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Camera features on the iPhone XS and XR provide new possibilities



Software and Applications

Camera Features on iPhone XS and XR Provide New Opportunities

Posted on
November 2, 2018 of

Kirk McElhearn

People buy new smartphones for many reasons: Some for the apps they can run, others for the ability to watch videos and play games, but a feature that drives many to upgrade is the camera. All smartphone manufacturers are working hard to improve their cameras to the entire users to select newer devices, and Apple has been doing this for many years. With this year's iPhone models ̵

1; iPhone XS, XS Max and XR – Apple has brought new opportunities to the camera. (Read our review of the iPhone XS Max here.) But it's not just sensors or lenses that change; The real innovation these days is in the software that creates images called data processing.

Smart HDR

You've all seen what happens when you try to take a friend's picture against a light background with a standard camera. If the camera calculates exposure based on the overall illumination of a scene, the background is likely to light and your friend too dark. Or if it is exposed to the friend's face, they will be at the correct level, but the background will be too bright and the image will not look great.

Therefore photographers use a technique called HDR or high dynamic range, to compensate for this. With a standard digital camera, this usually requires shooting multiple images – at least two – exposing one to the friend's face, another for the background, and combining them with special software.

iPhone has long had an HDR feature where it would shoot multiple exposures and merge them automatically. You can turn on this Auto-HDR feature on your device and also tell it to retain the original image if you also want to edit it later.

This year's iPhones use it Apple calls Smart HDR, and the devices shoot four frames on different exposures. The camera's CPU also creates "interframes" for different exposures. Apple uses many fancy words to describe what's next, talk about a neuron engine and machine learning, but what comes down to is the fact that the new iPhone has an amazing ability to combine images so they balance the darkness and light elements . Of course, you may want your images to have more contrast between the foreground and the background, and you can still keep your original image if you wish.

Here are some examples of pictures I shot with the iPhone 8 Plus and my iPhone XS max. With both phones, I left the setting to save the original image as well. First, the iPhone 8 Plus is a standard non-HDR photography with the telephoto lens. As you can see, the sky is washed out; There is no blue visible at all:

But 8 Plus HDR did a much better picture:

Not only is the sky blue but the ratings between dark and light On the grass and the brick wall it is much more subtle.

With the iPhone XS Max, the difference is amazing. Here's the same scene shot with the wide-angle lens:

And here's the HDR image like XS Max created:

The first thing to notice is how much better non-HDR the picture is. I shot this scene with both iPhones, using both wide-angle and telephoto lenses. I chose to show XS Max's images with wide-angle lenses because the images taken with the telephoto lens are so good that even the non-HDR image looks good. In other words, even without smart HDR, iPhone XS images make as good as 8 Plus HDR mode.

iPhone determines if it needs to use HDR, depending on the scene. 8 Plus did not think the telescope needed HDR, and this is what it did; Note they blown out the highlights in the bottom of the sky:

In other words, you can not force the camera to shoot HDR images; It determines when it needs them. In all cases, the iPhone XS Max has exceeded 8 Plus and in many cases a significant margin.

Portrait Mode

The other feature available in these new iPhones is portrait mode. This has been around since the iPhone 7 Plus and uses the two cameras – a wide angle and a telephoto – to create a two-layer image. It detects the foreground course, usually a person, and separates it from the background. This allows you to apply a background sharpness setting to make the subject stand out or to use one of a variety of lighting settings that change the subject lighting.

With the iPhone XS and XS Max, you can adjust the amount of blur as you would on a standard camera by changing the aperture. Larger apertures – measured at lower "f stop" numbers – result in more background sharpness.

Here are some examples. First, a photograph is taken in portrait mode. In the first, portrait mode is on; In edit mode, tap the word Portrait on iPhone to turn it off as you see on the other image.


You can see the depths below the picture. If you drag them left or right, you can adjust the background color, increase it or reduce it as you wish. (Remember higher f stop numbers means less blurred.)

Both of these improvements to the iPhone camera are amazing, but it's Smart HDR that makes the biggest difference. Not only is the overall illumination of images much better, but the colors are also alive again. It is worth noting that the cheaper iPhone XR also has smart HDR and it even has a version of portrait mode, as it is not as good as the iPhone XS and XS Max because it only has one camera , is excellent. These new iPhones are expensive, but if you use the camera a lot, you will find that the quality of your photos gets much better than previous models.

About Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn writes about Mac, iPods, iTunes, Books, Music and more on his blog Kirkville.

He is co-host of Intego Mac Podcast, The Next Track and PhotoActive, and a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS and several other websites and publications.

Kirk has written more than twenty books, including Take Control books about iTunes, LaunchBar and Scrivener.

Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn .
View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →

This post was posted in Software and App and tagged Camera, HDR, iPhone, iPhone XR, iPhone XS. Bookmark permalink.


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