iPhone XS Max XR and XS Camera Differences? Portrait mode

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by sddabrow, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. sddabrow macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2011
    Quick question - I understand with the XR we will lose the telephoto second camera for no zoom capabilities. But all other features will remain the same?

    For example, when I take a portrait picture, it seems to zoom in significantly. Is the XS using the telephoto zoomed 2nd sensor to take that image? Will we need to be “closer” with the XR to capture the same photos?

    I absolutely love the photos this XS is taking, but will likely be swapping to the XR due to the PWM flickering, so just trying to fully understand the camera differences. Not too concerned with the optical zoom, so if that’s all we are losing, I will be ecstatic.

  2. Ffosse macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2012
    The budget phone will always have fewer capabilities.
  3. gwhizkids macrumors 601


    Jun 21, 2013
    I’ll try to give a *helpful* response.

    The Xs (and Max) like the X, 8+ and 7+ before it, uses the dual lenses and parallax to determine what is in the foreground and what is in the background, much the same way your eyes and brain do. With only one lens, the Xr will do this using the autofocus phase detection pixels in the sensor to determine depth. Same idea but done computationally rather than physically (well, it is physical but at a much smaller scale, so it is enhanced computationally). Google does this with the single lens Pixel phones.

    My understanding from the keynote is that you will still be able to use depth effects, like portrait mode. It just may not be at the same quality level as using a dual lens setup. I’m sure it will still be quite good, and I’m going to venture a guess that most people will not notice the difference. Too soon to tell for sure, though.
  4. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    I don't think you can assume the "quality" of the XR's portrait mode will be any worse, because from what I've seen, the quality of the XS' and XS Max's portrait mode is still not great. There are still a lot of problem with portrait mode's inability to accurately find edges and blurring out foreground features of the portrait's subject. This is a problem that occurred with the introduction of portrait mode on the 7 Plus, and which still exists in the 2018 models. Maybe it's a bit better in the newer models, but it's still a huge problem. However, that relates to the computational aspect of the portrait mode.

    The other aspect that many people don't talk about is the choice of lens used. By default, portrait mode on the flagship dual-lens phones utilizes the 2X telephoto lens. Likely one main reason this is done is because closeups with telephoto lenses look better to humans than closeups with wide angle lenses. Wide angle lenses distort the subject up close, so that noses are too big, etc. The technical quality of the image may be fine, but the image perspective is different.

    I don't know how significant this will be on the XR, but I suspect it will be noticeable if you try to take too close of a portrait. I note from Apple's marketing materials that while they have very close closeups for portrait mode for the XS/Max, they don't for the XR, probably specifically for this reason.

    That said, for my kids one of the annoyances I had with portrait mode was the forced utilization of the telephoto lens. Sometimes I just wanted a wider angle portrait for full body shots, etc.
  5. Caesars macrumors regular

    May 16, 2013
    I believe I read about great results with the pixel and its single firing camera. If googles manufacturer can do it, apple can do it.

    Whether or not apple would give up profit percentages is unknown.
  6. gurase macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2015
    I have heard that portrait mode on the XR is optimized for human subjects and won’t work on animals or objects. Hoping this isn’t true or is eventually fixed in a software update.

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5 October 7, 2018