Iphone 11 Pro Vs Mirrorless Camera

By | 24/10/2022

Every September, Tim Melt steps on a stage and tells united states of america almost the new iPhone. At that place are always improvements—the processor runs faster, the battery lasts longer, the screen shows amend colors, and, of form, the camera takes improve pictures. This twelvemonth, the biggest news by far is the triple-photographic camera array on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone eleven Pro Max.

Apple’s marketing department wants you to believe that the iPhone 11 Pro will replace your dedicated digital camera. Will it? After spending some time backside its lenses, I can say that, for me, the respond is a solid no, it volition not. But I’m not everybody. I’m hither to share my findings and assistance you decide whether or not it volition work for you lot.

A Lensman’south Perspective

Many of the iPhone eleven Pro reviews you lot’ll read are written past folks who spend a lot of time with a lot of unlike phones, like PCMag’s lead mobile analyst, Sascha Segan. Let me be upfront: I don’t. As PCMag’south lead camera analyst, I apply a lot of dissimilar cameras and lenses. They’re my primary tools for imaging. The day before I was handed the iPhone xi Pro to test drive, I was wrapping up coverage on the Fujifilm GFX100, a $10,000 medium format camera targeted squarely at professionals.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

Then again, the question isn’t whether the iPhone eleven Pro makes sense every bit
my
chief camera—it’s about what makes sense for
you. To figure that out, let’s take a close expect at what its triple camera-assortment does well, where it falls short, and what Apple tin do to make it better.

Three Cameras, Three Angles

Let’s start by mentioning the standard iPhone 11, which isn’t the focus of this story. It has an ultra-wide lens to go along with its main broad-bending 26mm.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

The iPhone 11 Pro, which we’re looking at hither, adds a tertiary lens with a standard-angle view, matching that of a 52mm lens attached to a full-frame camera. It’s also sold in a version with a larger screen, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which has the aforementioned camera organization and offers identical imaging performance.

The iPhone 11 Pro’s 3 rear cameras fix it apart from previous models. The main 26mm f/i.8 lens has received an upgraded sensor, and the 2x (52mm) lens is brighter, with an f/2 aperture instead of an f/2.4. Each is backed by a 12MP sensor. The ultra-wide (13mm f/2.4) lens is all new, and for me, is the most compelling upgrade.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

In the iPhone’s Camera app, the lenses are identified as 0.5x, 1x, and 2x, which isn’t a bad way to recollect about them if you’re non someone who is intimately versed in focal lengths and f-stops.

I absolutely adore ultra-wide lenses for travel. They’re wonderful for capturing the feel of an urban landscape, and are equally practiced at getting a big view of the wonders of nature. The iPhone 11 isn’t the first telephone to include ane—LG has offered them for years, and Samsung has had them since the Galaxy S9. Simply iPhone users tend to stick with iPhones, despite having to wait a bit longer for some features.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

The Pro’due south 0.5x lens is worth the wait. Information technology shows expert detail—when zoomed in, it’south possible to read street signs at the opposite corner of the intersection in the image above. There’s definitely some barrel baloney. Information technology’south not terrible at distance—you can see some curvature in the roofs of buildings in the snapshot above. Just working shut will bear witness it off—take a look at the side-by-side shots below, which prove the issue when photographing a brick wall up shut with the 0.5x camera at the left, and a baloney-gratis view from the 1x camera on the correct.


iPhone 11 Pro : Lens Distortion

Yous have to exist conscientious about keeping your finger out of the frame when using the 0.5x lens. I was working with the standard iPhone xi Pro, without a case, and had to take care to both hold the phone steady and keep my finger out of the shot. I imagine adding a instance, or using the larger Pro Max version of the telephone, would lessen the issue.

The 0.5x lens is also fixed focus—anything more than a couple of inches away from the telephone volition be in focus, but it tin’t locked closer than that, or on any specific point. Raw capture isn’t available—information technology is for the other two lenses—and you lot can’t use Night Shot with the ultra-wide lens either.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

Apple hasn’t washed anything to change the optics of the main lens, but does country that the sensor which backs information technology is new. The actual focal length of the lenses indicates that it’due south a 1/2.three-inch design, typical for smartphones and superzoom point-and-shoot cameras. The 0.5x and 2x lenses are backed by much smaller sensors, 1/3.6-inch.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

Practically, you’ll come across more blown highlights in shots fabricated with the 0.5x or 2x versus the master lens. Likewise, images shot with the 2x view expect a fiddling oversharpened to my middle, simply that’s subjective.

Overall, I find the output from the 2x to be incomparably weaker in quality when compared with the 0.5x and 1x lens. The 1x benefits from the a larger sensor, which ameliorate handles scenes with mixed light. Y’all tin can come across how the 2x lens clips highlights in the shot of the New York skyline, backlit by the rise sun, in a higher place. Compare it with a shot from the total-frame Nikon Z seven above, taken from the same spot with an 85mm lens attached. The sensor captures an excessive amount of data, so you tin see details in the shadows without losing the color in the sunlight reflecting off of the glass and metallic skyscrapers which make up downtown Manhattan.


Nikon Z 7 : Sample Image

Apple makes the merits that the three cameras are factory-calibrated to friction match color. I didn’t find this to be the case with the iPhone 11 Pro. The 0.5x and 1x are very close, but images shot with the 2x are consistently warmer, showing greens with a xanthous tint. The following ii images were captured moments apart from the aforementioned perspective nether a clear, unchanging sky and toned using the exact same settings using the Photos app. The greens in the ultra-wide shot match what I run into from the 1x lens, but they shift toward yellow using the 2x lens.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

In terms of speed, the iPhone has long been the gold standard for responsiveness in phone cameras. The lenses that support autofocus lock onto subjects nearly instantly, and you lot can snap quick bursts of images just by holding the shutter button down. I did notation a few hiccups in field testing, however. The Camera app would lock up from time to fourth dimension, typically after switching from video to still capture, showing me a grayed-out preview screen for a couple of seconds before coming to life. It’south not something I was able to reproduce with consistency, however.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

There’southward also a front camera. It’south most useful for selfies and FaceTime video chats. Information technology works with the phone’s portrait mode, and so you can snap a profile pic with a soft, defocused groundwork, and can shoot boring-motion video too. Apple tree is trying to brand slow-motion video selfies—slofies—a thing. We’ll have to look and see if they have off on social media.

Computational Features

With a traditional camera, the start thing I practice before making an image is to turn on Raw capture. Shooting in Raw format sidesteps in-photographic camera processing and preserves more information for editing in a dedicated application. We use Adobe Lightroom whenever possible.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

You tin can capture images using the iPhone in Adobe’south Raw DNG file format, just you need a tertiary-party app to access the feature. You’ll get more than out of the phone’s camera system by using the default Camera app, though, even without traditional Raw support and processing.

The app is doing things that traditional Raw doesn’t support. It recognizes scenes that prove a big gap in highlights and shadow, activating HDR automatically. This volition make for better snapshots, especially when photographing subjects with a flake of backlight.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

The iPhone tin can too simulate the blurred groundwork expect you go with a mirrorless camera and broad aperture lens. The Pro model offers ii angles of view, ane tighter option that uses the 2x lens as its master imager, and a wider option that uses the standard 1x lens.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro
Portrait mode is better all effectually than in previous generations, but it’s non without some depth mapping woes and full general pain points in use. You’ll have to go comfortable backing up a flake from your discipline—the app will tell you to Move Further Away if you’re trying to work besides tight.

This has been an outcome with the iOS Portrait mode since its introduction, though. It happens less often with the 11 Pro, and the brighter 2x lens ways that you can use the feature in dimmer conditions than you lot can with earlier models.

Snapping Portrait shots with the wide (1x) lens is the large upgrade here, though. Last yr’s iPhone XR could do information technology with its single lens, but only with people. The 11 Pro volition snap wide Portrait shots of inanimate objects likewise.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

You can accommodate the corporeality of mistiness afterwards the fact—the phone will make a estimate as to what simulated f-terminate it uses for the initial render. And, in many cases, this will net more separation betwixt field of study and groundwork than you go with a large sensor compact, similar the Canon G7 X Mark III.


Apple iiPhone 11 Pro : Portrait Mapping Issues
The mapping isn’t perfect. Certain scenes tin can fool it, so you end upwardly with furnishings that are outside the established photographic language, like a sharply focused background visible through an opening in a bronze statue, or peeking through an opening between your subject’s temple and sunglasses. This isn’t a trouble sectional to Apple—the Google Pixel iii 40 likewise struggled with the aforementioned scenes in testing.

The other big computational trick comes into play when you’re trying to make images in dim lite. Apple has added a Dark Shot manner—its take on the Nighttime Sight feature found in the Pixel iii and Pixel iii XL. The two systems operate similarly—the phone snaps a quick series of curt exposures, and combines them to net a brighter image than a single handheld exposure could manage without introducing motion blur.

Google makes you turn Night Sight on, merely suggests when to use it. Apple takes the opposite arroyo, turning its Night Shot on automatically. Y’all practice have a modicum of control—you tin can burnish or darken exposure with the same slider that works in other shooting modes, and you can conform the duration of capture—use a shorter exposure if you’re concerned about motility blur, or a longer one for really dark conditions.


iPhone 8 Plus : Low Light Photo

I walked out my front door afterwards the dominicus had set up to peer downwards my dim, gaslamp-lit street. My iPhone eight Plus only managed a nighttime exposure, with blown highlights and mesomorphic noise, in a higher place.


Google Pixel 3 XL : Night Sight

The same shot with the Pixel 3 Twoscore’south Nighttime Sight is amend. The exposure is brighter all around, though some of the brightest parts are diddled out. The sky is unnaturally vivid, like a twenty-four hour period-for-night result in an sometime movie, the result of the phone brightening the moonlit sky.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Night Shot

The iPhone 11 Pro tackles the same scene and draws it a little differently. The foreground roadway is brightened, giving the scene a trivial more ambience. Quality is improve than in the Pixel shot, with crisper edges, and more visible item and texture. The heaven isn’t as blue, but withal has a brilliant, day-for-night look.

I don’t put excessive stock in a single scene for detailed analysis. You can’t tell much from one blown highlight or a slight shift in color balance—the same 2 devices may handle another scene differently. But they’re useful to get an thought of the big motion-picture show, and the takeaway here is pretty clear. The iPhone xi Pro can snap photos in light where the 8 Plus doesn’t net a decent shot. In this instance, it’due south pretty far ahead of the Pixel 3 40 besides, with edges that are crisper when viewed at standard screen resolution, and decidedly more item when pixel peeping.

Neither will compete with the quality you can get with an interchangeable lens camera and a sturdy tripod, just it’due south pretty amazing when you consider the convenience of a quick, handheld snap. If you’re working with intent, prepare the tripod, but if you just want to share a moment from your moonlit adventures, the iPhone gets the task done.

Where Cameras Win

Smartphones have decimated the once ample meaty camera market. Today, there are a spattering of models priced under $250 or so, simply aside from more than powerful zoom, they lag well behind the iPhone eleven Pro and other flagship handsets when it comes to imaging.

If y’all’re the type of customer who used to buy an inexpensive camera for family snapshots, vacation scrapbooks, and the like, the mod iPhone is a better camera than any low-toll bespeak-and-shoot.

But there are compact cameras with larger sensors and brighter lenses that better compete with the iPhone. I shot the 11 Pro alongside the $750 Canon G7 Ten Marking 3 and the $900 G5 X Marker II, ii models that offering larger 1-inch format sensors and f/1.8-2.8 zoom lenses with 100mm and 120mm of equivalent attain when zoomed in, respectively. Of course, while both offer tighter angles than the iPhone xi, neither covers an ultra-wide angle; they first at 24mm.


Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II : Sample Image

The G5 X has a congenital-in EVF and a good, comfortable handgrip. Information technology also sports an in-lens neutral density filter and stabilization, which fabricated information technology possible to zoom in to the 120mm setting and snap a handheld, 1/fifteen-2d exposure of the Paterson Not bad Falls. The longer exposure smooths the running water, only requires the lens to be ready to f/11.

With the iPhone, the camera app captures the same scene with a 1/750-2d exposure. In the iPhone shot of the same scene, the framing is wider, due to its meager 52mm “telephoto” reach, and there’s no control over the shutter or aperture, so a long exposure isn’t possible.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

In addition to zoom power and exposure control, a skillful point-and-shoot will win in ergonomics. The G5 X is an especially fine example. It has a handgrip, both an eye-level EVF and tilting touch on LCD, plus defended dials to adjust exposure and zoom.

If you’re the blazon of person who likes using a camera and all that comes with information technology—light metering patterns, aperture settings, shutter speed adjustments, and the similar—any smartphone will exit yous feeling unfulfilled.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

In that location are also some disciplines where phones just don’t cut it. You can use your phone poolside, but if you’re going snorkeling, yous should get a waterproof camera. The iPhone is skilful for about 13 feet of depth for a half hr, only you lot can take a tough photographic camera or a GoPro much deeper, for longer.

And, it should be obvious, merely you should invest in a long lens or a bridge camera if you want to take photos of wild fauna. You’ll get better images—especially of skittish subjects like birds—and you won’t take chances your safety by approaching the animals. A long lens will as well come in handy to snap shots of sports action from the stands or sidelines.

Editing in the Photos App

Image capture is one office of the process of making a photograph. And the iPhone delivers pleasing, natural images with is default settings. Merely information technology also includes a surprisingly powerful prototype editor in the form of the Photos app.

Images are saved in Apple’due south HEIC format, which preserves more information than a JPG. At that place are some basic edits you can make to any image. You lot can adjust exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, color temperature, and the like. Edits appear in real time, you tin can toggle each with a tap—it’due south a very intuitive interface. I peculiarly like how easy it is to give a photo a faded wait past lifting the black point—it seems like I have to go through a lot more effort to do the same thing in Lightroom.

There are too some preset looks. For color you get Vivid or Dramatic, each in standard, warm, or absurd starting points. Dramatic has a lot in common with Fujifilm’s Archetype Chrome simulation, which is as shut every bit yous’ll get to Kodachrome in a digital camera. For blackness-and-white, yous can choose between Mono, Silvertone, and Noir. Each has its ain charm—mono is a pretty faithful mid-contrast black-and-white. Silvertone and Noir are more stylized, with college dissimilarity and a warm or cool tint, respectively.

If you utilize the Live Photos feature, which records a short video clip along with your image, any edits you lot make to the photograph are besides applied to the video clip. And the edits are nondestructive, so you tin go back and give a photo a completely different look if you lot finish upward not liking your first take.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

The iPhone xi adds another cool feature, the ability to broaden the angle of view of its main 1x camera subsequently the fact. When possible, the telephone uses fires its 0.5x lens simultaneously, saving the data behind the scenes. Information technology doesn’t always happen—you don’t get information technology with Night Shot or Portrait mode—but it kicks in when there’due south enough light.

If you see the small icon, a framing brackets with a star at the corner, when flipping through photos, it’s worth popping into the edit feature to see what else is bachelor. You may find a wider frame that you like, or an entirely different composition. Do it soon afterwards you take the shot, though—the actress pixels are thrown away after thirty days if you don’t attempt to access them. If I bought one of these phones every bit my camera, I’d exist a piffling peeved almost that. Sure, it helps to keep storage open for apps and videos and the like, only information technology’s my storage to fill up as I see fit.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

Aside from that, my overall impression of the Photos app is overwhelmingly positive. Its editing feature are useful and intuitive, and if y’all like a certain look, you tin set the camera to use it as a default, without losing the ability to go dorsum to change things up subsequently. It’s like to what Fujifilm offers with film simulations and in-photographic camera Raw processing in its mirrorless X and 1000 cameras, but with a much slicker interface.

Video Features

The iPhone 11 Pro offers the same video features across all of its cameras—4K at your choice of 24, 30, or 60fps for the best quality, or 720p30, 1080p30, or 1080p60 if you’re trying to keep file sizes down. In that location’southward besides a wearisome-motion option, 1080p at your choice of 120 or 240fps.

The 4K footage looks great. The video is well-baked, with strong colors and detail. And even though it’s non optically stabilized, the wide lens is broad plenty that you lot can grab steady handheld footage.

In addition to standard 16:9 attribute ratio 4K UHD, the iPhone eleven offers 4:3 recording using the entirety of the image sensor, similar to SuperView on a GoPro, or in a square ane:one ratio for Instagram purists.

There’southward a fourth dimension-lapse feature, but output is express to 1080p. As well, ho-hum-motion is available at 1080p. While the 240fps footage certainly slows things downwards, it does lose a bit of clarity in the process.

Is the iPhone xi Pro the Camera For You lot?

Practise the iPhone 11 Pro’southward three lenses mean you can ditch a defended photographic camera one time and for all? I can’t respond that question for everyone. Information technology’s not for me, just I similar using a defended photographic camera. I savor the process of fiddling with lenses and dials, setting upwardly tripods, and all that other stuff. Yous don’t get that with a smartphone.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

If y’all’ve wanted to ditch your camera, but held on to it because of image quality, the latest iPhone is compelling. All three lenses evangelize good results—though the 2x is a footling flake behind the 1x and 0.5x to my heart. Its Portrait manner works meliorate, and is more versatile with a wider angle of view. And Dark Shot kicks in automatically to vastly amend depression-calorie-free imaging.

What if you’re in the centre, and you don’t desire to bargain with interchangeable lenses and all that comes with owning a camera system, merely still adopt the feel and handling of a camera? I recommend taking a look at a premium meaty if you typically work toward the wider cease of the spectrum, or a long-zooming span camera if long-altitude capture is your speed.


Apple iPhone 11 Pro : Sample Image

If y’all’re happy with your current camera, stick with it, and look at the iPhone eleven Pro as a supplement. Information technology’s a very capable imaging tool, especially considering everything else it does. Only it’s not the practise-all, finish-all photographic camera replacement that Apple tree wants you to believe.

PCMag Logo
Hands On With Apple tree’s Camera-Centric iPhone 11 Lineup

Like What Y’all’re Reading?

Sign up for
Fully Mobilized
newsletter to get our top mobile tech stories delivered correct to your inbox.

This newsletter may incorporate advertizement, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at whatever time.

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/news/can-the-triple-lens-iphone-11-pro-really-replace-your-camera