hard to evaluate. The cicada looks like an AF miss or it was within minimum focus distance, so also hard to evaluate.

My 13 Pro gets here today, and I'll be sure to compare it to my venerable pixel 2.
Yes, I think this examples show more clearly the difference https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65514319
 
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iphone27s

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2021
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Wisconsin
I made some tests with a iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 and it looked less sharp in some areas.

Do you think it could be a stabilizer or software problem?

To me looks like the auto focus is not working properly.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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I made some tests with a iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 and it looked less sharp in some areas.

Do you think it could be a stabilizer or software problem?

To me looks like the auto focus is not working properly.
I tried manual focus with Halide. It doesn't get better. It's the optical design of the lens in my opinion. Bigger sensor and bigger aperture lead to less sharpness. Like a cheap reflex lens used wide open
 
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iphone27s

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2021
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Wisconsin
I tried manual focus with Halide. It doesn't get better. It's the optical design of the lens in my opinion. Bigger sensor and bigger aperture lead to less sharpness. Like a cheap reflex lens used wide open

Are you an expert on lenses?

I hope it's not, this would mean that they decided on a very questionable tradeoff.

The iPhone was already capturing decent night and low light shots, if anyone wants better in those cases should use a reflex, with this change all the other shots are going to be worse.

I am on the 13 not the pro.
 

RRC

macrumors 68000
Nov 3, 2020
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I tried manual focus with Halide. It doesn't get better. It's the optical design of the lens in my opinion. Bigger sensor and bigger aperture lead to less sharpness. Like a cheap reflex lens used wide open

A bigger sensor will never lead to less sharpness. Apertures can have an effect, bit there are plenty of comparison videos by professionals who compare the 12 pro, 13 pro and 11 etc… the 13 pro wins every single time with the 12 pro near enough identical in good light, with the 13 pro better in low light, again due to the larger sensor and aperture.
 
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iphone27s

macrumors member
Oct 8, 2021
78
47
Wisconsin
A bigger sensor will never lead to less sharpness. Apertures can have an effect, bit there are plenty of comparison videos by professionals who compare the 12 pro, 13 pro and 11 etc… the 13 pro wins every single time with the 12 pro near enough identical in good light, with the 13 pro better in low light, again due to the larger sensor and aperture.

can you link one of those videos?

if you don't see the source image fullscreen on a 4K monitor, you are probanly never going to see that it's less sharp.
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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Just did another test. It's particularly bad in close-is range. You can see some "doubling" in the number in the upper part (this is a crop, the center of the photo is roughly on the bottom of the image. Softer buttons too

13p8.jpg
 

coso

macrumors 65816
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Feb 9, 2012
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Are you an expert on lenses?

I hope it's not, this would mean that they decided on a very questionable tradeoff.

The iPhone was already capturing decent night and low light shots, if anyone wants better in those cases should use a reflex, with this change all the other shots are going to be worse.

I am on the 13 not the pro.
I'm a photographer yeah. Not expert on lenses by any means. But I know how a cheap reflex lens full open performs. Not sharply.
 
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