I tested the Apple iPhone 13 Pro. The quality of the camera is ridiculous.

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I’ve been reviewing iPhones for seven years now and start each story with a similar warning: if you want a camera system that you can use for professional photography, don’t spend your money on the latest iPhone. Keep your old phone and invest in a full frame mirrorless camera instead.

However, if you like the way an iPhone fits in your pocket and primarily use its camera for Instagram snaps, the new 13 Pro (starting at $ 999) is a worthy investment. Apple let me test the phone in mid-September, right after the company’s annual talk and before the phone went on sale, and I filmed non-stop to get a feel for the improved functionality of the device. Photo. Below are a few photos I took with the phone, along with a breakdown of the upgrades that I’m most excited about.

Macro photography

(Photo: Jacob Schiller)

If you were shooting with a regular camera and wanted to pack wide, super-wide, and portrait lenses, you would easily fill a camera backpack. Apple, however, has managed to add all of those lenses to the back of a phone, and this year it has added a macro lens to the mix. However, the macro does not appear as its own lens on the back of the phone; It works through the ultra-wide lens and automatically turns on when you place the phone near an object. Apple says you can get within an inch of anything – a flower, an insect, the bark of a tree – to take a photo. After testing this mode, I found that the phone takes crisp, vibrant photos that bring a whole new perspective to what is considered photographic around us. Macro photography isn’t something I use every day, but it was fun knowing I had a macro lens in my pocket to go out on occasion.

A longer telephoto lens

(Photo / s: Jacob Schiller)

When Apple launched its 56-millimeter zoom lens on the iPhone 7 Plus, I was delighted to have a longer lens on my phone. Having said that, I was also hesitant about words telephoto Where Zoom, because a 56 millimeter lens is not a true lens of this type by traditional photographic standards. Fortunately, the brand has found ways to pack longer lenses in subsequent phones. Last year it gave us a 65-millimeter lens on the 12 Pro Max, and now the 13 Pro comes with a 77-millimeter lens, which is pretty close to 85 millimeters, or the gold standard for a portrait telephoto lens. I loved having a 77mm lens because it makes your subject look more natural (there is no wide-angle distortion of their face or body), creates a tighter stillness so your subject fills in more of the frame and does a great job of creating bokeh. With a real portrait lens in my pocket, it was fun pushing myself to really work on this type of photography. My kids, wife and dogs are fed up with me telling them to stop for a portrait, but I’ve always found my family’s portraits to be my most cherished photos.

The right balance between software and hardware

The iPhone 13 Pro can take low-light photos with good detail and without too much pixelated noise. (Photo: Jacob Schiller)
(Photo: Jacob Schiller)

Apple uses a lot of smart software to improve iPhone camera. Night mode, for example, is an automatic bracketing feature that helps you shoot images in low light. Smart HDR (High Dynamic Range) is another bracketing feature that uses machine learning to teach the camera to take different exposures for different parts of each photo, ensuring you get a well-balanced shot in harsh conditions. difficult light.

But software is only half of the equation. As I hammered out my iPhone 12 Pro review, you also need high-quality hardware like lenses and sensors to take great photos. These components drink the light and allow the software to work its magic. Apple lenses are sharp and fast, and the brand has also steadily improved its sensors. A professional-grade full-frame sensor hasn’t been squeezed into an iPhone yet, but the sensor behind the Pro 13’s 26-millimeter-wide camera is the company’s largest sensor yet, and it makes a difference. . Coupled with a faster f / 1.5 aperture, this sensor allows the wide camera lens to capture 2.2 times more light than the 12 Pro’s wide camera and almost 1.5 times more light than the wide camera of the 12 Pro Max. More light equals more data, which translates to better overall image quality, more detail, less grain in low-light photos, and the ability to print larger, higher-quality photos at from your phone. A larger sensor also allows for faster shutter speeds with various lighting settings for sharper images. Thanks to a new sensor and faster aperture, Apple also claims that the ultra-wide camera absorbs 92% more light.

Photographic styles or filters

Shooting without filter (Photo: Jacob Schiller)
Shot with the rich-hot filter (Photo: Jacob Schiller)

Filters, like the ones you can apply with Instagram, seem to be getting old and out of fashion. They were all the rage five years ago, but then photographers started turning more to natural-looking photos. Now, filters are making a comeback and Apple is paying attention. With the introduction of Photographic Styles, the Pro 13 can automatically apply one of four filters to every photo you take – there’s no need to go back and apply them manually.

Each filter (vibrant, rich contrast, rich hot and cold) can be manually controlled for intensity, and Apple’s suggested settings ensure photos don’t look overdone. Apple also designed the filters to enhance a photo without disturbing your subject’s skin tone, a smart new addition.

Other things you should know

On the video side, the biggest upgrade is what’s called Cinematic Mode, which lets you add bokeh to your footage. In this mode, the camera will lock onto the faces in your frame and choose the subject to focus on, based on who is looking at the camera. (You can also control where the camera focuses by tapping the screen.) Meanwhile, everyone in the frame becomes out of focus, using a shallow depth of field. It’s a cool feature that can enhance your storytelling, and it’s a shooting style that has long been used by professional filmmakers.

Apple claims the 13 Pro offers up to 90 minutes more battery life compared to the 12 Pro, which is ideal if you take photos all day. The brand also offers a one-terabyte storage option, so you’re almost guaranteed to have enough space on your phone, unless you’re constantly shooting long, high-resolution video clips. And unlike the 12 Pro Max, which had a faster wide camera lens, the cameras on the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are identical. I like this mirroring because I prefer to carry the smaller Pro instead of the Pro Max as it takes up less space in my pocket and is much easier to use with one hand.

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