The iPhone 15 is finally here, and after months of rumours, the USB-C port is now built into the device range – however, while the port was the show-stopper, we reckon the cameras warrant some attention too – because they’re freakin’ incredible.
Across the range, the iPhone 15’s main camera has been bumped up to 48MP (up from 12MP, with four times better resolution, with a 24MP default resolution). Exclusive to the Pro models, the Macro camera has been bumped up to 13MP (was 12MP), and exclusive to the Pro Max, the 12MP telephoto lens now supports 5x optical zoom (was 3x). The base iPhone 15 and 15 Plus both have 2x telephoto zoom.
These features point to the same unifying results: Better photos, with greater colour depth, and more freedom when taking photos without such a heavy need to make compromises on things like distance and in-shot objects.
But why is the upgraded telephoto zoom exclusive to the Pro Max, and not available on the Pro, I hear you ask? Well, it comes down to size. Camera technology gets chunky – spacing components around enough internally to make the most of what little space you have in a mobile device is the reason we got things like camera bumps and multiple cameras on phones to begin with. So, because the iPhone 15 Pro Max is naturally larger, there’s more space for the engineers to play with. This space allows the iPhone 15 to create a 120mm lens effect in what little space it has.
This was actually demonstrated quite well by Apple during its iPhone 15 reveal event. Apple director of optical engineering Misha Scepanovic said the company had created “an innovative tetra-prism design built right into iPhone.”
“The light rays are reflected four times through the glass structure, allowing the light to travel longer in a much smaller design. This creates enough separation between the lens, and the sensor, to enable the longer focal length”.
To state the obvious, these are the best cameras Apple has ever put into an iPhone. 5x zoom is still a bit lower than the 200x zoom available on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, but Apple’s more about making incremental changes and offering products that people will actually use.
But wait, there’s more. On the Pro/Pro Max models, Night Mode photography has been upgraded to utilise a LiDAR scanner for better colour depth, and on all models, portrait photos can now be taken without the user needing to specifically switch to Portrait Mode.
And, of course, the switch to USB-C has enabled Apple to work in 20 times faster-wired transfer speeds. Sorry Lightning, your time is over.
We can’t wait to go hands-on with the iPhone 15’s cameras. It’ll no doubt be one of the best smartphone cameras on the market when it launches.
At its 2023 iPhone event, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, USB-C for the AirPods Pro 2, Roadside Assistance via Satellite, and a bunch of environmental promises. This article has been updated since it was first published.
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