We’ve just wrapped up a ton of shooting with the new Apple iPhone 13 Pro in Seattle and in Michigan, and while we’ve previously done a deep dive into the technical upgrades the 13 lineup offers, like a main camera that’s roughly F6.8 full-frame equivalent,* our gallery here gives you a look at what the larger sensors and faster apertures allow in terms of image quality.
We’ve shot a mixture of HEIF and ProRaw, as well as macro,** Portrait Mode and various Photographic Styles modes (also in the HEIF format). We shot with the default camera app, as it takes advantage of all of Apple’s multi-frame computational approaches. It’s worth noting ProRaw is also the result of multi-frame image capture and processing, so its quality far exceeds that of a single frame Raw captured by a 3rd party app. It’s not quite as Raw as you might like – it’s a demosaiced linear DNG, and it shows signs of spatially variant noise reduction – but it still offers the flexibility of Raw since white balance, gamma and tone operations have not been applied.
All images have been output as JPEGs in the wide-gamut P3 color space, and therefore require a proper color-managed browser / operating system for appropriate viewing. This means that images may appear somewhat desaturated in Windows and Android browsers that do not support color management.
But there’s a related, more important reality here worth mentioning – still images captured with an iPhone are optimized for OLED HDR displays and best viewed on an iPhone or Apple device that supports HDR playback. Necessarily, viewing these gallery images on other displays and devices won’t give you the full experience intended (they can look a little flat on SDR displays, as opposed to how they’d naturally look on HDR displays). But as we move into a new era with new technologies, this is something we have to deal with. As such, we’ve increased the contrast on a few of these images, and noted when we’ve done so in the image captions.
*There are caveats to this statement, since microlens design, chief ray angle, and other factors vary on smartphone cameras relative to a full-frame imager, but equivalence is still a useful lens from which to understand comparable depth-of-field and light-gathering ability.
**Note that the iPhone 13 models automatically switch to a wider camera module and crop the result when you’ve reached the minimum focus distance of your current camera; hence, in some cases, we’ve included both the 1x macro (upscaled from a 0.5x ultra-wide shot) and the 0.5x (uncropped) macro photograph were you to manually switch to the ultra-wide module when you notice this auto-switching occurring. We think the automatic switching is clever for most users – who wants an out-of-focus photo? – but advanced users that wish to stick to a particular camera may find this behavior less-than-ideal.
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