Apple announced many improvements to the cameras in the upcoming iPhone 12 line. The enhancements are a combination of hardware and software that look promising on paper, especially when it comes to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As with previous iPhone announcements, Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the camera apps Halide and Specter, breaks the changes and explains what they mean for photographers. Probably the most important hardware change is the sensor for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. According to de With:
In addition to a better lens, the 12 Pro Max has room to pack a new, 47% larger sensor. That means bigger pixels, and bigger pixels that capture more light simply mean better pictures. More details during the day, more light at night. It combines with the lens to result in almost twice as much captured light: Apple claims an 87% improvement in light capture from the 11 Pro. It’s huge.
Pro Max also gets a new image stabilization system:
But that’s not the only trick: 12 Pro Max’s Wide system also gets a new OIS system with sensor change. OIS, or optical image stabilization, allows the iPhone to move the camera slightly to compensate for your decidedly unstable human mounting hands. This results in smoother video recordings and sharp images at night, when the iPhone has to take light for longer periods of time.
On the software side, they With that Apple’s announcement of the new ProRAW image format looks promising, although there are few details at the moment and will not come until later this year:
ProRAW, according to Apple, provides you with standard RAW along with this pipeline information, which should provide some great flexibility when editing. Note that this may be a custom format; little is known, and it seems that it was only announced and may be limited to the iPhone 12 Pro.
It’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to camera messages made earlier this week, so be sure to read deWith’s article for further details.
I also recommend watching Tyler Stalman’s video about the new cameras. Stalman has been following Apple’s cameras closely for a long time now, and his video is a fantastic overview from the photographer’s perspective on what’s next.