Apple has long been asked to take iPhone cameras more seriously. Cupertino listened, but how much carefully?

We wrote reviews of the smartphones themselves – catch up if you missed: iPhone 11 review and iPhone 11 Pro review.

This article will focus exclusively on cameras, their capabilities, changes after the iPhone Xs, and personal shooting experiences.

For each camera I will give photos, some of them will be with sliders. Warning: because of this the article “weighs” a lotso it may take longer to load than usual.


? Wide-angle camera in iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. What changed

I noticed that many people incorrectly call the main camera in the iPhone. Either “wide”, then “over-wide” is written, and you won’t understand what they really mean.

We remember. Main camera on iPhone wide angleand so it has been since time immemorial. Do not confuse wide angle (wide) and ultra wide angle (ultrawide) modules, they are completely different.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max wide-angle cameras one hundred percent identical. There is not a single hidden feature reserved exclusively for the Pro or Max models. I checked.

Shots taken without “zoom” on the main cameras of the iPhone 11 and Pro look the same on the screen of the MacBook Pro. In this situation (I’ll tell you about the zoom separately) there is complete parity between 11 and Pro.

The screen resolution of the iPhone 11 does not allow the camera photos to open up properly.

However, I do not just mention a laptop with a good screen. On the smartphones themselves, the difference seems to be not in favor of the iPhone 11, and its display is to blame. As I did not like him in XR, he is not happy here either. Not so much color reproduction as resolution.

With such a diagonal, the display ordinary “Eleventh” iPhone does not convey all the detail of camera photos just as good as the high-resolution OLED on the iPhone 11 Pro does.

I can not help myself, but I constantly see in the frames Photographic films graininess, which is not in the photo itself. I hope that next year at least honest Full HD will be returned to this branch of smartphones.


Specifications of the main camera of the iPhone 11

“Shirik” in the iPhone 11 and Pro consists of six lenses. Shoots at a resolution of 12 megapixels at a pixel size of 1.4 microns (micrometer). Focal length – 26 mm, aperture ƒ / 1.8.

Exactly the same parameters were in the iPhone Xs camera. Then what’s the upgrade?

Let’s remember: We compared photos from iPhone Xs Max and iPhone 8 Plus

First, the sensor has changed. How exactly it was improved, only Apple engineers know. Officially they said only that the technology of fast focus – Focus Pixels – now covers 100% of the matrix. It’s no wonder that…

The camera now focuses faster and more accurately. This is true, the difference between the iPhone 11 and, say, my old iPhone X is noticeable to the naked eye. Especially in low light: the “ten” misses four times out of five, while the “eleventh” almost always captures even small details in the shadows in focus.

Secondly, we have added improved image stabilization in video. There are many examples, here is one of them:

More: Star Wars director shoots short film on iPhone 11 Pro

By itself, stabilization is not a new feature. It was in both the Xs and X. This year, Apple “simply” changed both the mechanics of lens vibration reduction and post-processing.

The result when shooting handheld, IMHO, is very worthy, and for a smartphone it’s completely awesome. It is a pity that physics has not been able to deceive yet – strong shaking still causes the “wave” effect and image distortion. An external stabilizer is still needed if you are going to shoot a video for professional tasks.

Thirdly, we improved the Smart HDR post-processing algorithm thanks to the A13 processor in the iPhone 11. Due to it, the balance between light and shadows is better transmitted, which is especially important when shooting in sunny weather, during the whole day and especially in winter.

Snow is traditionally hard on smartphone cameras, and on my iPhone X it turned into an all-white canvas.

You can argue for a long time about why the change in the Smart HDR algorithm did not spread to the iPhone Xs – but we will never know the answer to this, except for the one on duty (the processor is, as it were, new, all things). Unless we think it out and leave it on the conscience of Apple.

We figured out the technical differences, sample photos and a comparison with the iPhone X below.

Sample photos on the main (wide-angle) lens of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

? Telephoto camera in iPhone 11 Pro. Nice and useful upgrade

By itself, the “telephoto” is not at all new for iPhones. It appeared in the iPhone 7 Plus, stayed with the 8 Plus, and then delighted the owners of X and Xs, including Max.

There was a case: Our photo fight. Testing iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6s – who wins?

This year Telephoto lens only available on iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. The captain suggests that it is not in the regular iPhone 11. The iPhone XR didn’t have it either.

So, I am disappointed that the TV set has remained an exclusive of the more expensive iPhone model. I can’t speak for everyone, but I shoot most of the photos with a telephoto lens. Without it already as without hands.

iPhone 11 Pro, telephoto, blur effects off.

In normal lighting, the telephoto lens gives a “free” optical zoom, which allows you not to get very close to the subject and at the same time make it the real center of the frame, cutting off everything superfluous. The absence of typical distortions for the “width” (the main iPhone lens) is also an important plus.

It’s great to shoot people, faces, animals, and even food on a telephoto due to the longer focal length. The resulting frame resembles the fruits of shooting on a good “reflex camera” plus a “fix” at 40mm. You can repeat this on the iPhone XR or iPhone 11 with their “widths” only in a photo editor, and then conditionally.

In general, iPhone 11 owners go through past my favorite lens. But what will it bring to iPhone 11 Pro buyers?

iPhone 11 Pro telephoto specifications

The telephoto in the iPhone 11 Pro consists of six lenses and shoots photos at a resolution of 12 megapixels. Pixel size 1.0 µm (micrometer). Focal length 52 mm, aperture ƒ/2.0.

What are the differences here (and not only here) from the iPhone Xs?

First, finally improved the aperture. What’s in X, what’s in Xs was ƒ/2.4, now it’s 0.4 less.

In simple words, the “telephoto” can now capture a little more light and blur the background a little more even without portrait mode. ƒ/2.0 is the minimum aperture of many full-size prime lenses.

From a technical standpoint, this is a big achievement for Apple and mobile photography in general. For you to understand, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ TV set can “drop” to ƒ/2.1, while the Huawei P30 Pro can only go down to ƒ/3.4.

This is a photo on the iPhone 11 Pro telephoto camera without the software blur effect.

Secondly, the “telephoto” now shoots photos brighter and more detailed at the same time. Yes, the fact is logical according to the previous point, but we still need to talk about it separately.

Look, here is an educational program on how a telephoto lens works on an iPhone. If there is a lot of light in the frame, then it actually works. As soon as the light “leaves”, the lens automatically turns off – it is replaced by the main camera (“wide”) with the support of digital zoom. It is worse than the natural optical in the “telephoto”: more noise, less details.

On Xs and X the telephoto was very capricious. If he doesn’t like it, then just say goodbye and say hello to digital zoom. On the iPhone 11 Pro, he became more patient. Changing the camera during the daytime is an exception to the rule both in cloudy weather and indoors during the day.

This means that photos on the telephoto lens of the iPhone 11 Pro will be captured more often on it, with a true optical zoom. The quality is better, the details are not lost in post-processing. I hope I explained more or less, I’m not very good with metaphors today.

Thirdly, portrait mode works at close range. I first noticed this in the process of shooting, then I looked at the characteristics and made sure that everything is logical with such an upgrade in aperture.

No more nervously moving the camera or walking far away trying to capture some object with a blur effect. An arm’s length is enough for the iPhone 11 Pro to successfully activate the effect.

It’s hard to explain what’s so amazing about it. It’s just that personally, on the iPhone X, the “move away” messages constantly strained me. You stand and juggle with an iPhone for 10 seconds, squat, take a step back … there is no such thing anymore, and therefore I am glad.

In general, any upgrade of this module will suit me, so I’m almost 100% satisfied here. He has only one minus associated with the night mode (or rather, its absence).

iPhone 11 Pro telephoto sample photos

? Ultra wide-angle camera in iPhone 11. Better than GoPro

Here it is, the main feature of the new iPhone. The ultra wide camera is available on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro/Max. Both technically and functionally, the module is absolutely the same in both smartphones.

This lens has never been in any iPhone or iPad model, it is a novelty in the ecosystem. Maybe that’s why she is, let’s say, a little “underdone”.

it precisely a tool, creative or even household. He has room to grow in everything, including the quality of shooting. “Super-wide” works without critical problems and fulfills its task, but there are still an unusually large number of minor flaws and strange restrictions.

The main feature of the ultra wide-angle camera is that how much information does it capture in one frame. Thanks to a huge 120-degree field of view, almost everything that a person would see if the camera was directly in their eyes is placed in the photo.

If you take a photo in close proximity to the face, your legs and the second hand will fall into the frame. Have you seen videos from action cameras like gopro? Here, here is about the same story, but without focusing on the same action.

The frames themselves from the “super-wide” are very different from the usual for iPhones. Perspective distorted, as if the picture was superimposed on the ball. Everything that falls on the edges of the photo is stretched in height. All straight lines turn into an arc along with the horizon.

iPhone 11 Ultra Wide Lens Specifications

The ultra-wide in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro consists of five lenses and shoots photos at a resolution of 12 megapixels. The pixel size is not yet known. Focal length 13mm, aperture ƒ/2.4.

There is nothing to compare them with, because other iPhones have never had such cameras. To be clear, the GoPro HERO7 action camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, but focuses at 17mm and has a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8. That is, according to technical specifications, it is even worse than the one that is in the iPhone.

And yes, in most situations, the iPhone 11’s ultra-wide does shoot noticeably better than GoPro HERO7:

Apple deserves more than praise: although the new iPhone is not an alternative to an action camera, their first lens of a similar nature by a margin overtakes the main ultra-wide in the world of gadgets, which is already seven (and more recently eight) generations.

The ultra-wide lens has been appearing on Android flagships for a couple of years now, and we’ve already compared it to its closest quality competitor, the Huawei P30 Pro. Spoiler: in general, the iPhone shoots better.

Who cares: Huawei P30 Pro is said to have a mega camera. Compared with iPhone 11 Pro

Why would an iPhone need an ultra-wide-angle camera?

one. She is very comfortable renting rooms. You no longer have to huddle in the corner to capture the whole room in the frame. In one fell swoop, you can catch three walls at once.

2. This is a great household tool. Need to quickly capture something big and not care about distortion? We don’t go far, 30 centimeters from the object is enough for it to get into the photo in its entirety.

3. It is easier to shoot architecture and nature. In addition to the creative side (do not forget about the distortions that can be beaten), with an extra wide one can hook the entire building or landscape with minimal effort.

four. The ultra-wide video is at least unusual, with the effect of presence, especially in motion. They are great to dilute the recordings from the main camera.

5. After all, this is the third camera in your iPhone. The creativity and everyday usefulness of a smartphone only increases from this.

But it was not in vain that I wrote earlier that the ultra-wide-angle camera has room to grow.

Why is the iPhone 11’s ultra wide-angle camera worse than the rest?

Compared to the other two in the iPhone 11 Pro or even the main one in the iPhone 11, the “over-width” is noticeably weak in several key points, which will not be so easy to fix in the next generations of the iPhone.

The picture is very blurry around the edges. This is a feature of ultra wide-angle lenses in general, so it’s not surprising. It’s just that for many owners of the “eleventh” this super-wide will be the first in life, and out of habit they will lament.

The loss of sharpness is noticeable, it is impossible to fight it. Approximately 50% of the frame in the center will be in focus, the rest will be “smeared”. It remains only to accept this fact and hope that next year Apple will come up with some kind of software miracle.

The ultra-wide-angle camera, as expected, does not pull out either video or photos at night.

Photographs at ultra-wide are darkest of all three iPhone 11 Pro cameras. There are several factors here. The aperture of this camera is lower than the rest (or the one remaining) in the new iPhones.

Well, the aperture is fine, but the optical limitation of ultra-wide-angle lenses additionally falls on it – the loss of aperture as a whole at the edges of the frame. This is physics, you can only partially adapt to it. As a result, vignetting is strong, it can be corrected a little programmatically, but not to such an extent that it completely disappears.

No optical stabilization at all. Oddly enough, this is not a very noticeable minus – a high viewing angle helps to alleviate the effects of natural shaking when shooting.

But still hold your iPhone firmly, especially if you’re shooting at ultra-wide indoors or in bad weather. There are more blurry photos purely statistically than on the rest of the iPhone 11 cameras.

Pay attention to the killer vignette. There is not enough light, the optics do not help, the matrix does not cope.

Finally, the ultra-wide is helpless in poor lighting. and especially the darkness. This type of lens needs a lot of light. If not, don’t expect a clear photo.

The iPhone 11 generally prefers to slightly blur the image in post-processing, rather than twisting the ISO and leaving harsh noise. Therefore, in a situation with an ultra-wide lens and low light, the edges of the frame will be very dark, and the “soap” can easily reach the center.

Overwidth is not ideal. But then again, GoPro shoots worse, and Apple’s attempt is the very first. As I said in the iPhone 11 Pro review, the presence of an additional lens is a definite plus for the owner. You just need to be able to shoot with such a camera.

Therefore, I don’t quite understand why the “people’s” iPhone 11 was presented with such a thing. Here’s something, and a telephoto on it would look much more logical, IMHO.

Sample photos taken with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Ultra Wide Lens

How the frame changes depending on the lens, iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro quickly switches between three lenses, so all three cameras are instantly available to you for any creative task. Here’s what you can expect by changing the “sight”:

Left to right: telephoto (2x), wide-angle camera (1x), ultra-wide (.5)


Main (wide) camera

Ultra wide camera

Once again, but with sliders:

?? Night photography in iPhone 11. How it works

Night mode is available when shooting with the main (wide-angle) camera of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. It also seems to work with a telephoto lens, but the reality is much more prosaic. About her later.

For me, it was a big surprise how Apple implemented the night mode in the iPhone: you can not use it whenever you want! This is not a separate “tab” in the Camera app, namely functionwhich you do not arbitrarily include.

How do you enable night mode then? Yes, without your participation. iPhone 11 continuously meters the exposure of the frame. As soon as it becomes below adequate, the user gets access to the night mode in the Camera viewfinder interface.

Now just press the “descent” and wait at least a second, trying not to move the iPhone. A warning to keep the device static appears next to the shutter button, as well as an animated timer. The resulting photo is saved to the Camera Roll with a short delay of one to three seconds.

In night mode, the iPhone captures many frames with different settings, and then “glues” them into one image. Therefore, it is important to keep the smartphone in your hand as static as possible. You will move – it will turn out like this:

If you put your iPhone 11 on a stable tripod, night mode becomes noticeably bolder. The iPhone somehow understands that you are now shooting not “handheld”: the maximum possible duration of frame capture grows from 3-6 seconds right up to 20 or 30 seconds! Then the stars at night can be removed.

The night mode itself is actually divided into two: manual and automatic. More precisely, I divided it this way, because iOS itself does not explain to the user what’s what.

Gray icon, manual mode. It is available when there is not very much light, and not critically little. For example, in the evening or during the day in a dimly lit room. Manual mode indicator – gray Night view icon in the top left corner of the app Camera.

If you don’t touch anything and just take a photo in manual night mode, it will be saved without “night” processing – as if nothing had happened. That is why it is manual: it is necessary press on the gray icon, and then swipe left on the capture timer slider that appears.

By forcing the iPhone to take manual night shots in this way, don’t be surprised by the minimal differences between the resulting “night” photos and normal, unprocessed ones. Very deep shadows can be lightened, and bright lights (for example, signs) are slightly muted. This can help improve the photo, but occasionally it can also ruin it creatively by removing highlights and shadows.

Yellow icon, automatic mode. Turns on at night, at dusk and in dimly lit rooms. The automatic mode indicator is a yellow icon in the upper left corner. Unlike the manual mode, the icon immediately displays a number indicating the recommended delay time for capturing intermediate frames.

In automatic night mode, any shot taken will be “night” by default. That’s why I call it, in fact, automatic.

If you click on the night mode icon, you can either turn off the night mode, or increase the duration of additional capture. frames from automatically selected to maximum. But the difference between the maximum capture and the automatically selected duration is not always there: you can hold the iPhone statically for at least two, at least six seconds, and get exactly the same photo. Once in a while it doesn’t have to.

Subjectively, the iPhone 11 is well aware of when to use the night mode, and when it is not required. Manual settings are needed rather for those who want to ride the slider on their own a la “what if it gets better.”

As for the quality of photos in this mode, I’m satisfied. This is not a tool for turning night photos into day ones. Rather, this is an opportunity to make night photos more diverse and pull out the really important details of the frame from the shadows.

Moreover, night shooting in the iPhone 11 works better than all Android flagships in some ways: there is noticeably less noise in the photo, and the textures of objects in the frame remain noticeable. There is no “soap” typical for night shooting on some Samsung and Huawei.

This is even more useful in post-processing: it is easy to “twist” the shadows, but returning the details and textures of objects is disproportionately more difficult.

Night shot examples on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro

Shooting restrictions. The main camera is better than the other two

There are two limitations that apply to the telephoto and ultra wide angle cameras. It:

▪ no night mode
▪ lack of improved video stabilization

With the second, everything is clear: the super-stabilization, which is praised on the Internet, was officially announced only for the main (wide-angle) lens of the iPhone 11. I will explain about the first in more detail.

Really, night mode is a function exclusively of the main lens. It cannot be activated at all when shooting with an ultra-wide-angle camera (scale .5 in the application Camera).

But if you select the 2x shooting mode, that is, the 2x zoom that usually denotes a telephoto camera, the night mode surprisingly remains available. What secret?

This photo was taken in night mode at 2x magnification, but in fact it was taken on the main camera.

And the secret is simple. “Telephoto” in the iPhone 11 Pro not used for shooting in low light. It’s easy to check: just cover its ring with your finger, shooting at night with a “zoom” of 2-4x. Nothing will change.

The iPhone 11 Pro, alas, prefers to take photos and videos on the main camera when it lacks light. To “imitate” a TV set from the main camera, Apple uses digital zoom and crops the frame.

The quality of such a pseudo-telephoto (especially noise) will be lower, because you are actually shooting a frame with a digital zoom. But on the other hand, the night mode will work, because the main camera is used.

The switch to the ultra-wide camera will be disabled when shooting video if you started recording with the main lens or telephoto.

The “over-width” also has several restrictions on video recordingworth remembering. I emphasize that we are talking about a built-in iOS application. Camera.

If you’re shooting video with an ultra-wide camera, you won’t be able to switch to other lenses until you stop recording. If you zoom in through the zoom wheel in camera iOS, the picture from the ultra-wide will be tritely cropped with the software removal of lens distortions. The quality will not improve (alas).

And when shooting video with the main or telephoto lens, you can’t switch to ultra-wide. His switch in the “wheel” cameras becomes unavailable.

There is also an option to try third-party software that allows you to shoot video on several cameras at the same time and thus receive two different streams, combining them in post-production. So by the end of 2019, Filmic Pro, for example, will learn how to do it.

Zoom and iPhone 11 (not Pro). It hurts

I have already written a lot of words, if you really read it here, respect. Therefore, I will say briefly. Although the iPhone 11 can “zoom” up to the level of 5x (five times the magnification), I do not recommend doing this.

The absence of a telephoto lens ensures that everything above the single zoom level standard for the main camera module will be filmed with digital zoom.

The 5x digital zoom on the iPhone 11 is equivalent in quality to the 10x zoom on the iPhone 11 Pro. That is, it is a festival of noise, artifacts and other indecencies.

Did I already say that the telephoto in the iPhone 11 would be more useful? Well then I won’t repeat myself. Owners of new colored iPhones, get closer to your subject if possible.

Instead of Conclusion: Seven Observations

1. If your hands are crooked, even a top-end iPhone will not save you. I think this is obvious from some of my photographs, and I really wanted to go and learn how to shoot better. It is especially difficult to adapt to an ultra-wide-angle lens, you need to compose the frame differently so that it does not turn out terrible.

2. iPhone violently unloads absolutely all applications from multitasking, one has only to open the camera. Keep in mind. The first beta version of iOS 13.2 did not get any better. Could add more RAM.

3. Deep Fusion as of October 4th (iOS 13.2 Beta 1) is working strangely. I don’t like the results more often than I’m happy. Until there is a final version of the firmware, I see no reason to mention it in the review. As everything settles down, I will compare separately.

4. The “normal” iPhone 11 has learned to shoot objects with a background blur effect, but it does it quite badly so far. Or I had a defective iPhone. One example was given above, the rest turned out even worse. Also remember about point 1 of observations, I confess.

5. The quality of the picture itself in the video, in my opinion, has not changed after the iPhone Xs. Yes, and the iPhone X does not shoot much worse. Stabilization – yes, an argument. But in general, iPhones have long been shooting video no worse, if not better than Android flagships. Here Apple remains on horseback.

6. There is something wrong with the white balance on the ultra wide camera of my iPhone 11 Pro Max. It constantly rolls into some kind of greenish-blue. Does everyone have it? If so, it’s a software bug. If not, I’ll go to the service.

7. I would take the iPhone 11 Pro if you are really fond of and even more so if you earn money with mobile photography. Without a telephoto on the iPhone 11, it’s hard and unusual, it’s needed.

▪iPhone 11 64 GB: RUB 59,990

▪iPhone 11 128GB: RUB 64,990

▪iPhone 11 256 GB: RUB 73,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro 64GB: RUB 89,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro 256GB: RUB 103,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro 512GB: RUB 121,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB: RUB 99,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro Max 256GB: RUB 113,990

▪iPhone 11 Pro Max 512GB: RUB 131,990

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