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The Camera in Your Pocket How the iPhone 12 Pro Max is changing the world of Photography

My iPhone 12 Pro Max just came and I wanted to share some initial thoughts on it. I have spent a number of years using both my Nikon D 500 and my iPhone to take pictures. However, I have always thought of my DSLR as my “Real Camera” and my iPhone as the camera of convenience. Now, however, with the release of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, that viewpoint is starting to shift. With the quality of this camera, the statement “the best camera is the one I have with me” is changing from an excuse to a choice

First off, the camera system is quite amazing, especially for a phone. The stabilization on the wide angle lens is solid and taking photos with it is a pleasure..

The entire iPhone 12 line has a greatly improved camera system, though the specs may not reflect that. It is important to remember that when it comes to the iPhone (and other phones), we are talking about “computational photography” which means that imorovements to the software are just as important as improvements to the hardware.

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode is one of the more popular features of the iPhone. The software in the latest version of iOS does an amazing job of recognizing pets.

This is a picture of Stella taken using the portrait mode.

As a suggestion, try using portrait mode with the rear camera system whenever possible. The rear camera system uses the wide angle and telephoto lenses to achieve the shallow depth of field. The front-facing camera uses software to achieve the affect.

A quick self portrait I took using the front facing camera. Image was taken using the native camera app and edited using the native photos app.

Night Mode

One of the new standouts from the latest announcement are the improvements to Night Mode. And they aren’t exaggerated.

These photos were all taken using the native camera app and edited using the native photo app.

Shooting at night is not easy. In addition to the software updates, there are three new features of the iPhone 12 Pro Max that help with this.

The first is that Apple decided to make the sensor itself is larger. A lot of people have commented over Apple not increasing the pixel density. But by keeping the same number of pixels and increasing the sensor size, Apple made a sensor with larger pixels that can capture more light, which is ideal for low light photography.

The second is mounting the camera sensor to a 2-directional gimbal that enables The sensor to shift vertically and horizontally. This translates into being able to handhold shots for night mode and get sharp images.

The third is the addition of LiDAR, which uses light to produce a 3 dimensional scan of the surroundings. This helps the autofocus to lock on quickly in low light scenarios.

With this phone I am finding myself beginning to ask myself what I would reach for as I continue my photographic journey. Now, the images above are not winning any awards. But that is not because of the equipment.

With the quality of this camera, the statement “the best camera is the one I have with me” is changing from an excuse to a choice.

The iPhone will not replace a DSLR for some kinds of photography such as wildlife or sports, where is specialty glass such as long telephoto lenses are required. However, I would not be surprised to see the iPhone being used as the primary camera for, some landscapes and portraits. And with the ever-growing array of accessories, such a real glass lenses from Moment and even a dive housing from SeaLife, it becomes more versatile.

…and it is in your pocket. Don’t underestimate the value in that.

I believe this phone is a significant step towards bringing the iPhone to being on par with and a true partner with, my DSLR. And I am truly excited to see what Apple ProRAW looks like as well.

Created By
Michael Brodt
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