iPhone 13: A Photographer's Review
Of course, this is no exception, so were going to look at the iphone 13 and how it performs, and also comparing it to the 13 pro and pro max, because there are two camera systems this year. Its a little more simple than talking about last year, so the 13 and 13 mini theyre the same the wide angle lens when you use all the time has a whole new sensor inside that gathers 47, more light thats quite a bit and its similar to what They were doing last year in the pro max. So, even if you get a base entry level iphone youre getting all of the image quality in that wide lens, its aperture is f, 1.6 and theyve moved the stabilization from the lens to the sensor shift optical stabilization, which was already really good im, not sure if Normal people are going to notice this difference, but it does subtly keep improving, especially with video, but for photos. It means longer exposures, like night mode, turn out a lot better, and that is where were going to see the biggest quality improvements when the light starts getting lower. So we went out and shot some night mode tests ever since we got night mode on the iphones. It kind of felt like magic how much we could shoot in really low light and still get something usable so right now, ive got an iphone 12 pro and 13 pro and not a lot of light.
Its actually really pretty dark back here, and the first noticing is that there is a big difference in how long of exposures i need so im finding in some examples, when the iphone 12 needs three seconds to expose. The 13 will do it in between two and one seconds that difference means you dont have to hold still for as long you dont have to wait for as long, and it also processes the photo a little bit faster after you. Take it. An interesting side effect is the sky actually shows up less because it doesnt need to expose so long, but it also has a very different lighting profile like it wants to maintain contrast, a lot more than the iphone 12 does. So i can really see it in these two photos of jason on the iphone 12, its pretty flat its kind of really pushed the hdr and made everything the same tonally, but on the iphone 12 pro weve got a lot more visible contrast, theres a lot more Shape to the light Music, if i look at a long exposure of these palm trees behind me, i can see that on the 12, its a little bit muddier and a lot of thats due to the longer exposure there is wind moving the trees. They have more time to have motion blur. I will talk about the pro models at the end, but i just want to point some differences out along the way.
The 13 has a 1.6 aperture, so it is a tiny bit slower than the 1.5 on the pro. I actually missed that during the keynote i just i didnt notice, so they are a little bit different theyre, not exactly the same on. The wide angle lets remember that most people arent upgrading your iphone from last years model. Typically, its you know every three four years, and that means youre inheriting a lot of new features you might have forgotten about. So lets, keep in mind great things like water resistance. I mean its not waterproof. Im, not gon na go underwater with this thing, but i can be around the ocean and not as stressed out because it can handle some splashes now lets just look at a few normal photos with good lighting and talk a bit about the secret sauce of apples. Photography and thats smart hdr, which is now in its fourth version. I think, if youre considering an update, if you have anything since the iphone 11, that was the real turning point thats when things got really good, it got its ultra wide lens, which of course well talk about, but smart hdr got much much better. If you have an iphone 10 or 10 s, you can really see the difference in dynamic range and thats kind of the generational jump that i can just see at a glance. So you dont need to upgrade every year but thats about the cut off point that id say that you know if you dont have an 11.
This is a good time to get a new phone now that ultra wide lens, when it showed up on the 11, was just one of my favorite things. Weve been shooting with it all the time ever since it arrived like its wider than any of the normal lenses that most photographers use, but its so useful apple says. The ultrawide system has been updated in the 13, but just looking at specs its, not really obvious. How and when i look at the photos as well same thing, its kind of crummy in low light, but as long as youre in a well lit situation. It looks amazing. But if you are tempted by that pro stick around because its a lot more exciting in there another new feature in the camera. App is photographic style, its kind of hard to explain apple did it by showing their computational photography info chart where somewhere during the image processing pipeline, they edit what it looks like and then it is saved out to the final. So its not a filter, its actually changing the raw data of the image. The way i was thinking about this is like, if you ever shoot with a bigger camera and youre editing in lets, say lightroom. When you make changes to the raw photo, it retains a lot more image, quality than, if you add the filter afterwards to like a jpeg thats. What apple seems to be doing is they are editing it at the source so that the quality stays just as good.
These photographic styles seem to be a response to how some people feel like the android or pixel photos are more to their liking. Is it more contrasty or more saturated, whereas apple has always gone with a more neutral natural look. I prefer that natural look because we always do our editing afterwards in a third party app or i add one of my luts on top of the image, so the more natural the better ill make the changes. But, of course i know a lot of people really like the way that pixels and samsungs make their photos look. So if thats, your preference, now you can change to that photographic style and just leave it on as a preset and itll always be there next time. You go to shoot, but if you want to see more samples, just follow me on instagram or twitter, i will be posting way more photos over there. The iphone 13 has the same selfie camera as it did last year, which is good, but i wish theyd keep moving forward on it, because people use it as often as the other ones the notch did get smaller. So i kind of wonder why they didnt just keep the knots the same size put a bigger camera in there, a little tip next time, youre taking a selfie remember to tap that button. That makes everything wider, so youre using the full sensor. Portrait mode still works. The same way, it looks great as long as you dont zoom in too close, because there are errors where it cuts out the edges of people, so i find it still to work best.
If you keep it subtle, you can edit. The f stop afterwards make that blur in the background a little bit less and if you didnt already see theyre doing the same thing in video this year, i did a whole video. That is a filmmakers review. Yeah, i know. Usually i just do this one video, but there was so much on the video side. I decided to split it up so make sure to subscribe, to watch that other video. Also, all of the iphone 13 models have a larger battery this year, which is a great feature for photographers, because i still burn through a whole battery. In a day, i cant go shooting and not have to charge, so the extra 1.5 to 2.5 hours is very well Music. Now the iphone pro and the pro max. They are the exact same camera system this year, which i really appreciate because i like the pro – and i typically prefer the smaller size im not missing out on any quality by not going for the max. So they both feature that 1.5 aperture in the wide lens, which looks really really good. Again, you dont really notice the difference until youre in low light, but a lot of situations are low. Light like just being in im low light right now indoors is usually relatively low light, and it does a better job of that which i always appreciate and lets just take a second to appreciate how big these camera systems are like.
If i compare the 12 pro to the 13 pro its thicker like you can really see the difference and those larger sizes are usually necessary to really make big quality improvements. So i totally dont mind they also made it thicker for the battery worth it to me. But now lets talk about the thing i was most excited about in my reaction, and that is the ultra wide because it has been massively updated in the iphone 13 pro. It is now f, 1.8, so its getting close as fast as the wide lens because, like i said it, hasnt been great in low light. So now it should be better and it is, i mean it makes a difference for sure it didnt jump out to me as much as i expected. I thought there was going to be a huge difference here, but its marginal like you can zoom in and you can find it i dont know i was kind of hoping for more okay. I think i just really found what the ultrawide is doing. That bigger sensor is definitely extending the dynamic range. If you look at some comparisons to the 12 pro, the shadows are so much more visible without bringing in extra noise. This is a bigger difference than i was seeing in the night mode and im glad to see that there is an actual improvement here that extra sensor size is doing some work. So, as weve been going on, this hike ive been noticing something thats.
Bugged me, for a while and thats the iphone camera app is missing a white balance selection. I know i already said its kind of overloaded, but in situations like this, the ground is really red and the trees are really green and it gets confused and i need to use third party apps like halide or you know something else because its not in the Default camera app thats, one of the main reasons i switch over so id love for apple to add, wet balance Music, but it now also has sensor shift stabilization on the pro so youre going to get even more stable footage by the way. This is such an underrated thing about these phones, like i wanted to talk about more in the filmmaking video, but that stabilization is so much of why iphones look cinematic is because theyre smooth, i mean, even more so than a blurry background. The other big lens update is now a three times telephoto lens, which i absolutely loved. Ive never used the telephoto a lot. It didnt zoom in enough to really justify itself in my book, so id use the ultrawide more often, but now it three times it feels like a significant telephoto, its a real zoom. When youre trying to see that thing far away, it gets closer to it and you start to get some of the compression meaning the subject and background feel closer together. That is traditionally associated with telephotos 77 millimeter equivalent, which is a pretty standard portrait lens.
I think its a lot more useful than ever the aperture did become a little slower, so its 2.8, the image quality isnt as good on that telephoto as the wide in any low light situations, but the zoom is worth it. I do think this is a big step forward, just hike to the top of diamond head first thing in the morning. This is a good opportunity to talk about the zoom range on this thing, its now 15 times in total, so thats between the ultra wide, which is 0.5 zoom, youre zooming out all the way up to three times, zoom check out the difference of how far that Means i can zoom in now Applause, Music, okay, so anya is just discovering the joys of macro photography. These flowers are amazing, they have little water droplets and all of a sudden, the ultra wide has autofocus. This is only available on the 13 pro and pro max big advantage to them, and part of the reason that i think anybody really into photography is probably going to be looking at those instead of 13 or the mini this year. Apple says it can get up to two centimeters close, but it feels so much closer when youre in there and compared to you know a real big, proper macro lens, its not a sharp, especially around the edges, but thats completely. Not the point. Youre still able to get so close closer than most people have ever taken photos before.
So i think for regular photographers that just are interested in this kind of thing. Youre suddenly going to be able to open up a whole new world of possibilities. Another photographer friendly feature in the pros is that the screens now can be brighter. I dont know if youre going to see it, if i just hold them up, but the max brightness is a little bit more. So when youre outdoors especially, is when it matters so that when the blazing sun is out, you can still see your screen and a problem traditionally has been that whenever the camera starts to get hot, it will automatically dim the screen. It seems to do that. A little bit less now, ive also heard when youre playing games same thing screen improvements, make a big difference for any visual creators and are so much of the reason that i think most professional photographers choose iphones, not because theyre always shooting on the iphone camera, but They want to see their photography on the best possible screen. Also, i had the chance to talk to some of apples lead engineers on the camera team, about the updates to the iphone 13.. What one thing i wondered about, though, was the the stabilization you had moved away from optical. What advantages are you finding with stabilizing directly on the sensor? How does that work better or whats the advantage for you guys thats actually, the way they often do it in dslrs actually and its a huge challenge? Because you now have all the signals with high speed coming off, which you have to uh sort of uh transmit with integrity and much greater reliability as well um, so uh.
It was a huge challenge, but it was necessary because the the weight of the lenses themselves was getting so large uh that it was hard to get the response times that we were after to be able to stabilize not just handshake but vibrations, and things like that. So, thats really why we switched to sensor shift and we added a whole load of uh control, loops and tracking mechanisms so that the uh, the frequencies which we can stabilize are more extensive than we had previously. So if you want to hear more that be sure to check out the stallman podcast on any podcast player out there, and if you want to know more about the iphone ive got a whole playlist of apple related videos.