Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,473
11,862


Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana.

Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a range of conditions and environments.



The upgraded 26mm Wide angle lens with a f/1.6 aperture performed better in low light, according to Mann. In a 30-second exposure shot with almost no visible light (above), he found that Night mode and the Wide lens worked extremely well together.

When investigating the new seven-element Wide lens for better edge-to-edge sharpness, Mann shot images with lots of detail in the corners of the frame, but did not see better results than on the iPhone 11 Pro.



On the other hand, Mann observed that Night mode on the Ultra Wide lens significantly improved low-light performance. Where the iPhone 11 Pro's Ultra Wide lens produced a mostly black frame that was full of noise, the iPhone 12 Pro delivered an immeasurably improved clear image.



He found that the low-light improvements to the Ultra Wide also made indoors photography with the lens much more viable and crisp.

Mann noted reasonable improvements with Smart HDR 3, but the more striking difference was seen in taking portraits with Night mode. After sunset with very little available light, the computational improvements of better OIS, faster ISO, and LiDAR, allowed the portrait to remain surprisingly color accurate and sharp.



Mann found that the LiDAR Scanner significantly improved low-light portraits, with the focus locking to the subject's face and creating an accurate depth map where needed.

Elsewhere, Mann praised a range of minor software improvements. In particular, he appreciated that it is now possible to lock exposure adjustment without it reverting to auto mode every time a picture is captured or when switching between lenses. This allows the iPhone 12 Pro to behave much more like a manual camera.

See Mann's full report for more images and additional information about the technical capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro's camera setup.

Article Link: Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera
 

AppleDave2

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2019
2
2
Regarding appreciated software updates "...to lock exposure adjustment..." Should the not be available also within 11 Pro's because its provided by a software update?
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660

Ukiyo Evenings

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2020
92
163
Not a fan of that landscape shot in night mode and not for the IQ at all. It's a beautiful photograph and amazing how far we've come to be able to enjoy such ability. I do however prefer dimly lit scenes to look like dimly lit scenes, and yes, I get that that particular instance is not viable example. Interested in how the phone is able to perform in low light with extended exposure without night mode.
 

miq

macrumors member
Feb 29, 2020
72
52
Nice photos for sure, but they were taken by a professional photographer... and anybody who thinks they can get shots close to this without thousands of dollars of additional equipment and software (as this professional photographer has used) is going to be seriously disappointed.
 

otternonsense

macrumors 68000
Jul 25, 2016
1,839
5,387
Berlin
I'm quite curious if he used a tripod and other equipment or apps to capture the landscape shots. The lake photos e.g. look more like 30"-60" shutter speed shots, that don't really come out of the box in the camera app. The article doesn't really elaborate.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,927
2,556
Tennessee
The photos look nice when displayed on a small screen but they are still quite grainy and show the effects of compression and software alteration. In other words, it’s still a small sensor and a lot of tricks to make it work better. Doesn’t matter if it’s Apple, Google, or any other phone device. When it comes to image quality the size of the sensor makes the biggest difference. A larger surface area capturing photons will deliver a better image every time.

Great pics for casual users, which is most everyone these days. And it gives casual users more automated success than they previously had. But it’s still a great deal of hyperbole to compare with a larger sensor dedicated camera that uses much higher quality (and corrected) lenses.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,580
3,031
Nice photos for sure, but they were taken by a professional photographer... and anybody who thinks they can get shots close to this without thousands of dollars of additional equipment and software (as this professional photographer has used) is going to be seriously disappointed.

Lovely photo's, but without him using perhaps a selection of equal phones at this price point and showing comparisons they are meaningless in demonstrating the iPhone.
 
  • Like
Reactions: miq and Darajavahus

PlainviewUVGF

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2013
767
1,482
You do know that that picture is shot in pitch black night.
In his article he explained a bit more. While it would be an insane achievement, as I posted earlier, for this to be a straight portrait night mode shot, it's still impressive. On a tripod it would have been even better. The camera system, as a whole, in the iPhone 12 Pro, seems to be doing some amazing things.

I like to push my gear to the extremes… and knowing others would likely be testing Night mode in urban environments with some available light, I decided to really push the capabilities of Night mode portraits. I shot this portrait of Esther about forty-five minutes after sundown, and it was overcast, so there was very little available light. (To give you an idea, we had to use a flashlight to see our path.)

This Portrait mode w/ Night mode 3-second exposure was shot with the iPhone 12 Pro in my right hand. Simultaneously, in my left hand, I held my iPhone 11 Pro and used the light emitting from the screen (not the flash) as an off-camera fill light for Esther’s face.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
8,580
3,031
I'm quite curious if he used a tripod and other equipment or apps to capture the landscape shots. The lake photos e.g. look more like 30"-60" shutter speed shots, that don't really come out of the box in the camera app. The article doesn't really elaborate.

This is a large problem
It's like saying, this car can do this.....

But they used special gas that's 10x the price, hired the current formula 1 racing driver, fitted expensive tyres and other things.

Yes, you, the typical owner could pay all that extra, but you are not.

It's tantamount to lying if you sell "Product A" But you need to use Product B, C, D and E to show off Product A, as most people will simply expect Product A to do what they see.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.