Apple has officially announced its latest iPhones and confirmed that, yes, there’s a huge, squircle-shaped camera bump on the back of each of these new phones. On the flagship iPhone Pro models, it contains three separate cameras, and on the iPhone 11, there are two.
Each camera has its own purpose, and you’ll want to use them for different photo scenarios.
- 12MP regular camera | 26mm f/1.8 | Optical image stabilization: The standard iPhone camera has been upgraded with a new Night mode that should be able to better compete with Night Sight on Google’s Pixel smartphones in terms of low-light performance. Apple has also improved image processing to preserve more highlights and details in each shot.
- 12MP ultra-wide camera | 13mm f/2.4 | 120-degree field of view: Instead of following its own tradition with a portrait lens, Apple made the somewhat surprising decision to go with an ultra-wide camera that will allow iPhone 11 owners to capture more of their surroundings in every photo. The camera app’s viewfinder will show you both what the main camera sees and a preview of what would be in the ultra-wide shot.
Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth camera with slo-mo video and 4K60 recording: Apple’s selfie camera can now capture wider-angle shots when rotated to landscape. The company is also adding slow-motion video recording.
iPhone Pro and Pro Max
- 12MP regular camera | 26mm f/1.8 | Optical image stabilization
- 12MP ultra-wide camera | 13mm f/2.4 | 120-degree field of view
- 12MP telephoto / portrait lens | 52mm f/2.0 | Optical image stabilization: Apple’s latest camera designed for portrait photos is exclusive to the iPhone 11 Pro models.
Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth camera with slo-mo video and 4K60 recording
New software tricks
Apple says it has made significant improvements to photo and video processing with the latest iPhone cameras. The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro preserve highlights and more detail in each still shot, and they’ve been optimized for low-light settings with the help of a new Night mode.
With all new iPhone models now having multiple cameras, Apple has taken effort to prevent shifts in exposure and color tone when changing between them — especially when recording video. The iPhone 11 Pro will let app developers record with more than one camera simultaneously for more creative possibilities. And an audio zoom feature will hone in on whatever sound is coming from the subject you’re pointing the cameras at.
Specifically for the iPhone 11 Pro, Phil Schiller previewed an upcoming Deep Fusion feature that analyzes 9 photos (including one long-exposure shot) taken in sequence. The device’s neural engine then analyzes the collection to create an optimal end photo that borrows the best elements of each image. Schiller said it was “computational photography mad science.” Deep Fusion is coming in the fall.
Apple moved to a dual-camera system starting with the iPhone 7 Plus, adding a telephoto / portrait lens with a closer perspective to complement the standard-angle camera. The portrait lens remained exclusive to Plus models until the iPhone X in 2017. Since then, the X, XS, and XS Max have all featured two cameras. The iPhone XR stuck with just one.