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wineandcarbs

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2008
904
137
I current have an iPhone 12 Pro Max. I'm trying to hold off for the 15 but may need to upgrade sooner and if I did it would be to the 14 series (unfortunately no 13s in the Canadian refurb store, except the 13PM and I want a smaller phone). I take a lot of pictures and picture quality is important to me. I'm far from a professional photographer and don't really share the pictures anywhere, though, and I don't do much in the way of editing, barring minor on-device tweaks here and there. While the images are just for me, family, and friends, though, image quality is still important to me. Some things about my camera usage:
  • despite having a 12PM I have never shot in RAW/ProRAW and will likely this trend - as such, the Pro model's 48MP would be lost on me
  • As previously stated, I don't do much in the way of editing. The most I do are minor tweaks here and there.
  • I take a lot of photos and use my phone as my main camera. Looking through my images, it appears the vast majority of my pictures have been taken using the wide/main camera (a few using the ultra-wide). I don't think I've come across any where I've used the telephoto lens. I've definitely zoomed in for pictures, but I clearly used the digital zoom (I realize the newer PM cameras have more optical zoom options than the 12PM so maybe it'd get more use in a newer model)
  • There were some occasions where I definitely would have benefitted from optical zoom; I'm not sure how frequent such occasions will be for me though. I apparently didn't think to use my optical zoom, or found the 12PM's 2.5 option not suitable, but I realize newer models have more options. So not sure if I would miss optical zoom despite my currently not using it?
  • Wondering if the lack of LiDAR on the regular models would be noticeable to me? My understanding is that it does make for improved low-light/night shots, but I'm not sure how noticeable this would actually be to me.
  • I pretty much never use flash
  • I use the phone for all my camera uses: this includes day to day photos and travel
Good quality photos are important to me, but while I admire the many amazing photos I see online my bar for a good photo when taking day to day pictures will obviously be different than those of professional photographers or even more trained/skilled hobbyist photographers and people with actual editing skills, lol. It's higher than that of many of my relatives or people who use dedicated cameras (and therefore don't care about the phone camera quality), though.

I'm curious: have any of you who use your phone as your main camera, take lots of pictures, and care about image quality enough to research things like the camera switched from a Pro to a regular model and been happy? Would you advise sticking with the Pro model given what I've mentioned above?

Thanks for reading and for any input you have!
 

akash.nu

macrumors G4
May 26, 2016
10,825
16,944
I use the iPhone as my only camera for years now. But I am more of a phone photography enthusiast and I wanted to challenge myself to take good pictures with the phone instead of my DSLR. It has come to a point where I haven’t really missed my DSLR over the last few years since I’ve sold it to push myself into this journey.

Generally if I can I always go for the best camera system possible, which means I always choose the Pro version of the devices. My logic is - I’d rather have it and not use it than not have it and miss or be restricted to what I want to achieve.

Having said that, it sounds like from your usage you should be fine with a non pro model but then even the Pro models have a regular and a max size so for a smaller device you don’t necessarily need to go non pro.

If you are on Instagram and would like some phone photography inspiration, you’re welcome to follow my page at akash_nu.
 
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wineandcarbs

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 2, 2008
904
137
I use the iPhone as my only camera for years now. But I am more of a phone photography enthusiast and I wanted to challenge myself to take good pictures with the phone instead of my DSLR. It has come to a point where I haven’t really missed my DSLR over the last few years since I’ve sold it to push myself into this journey.

Generally if I can I always go for the best camera system possible, which means I always choose the Pro version of the devices. My logic is - I’d rather have it and not use it than not have it and miss or be restricted to what I want to achieve.

Having said that, it sounds like from your usage you should be fine with a non pro model but then even the Pro models have a regular and a max size so for a smaller device you don’t necessarily need to go non pro.

If you are on Instagram and would like some phone photography inspiration, you’re welcome to follow my page at akash_nu.
Thank you! I've always been with you on the "rather have it and not use it than not have it and miss or be restricted" especially since it's my sole camera (I've been using my phone as my sole camera for years now). I think the only year I didn't go with the best camera system offered was the year I went with the XR vs XS Max, but that was because I had had some pretty major eye issues and didn't want to risk being one of the people who suffer from PWM issues with Apple's OLED screens (I know you can always return phones, but I didn't want to risk it and go through the potential hassle). The camera upgrade of the XR was still a big upgrade for me at the time.

My main reason for wondering if I'd ultimately have the same camera experience with the non-pro model / not really notice a difference with my usage is because going non-pro would obviously save me some money, lol. Buuuut given I'll keep whatever device I get for at least 2 - 3 years I want to really think it through! I'll check out your IG :)
 

jetlagged

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2012
478
141
If you want solely just an iPhone as your main camera, i feel like the pro version is the one to get.

I have iPhone 11, but using Sony rx100m6 digital camera when I travel as well. It’s so light and compact with 24-200 zoom range and gets decent night or low light pics.

I went with iPhone 11 coz at the time I wanted to save some money and use the extra money for a used rx100m6.

But I’ll be upgrading to an iPhone 15 pro this year. I’ll still be using my rx100m6 for travel
 
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phill85

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2010
211
1,187
I take a huge amount of photos, used to upgrade every year for the camera but now after having 48 megapixels, there’s no need. I went much more in on my Fuji camera gear this year and that stuff blows iPhone out of the water in 70-80% of situations
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,888
2,879
My iPhone is my only camera, and the telephoto lens is the only thing that keeps me in the Pro vs. regular phones. Rumor mill says only the 15 Pro Max will have the higher zoom so I have a decision to make in a few months… not keen on the extra size but the lens could be very handy.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,888
2,879
If you zoom to x3 using your finger gestures is this a digital zoom compared to selecting the telephoto x3 lens. I only ask as I know optical is less distorting than digital
If you finger-pinch to 2.9x, it is digital. But at 3x it switches to the other lens, just like tapping the 3X icon.
 
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Nbd1790

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2017
352
277
New York
I tried a 13 mini to compare the camera with 12 pro mainly (was considering hanging onto the mini for its size) - there is a difference. There were a few instances the 13 mini caught a better shot, but the circumstances had to be perfect (lighting being the main one, no movement etc.)

There is definitely a difference between the main camera on the standard model and the pro line. My comparison was between two generations, so I'm sure the results would be slightly different. The pro model can basically adjust itself faster and the result tends to be a better overall picture than the regular models. When it comes to poor lighting situations, the pro definitely had the leg up.

In general, you would really have to compare several pictures to see the difference side by side (in standard conditions). As others have mentioned, I'd rather have the features available to me and use them every so often than not have them at all.

I also don't use any other devices for photography.
 
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James6s

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2015
751
1,319
Cumbria, UK
It may be crazy but I’ve just sold my purple 14 pro and got the yellow 14 plus. I was underwhelmed with the 14 pro, battery life is disappointing and I want a bigger screen without the pro max price.

I take lots of photos to share on instagram and twitter and the 14 plus can capture some amazing shots which look comparable to the 14 pro (not using ProRaw) the only thing I’ve lost is the zoom capabilities.

I mainly only use the main & ultra wide cameras and the 14 plus does not disappoint in any way in this regard.
 
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