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This article was published on September 15, 2021

Everything new with the iPhone 13’s cameras

Video in focus

Everything new with the iPhone 13’s cameras

Apple announced the iPhone 13 series of flagship devices last night. While there weren’t any jaw-dropping updates from the iPhone 12, Apple used the event as an attempt to convince people that the new devices had much better cameras.

Let’s take a look at what’s new in iPhone 13 cameras.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

While the specifications of the main lens remain the same, Apple has adopted the new 1.7µm pixel size as compared to 1.4µm in the iPhone 12 camera. This will result in photos with better details and texture.

Apple claims that the new pixel size will allow the sensors to capture 47% more light. That means you could take better photos in low-light conditions.

The company is also bringing sensor-shift optical image stabilization — introduced first in last year’s Pro Max model — to the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini. This tech works on stabilizing the actual sensor rather than the lens, so effectively resulting in smoother videos. This is handy if you have kids or pets, and have to run around the house trying to capture some footage.

Apple spent a good part of the presentation talking about the new Cinematic mode on the new iPhones. The gist of this mode is allowing you to change focus during and after shooting, while applying dramatic depth effects on people, objects, and pets in the frame.

You can read more about the new Cinematic mode in my colleague Napier’s story.

The iPhone 13 Cinematic mode
The iPhone 13 Cinematic mode

The firm said that it’s introducing Smart HDR4, powered by the new A15 Bionic chip, which will result in improved color, contrast, and lightning, and an enhanced night mode.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

All sensors on the iPhone 13 Pro have received an overhaul. The wide sensor now has an aperture of f/1.5 as compared to f/1.6 from the last year. Plus, the pixel size is now a massive 1.9µm instead of 1.4µm. This could make for stunning photos in all conditions. 

The telephoto camera now supports 3x optical zoom (vs 2x optical zoom on iPhone 12 Pro). What’s more, the ultrawide camera has a larger aperture of  f/1.8 to capture more light. It can be also used for snapping images in the macro mode, where the object in focus could be as far as 2cm.

The iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 13 Pro

Just like the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini, the Pro models also feature the new cinematic mode and Smart HDR4 improvements.

In terms of video, Apple is introducing support ProRes, a high-fidelity video codec that could be used by professionals to deliver commercials and video broadcasts. 

In the new iPhone 13 series, there’s not much of a visible upgrade in terms of still photography. But the updated sensors in the Pro models could prove me wrong.

However, everyone would be looking forward to trying out new video upgrades, with the Cinematic mode taking the center stage. I, for one, want to make a movie with my cats. Don’t worry, I’m not naming it Cats.

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