The iPhone 14 Pro has been out for more than a month now. While early reviewers were impressed with this iPhone’s new camera system — and even traveling photographers were praising this smartphone — Halide creator Sebastiaan de With just shared his long-term review of the iPhone 14 Pro’s cameras. In this comprehensive and detailed analysis BGR highlights this camera review, prepared by an expert photographer.
For Halide’s creator, the iPhone 14 Pro’s front camera offers “far sharper shots with far superior dynamic range and detail.” With autofocus, this camera delivers higher resolution even with mixed light or backlit subjects.
While the sensor is larger and there is now variable focus (…), don’t expect nice bokeh; Autofocus simply allows for much greater sharpness throughout the frame with a slight background blur if your subject (a face no doubt) is close enough. Mostly it is subtle and very beautiful. Notably, the front-facing camera can focus fairly closely – which can result in a pleasing shallow depth of field between your close-up subject and the background
Ultra-wide also got better on the iPhone 14 Pro
While Apple has made significant ultra-wide lens upgrades with the iPhone 13 Pro, the company is also offering a much larger sensor, new lens design, and higher ISO sensitivity. Although the bezel has taken a step back, the larger sensor covers that step down.
De With calls the footage on the iPhone 14 Pro “far more detailed and showed less visible processing” than its predecessor.
I believe that both Apple’s new Photonic Engine and the larger sensor contribute to much more detail in the frame, making cropped image capture possible. The “my point of view” perspective that ultra-wide angle offers puts you in the action, and a lack of detail makes each shot less immersive.
Is everything perfect? Since the main camera is getting better and better, it is comparatively soft and poor in detail. Its 12-megapixel resolution suddenly feels almost restrictive. Corners are still heavily distorted and sometimes soft, despite the system’s excellent automatic processing to prevent it from looking too fisheye.
He also discusses low-light photos and macro photography improvements.
The main camera changes the game with a resolution of 48 MP
Although regular users can’t shoot at 48MP, professionals can use Apple’s ProRAW to take advantage of the larger 48MP sensor in the main camera. Here’s how Halide’s creator describes shots taken with this new iPhone 14 Pro camera:
I didn’t see a huge increase in noise or image quality when shooting at 12MP. I hardly bothered to dial down to 12MP, instead dealing with the several second delay when capturing ProRAW 48MP images. But most of all I found a Soul in the images from this new 48MP RAW mode that just put me in high spirits. That’s huge – and it’s not just the file size I’m talking about. This camera can take beautiful photos, period, period. Photos that are not good for an iPhone. photos that are Great.
And yes: 48-megapixel recording is slow. We’re talking up to 4 seconds slower recording time. The 48MP image playback and quality, while slow, is worth the speed tradeoff to me. For now, it’s also worth noting that the iPhone 14 Pro only captures 10-bit ProRAW files – even third-party apps can’t unlock the previous 12-bit ProRAW capture mode, and “normal” native RAW is at that resolution too not available.
The telephoto lens is in the works with the iPhone 14 Pro
In terms of hardware, the telephoto lens of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro is identical. The new Photonic Engine processing feature greatly improves the experience with this iPhone.
While these two cameras reportedly pack the same sensor and exact same lens, the iPhone 14 Pro’s build and image quality is simply miles ahead. Detail and color are far superior. On paper, Apple has the exact same camera in these two phones – which means plenty of credit here for their new Photonic Engine processing, which appears to do a much better job of processing the images from the telephoto camera and retaining detail.
There’s also the bad thing about this new camera system
Sebastian de With spends most of his time praising the iPhone 14 Pro’s new camera system, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
“For those hoping that the iPhone 14 Pro would eliminate the need for heavily processed footage, we have some pretty bad news: It seems that the iPhone 14 Pro is even more practical, if anything, when it comes to creative choices around to make selective edits to theme, noise reduction and more,” he writes.
Additionally, Pro users still cannot take full advantage of the camera system as Apple blocks access to some features, as the reviewer explains:
(…) Our app couldn’t focus anywhere near as close as Apple’s camera app. The telephoto lens would flatly refuse to focus on anything close. We never fixed that – although it’s even worse on newer iPhones. We have a good reason for that.
The reason for this is a small cheat that Apple pulls. Actually, the telephoto lens can’t focus that close. You’d never know, because the built-in app quickly turns off the regular main camera’s view instead, which is cropped to the same zoom as the telephoto lens.
(…) This is a little less magical and more frustrating for a more demanding user. Apple seems to have some awareness of this: the camera automatically switching to the macro-capable lens caused frustration and confusion when it was announced, forcing them to add a setting that toggles this auto-switching behavior in the camera app.
You can read Halide’s creator’s full review here and check out all the amazing photos he took to write the analysis.