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Why should I care about the new iPhone 13 pro camera?

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

The obvious answer is cinematic mode. 

Cinematic mode gives you the ability to have the background blurred like in real movies. Cinematic mode uses a combination of Dolby Vision HDR and a technique called “rack focus” to seamlessly shift the focus from one subject to another, when you’re shooting video.

If you are filming a person and having focused on him/her and another person enters the scene, the focus will shift to that person. This is what you see in many movies: focus shifts from one actor to another. Apart from looking good, this helps telling a story.

Of course, you can also choose to have just one subject in focus and then blur the background, which normally isn’t possible on an iPhone, because the f-stop is fixed. See video below

Cinematic mode is great, but not perfect; it blurs the background using software, more precisely the use of the A15 Bionic processor and advanced machine learning. This means that sometimes you will see small imperfections around hair and other stuff with frizzy edges.

This is after all not real depth of field like in a DSLR, but one very cool feature with cinematic mode is that you can edit, where you want the focus, afterwards or correct the focus point afterwards, if it misses the point you would like it to focus on. Another nice feature is that you are now able to apply filters to your videos.

Blurred background with cinematic mode

Other improvements to the camera system

Apart from cinematic mode, there are also other improvements to the camera system in the iPhone pro 13 vs the iPhone pro max 12. In contrast to the Iphone pro 12 and max there is no difference in the camera between the iPhone pro 13 and max.

First of all there is the lense size. It is twice as big, this is a great thing. as it lets in double the amount of light. This really helps the camera in low light situations. My iPhone pro 13 has better iso performance than my Canon mark II fullframe DSLR, but the images are more soft and as such missing some definition.

The iPhone pro 13 has the ability to shoot macro and focus much closer. There is also 3 times optical zoom.

Key camera specifications:

  1. Primary: 12 MP sensor, 1.9µm pixels, 26 mm equivalent f/1.5-aperture lens, sensor-shift OIS, Dual Pixel AF

  2. Ultra-wide: 12MP sensor, 13mm equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF, 2cm macro

  3. Tele: 12 MP sensor, 77 mm equivalent f/2.8-aperture lens, OIS

  4. 3D sensor

  5. 4K at 24/25/30/60 fps, 1080p at 25/30/60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision

  6. Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)

I bought the iPhone pro 13 in order to get the new camera, in particular the low light improvements.

Whether it is on an iPhone pro 13 or something else, happy shooting 🙂

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