Apple's (AAPL) new iPhones are here, and outside of their drastically improved batteries, and faster performance, the biggest upgrades to the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max are their cameras. And boy, are they something special.
The iPhone 11 now packs two cameras — one for wide-angle shots and the other for ultra-wide angle photos — while the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max get the same cameras as the iPhone 11, as well as a third telephoto camera lens.
Apple has also improved the low-light photo capabilities of the three iPhones thanks to the use of 100% focus pixels in their wide-angle lenses. That means you can capture shots in low-light settings that look as though they were taken with a professional camera.
There's even more to the cameras, including improved video functionality, and Apple's new slow-motion selfies feature, which Apple has taken to calling "slowfies."
I took the iPhone 11 Pro out on the town to give its camera a test drive, and the results show that Apple now has the best cameras of any smartphone. They're foolproof, capture gorgeous photos and videos, and are loaded with features that are approachable and functional.
Here's what it's like to use the cameras on Apple's latest iPhones.
To help illustrate the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s color balance, I took this photo of a flower in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. The purples and pinks along the flower’s petals pop against the green of its leaves, offering a sharp contrast.
This photo was taken using the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s telephoto lens, showing how sharp images look from a distance. Details like street signs are easy to make out, as is the NYU flag in the background.
This photo was taken with the iPhone 11’s wide-angle lens from the same position I took the previous image. You can see how much of the scene is now visible, and the difference the optical zoom makes from the standard wide-angle lens.
Ultra-wide angle lens
This picture was taken from the same location as the previous two, but was shot using the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s ultra-wide angle lens. The difference between the three lenses is incredibly impressive, as is the clarity in each photo. The ultra-wide angle lens proves useful when taking photos of landscapes, or when you want a shot of a large group of people.
I captured this shot as a base image to better show how well the iPhone 11 line’s new low-light photo mode functions. While the low-light feature is automatically activated based on the lighting you’re working with, you can turn it off completely, as I did with this picture.
Low-light photo mode
This image was taken in the same location with the same lighting as the previous shot. However, with this shot, I enabled the iPhone 11’s low-light mode, which significantly brightens up the image, making details like the brick wall in the background more clear. You’ll want to make you and your subjects stay still for low-light shots, though, as too much movement will cause them to appear blurry and unfocused.
Ultra-wide angle tests
I’ve been taking photos with the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s ultra-wide angle lens pretty frequently just to see what it’s capable of. This shot helps show off the scope or the lens’s capabilities.
Portraits taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s front camera look cleaner than those taken with the phone’s predecessors. You can adjust the level of background blur in the Photos app.
Apple has added a new high-key light mono feature to portrait mode to help add an artistic flair to your photos.
Portrait mode using rear cameras
Portrait mode has come a long way from when Apple first introduced it, but it’s still not perfect. You can see in some of the shots that small details including my left ear, and this cat’s right ear, look blurred when they should stay sharp.
Video shot at 4K, 60 frames per second
The video shows off the iPhone 11’s incredible video capabilities. Shot in 4K, HDR at 60 frames per second, the video is buttery smooth. A number of video professionals who work with Yahoo Finance who saw this remarked on how clear and colorful the video looked, with some even comparing it to their own equipment.
This time-lapse video was taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
For more coverage on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Watch out for our reviews.
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Email Daniel Howley at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.