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Cameras for iPhone 13: Here are the most important upgrades for the new iPhones

Apple’s iPhone 13 announcement revealed several new features and upgrades, including one of the most crucial features of any phone – cameras.

Every camera on the back of the iPhone 13 series has been refreshed, with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max getting a few more tricks, befitting their Pro status. The most exciting news for all four new iPhones is Cinematic Mode for Video, which automatically tracks your subject and switches focus on the fly, but there are plenty of other new features and upgrades to the game. camera to explore.

The A15 Bionic chipset that runs the iPhone 13 series has a new image signal processor and a new video encoder and decoder. This will help with the computer photography of the iPhone. For example, Smart HDR 4 enables more realistic lighting, contrast and details in images, even for groups of people or in unusual lighting conditions.

We’ve broken down all the new features Apple announced for the iPhone 13 series cameras. Read on to see what they all are and how they’ll make your photos and videos better than ever.

Main camera (wide): bigger, brighter, more stable

Starting with the main rear camera, Apple increased the pixel size of the iPhone 13 and 13 mini to 1.7 microns (µm), the same size as the sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Bigger pixels mean more bright information can be captured – up to 47% more than before, according to Apple – for brighter, more vivid images.

IPhone 13 Pro models again get even larger pixels for their main cameras, down to 1.9 µm. It also received a new, wider f / 1.5 aperture, to maximize the light the sensor can capture.

Apple is also adding sensor-shift stabilization to the main camera on all models, having introduced the feature last year on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Sensor Shift Stabilization allows the sensor to move instead of the camera lens. This makes your images less blurry and your videos smoother, so having it on the cheapest new iPhone is a big bonus.

Ultra-wide camera: a refreshed sensor with the Pro macro

IPhone 13 pro camera macro shot

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 13 series ultra-wide camera has been given a new sensor to help it perform better in the dark. This matches Apple’s announcement that night mode now works on all cameras, rather than the main and selfie cameras. Now you won’t have to choose between seeing the subject in low light conditions and trying to put everything in the frame.

For Pro models, the ultra-wide camera has been upgraded to a 6-element lens and also has a wider f / 1.8 aperture. Adding more elements to a lens can help correct distortion and aberrations in images, which are more noticeable in ultra-wide shots; while the wider aperture will increase the brightness of your final images.

The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max also have access for the first time to autofocus with the ultra-wide lens. Just like with the main sensor, this would make it easier to train your camera on a subject.

These upgrades are also what enables the new macro photography capability on the iPhone 13 Pro models. Apple claims you’ll be able to take close-ups up to 2cm away from your subject, which looks perfect for anyone who likes to capture finer details or small objects.

Telephoto camera: get a little closer on iPhone 13 Pros

The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max models both received increased magnifications from their telephoto sensors. Both are now capable of up to 3x optical zoom, an increase of 2x on the iPhone 12 Pro and 2.5x on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This still lags behind competing phones, which can handle 5x or even greater optical zoom, but will still allow easier and clearer shots of distant subjects.

Cinematic Mode: Sophisticated Focus and Better Video Quality

Smartphone videographers will be very interested in Apple’s new cinematic video mode, available on all four iPhone 13 models.

IPhone 13 Cinematic Mode

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple showed some elegant footage in its presentation, showing how the mode can handle movie-style autofocus racks (a quick change of focus from background to foreground or vice versa), or let the user will lock onto a target himself. If you are concerned about the ultimate quality, you can record Dolby Vision HDR video at up to 4K and 30 frames per second on any of the cameras, and view it in the preview window as you record.

It should allow you to take dramatic clips, similar to what you can already do with portrait photo mode.

Cinematic iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Speaking of portrait mode, portrait photos and cinematic mode video may have the level of bokeh (background blur) changed after shooting in the Photos app or iMovie respectively. This editing option will also be available later in the macOS version of iMovie and Final Cut Pro. This sounds good for the undecided ones among us who don’t know which level we prefer, or the meticulous users who want to realize their artistic vision.

Photographic styles: more than just a filter

For users who really want to customize their shots, Apple offers a new Photo Styles option accessible from the main screen of the Camera app on all four iPhone 13 models. This offers preset effects that appear in real time. on the screen, essentially letting you find the perfect filter while you’re shooting. These are also customizable if you’re not quite happy with the quartet of options that Apple provides.

iPhone 13 Photographic Styles

(Image credit: Apple)

ProRes: coming soon to an iPhone 13 Pro near you

IPhone 13 Video Specifications

(Image credit: Apple)

The other great video feature, but one that won’t come until later, is ProRes. This is a commonly used professional-level video format that offers greater color accuracy, less compression and retains more metadata from the original recording, allowing editors to make more drastic changes in post-production. Once launched, it will be available on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

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