Fasten your seat belts and open your eyes as technical data follows! But first of all a summary: if you want to buy an iPhone 12 from 2020 for camera innovation, take the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It jumps much higher than the iPhone 12 generation compared to the other 3 models.
Video-review iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera section:
And this especially through the 12-megapixel main sensor, which comes with F / 1.6 aperture, 26 mm focal length and 1.7 micron pixels. It has Dual Pixel PDAF and maybe the most important thing comes with Sensor Shift stabilization. Thus, instead of moving the lens or being a gyroscope-assisted system, the sensor itself moves to compensate for your movement. The sensor used here is huge, 47% bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro.
Then we have the 12 MP telephoto camera, with F / 2.2 aperture and 65 mm focal length. Here we have a 1 / 3.4 inch sensor with 1 micron PDAF pixels and optical stabilization. Stranger is that we have 2.5X optical zoom, but Apple promises on paper "5X optical zoom". And from what I understand, the 2.5X zoom is actually made with the ultrawide camera ...
And we also got this 12 MP ultrawide camera with 13mm focal length and 120 degree field of view, but also F / 2.4 aperture. The sensor measures 1 / 3.6 inch. The big news is the LiDAR sensor, borrowed from the iPad Pro 2020. It has the role of improving the appreciation and measurement of distances, augmented reality functions, Portrait capture and Night capture. By the way, all cameras now have Night Mode (except telephoto) and we also have a Portrait Night Mode. Let's not forget the dual tone LED flash and 4K filming at 60 FPS, now in 10 bit HDR, even in Dolby Vision HDR and stereo audio capture.
The selfie camera has 12 MP, 23 mm focal length and F / 2.2 aperture, with a 1 / 3.6 inch sensor. It comes bundled with a 3D sensor for Bokeh and facial unlock and also knows how to shoot 4K at 60 FPS. Beware, the selfie has only fixed focus!
We also get the Apple ProRAW capture, Smart HDR 3 with scene detection, red-eye correction and Panorama up to 63 MP. Portrait Lighting provides 6 effects: Natural, Studio, Outline, Scene, Mono Scene and High Key Mono . The camera interface is unchanged, minimalist and stingy with options. Night Mode starts automatically when it is dark around and will increase the exposure when necessary, but you can go to the exposure seconds yourself if you want. We also have Deep Fusion, which combines Smart HDR and Night Mode, which makes a series of frames in a row before you press the shutter button and then others after you press. The best one is chosen by AI.
My biggest joy is that for a year now I don't have to go into settings to choose the video capture resolution, we have a shortcut at the top left in the camera app.
And here we are at the photo gallery. We generally associate iPhones with a zero failure rate when shooting. Now you just can't take a bad picture with this smartphone. I mean, it can't get you moving or out of focus, not even in low light. I really like the colors, which are not too warm as they were for a long time on Apple phones. Now they have perfect accuracy rendering exactly what my eye saw on the spot. I would also mention that we do not have chromatic differences between the 3 cameras in the back.
And the details are satisfactory, even if we only work with 12 megapixel cameras. However, it is clear that with 64 and 108 megapixel rivals you have more crop space. I really appreciated what the natural blurred background of the room looks like.
The green of the vegetation is natural and I notice here that famous "separation of the shadows", mentioned by me for the first time in Mate 30 Pro and also mentioned in Mate 40 Pro. When the sun falls on a building or a landscape, it creates multiple degrees of shadow, not a single unit, and all the nuances are clearly seen here. The zoom doesn't feel any complex compared to rivals and looks just as good at 3X and even 5X as we've seen on phones with 5X optical zoom, or very, very close.
However, I would say that it clearly beats many phones with 3X optical zoom, such as the Galaxy S20 FE, S20 + and OnePlus 8 Pro. We also have pictures near Bega in Timisoara with the sun in front and no chromatic aberrations, loss of clarity or other problems. The focus on the cranberries is perfect, and the blurring of the background is similar to that of a DSLR.
The selfie photos are expressive, very detailed and have excellent colors, whether we are talking about "peonies in the cheeks" or the more tanned areas of the skin. I notice that my impression of the past years is also preserved: Bokeh lags behind Samsung and Huawei. I see the earlobe and a catch eating black and white Portrait in the background. I like the way the texture of my hair and beard is amplified though.
We return to the main room to find an excellent texture rendered at the level of the water gloss on the Bega, of the toys in the park, where you "feel" the sand through pictures, wood, metal, plastic. I'm also excited about the close-ups, where Apple beats Huawei P40 Pro and Galaxy S20 Ultra. The minimum focusing distance is between 10 and 15 cm, so we can deal with closeup captures for food blogging without any problems. You can take pictures of Christmas presents, snowflakes, baby toys and more.
We have abundant catches with reddish, yellow or green leaves in the sun, only good to put in the frame. Be careful though, Macro remains Macro and we can't do it here, but only with dedicated cameras on other phones, which let you get closer to 4 cm, but at tiny resolutions.
Inside, I like the wide dynamic range in the Iulius Mall in Timişoara, but also the balance in terms of exposure / lighting and color. Also note the clarity of the underwater trinkets under the water lilies in Lake Iulius Town.
I also kept some appetizing pictures of duck leg, mashed potatoes and beets, where the crunchy duck crust appeals to that side of your brain that deals with smell and memories.
The low light photo capture invokes the winter holidays and is perfect in the following chapters: colors, details and clarity. However, I notice that ultrawide photos amplify light sources and do not have angles as wide as ultrawide cameras on Samsung phones. Santa in the pictures is on the border between charming and frightening, but I would go for the second option anyway, being so spiky and with dark eyes. The conditions were clearly unfavorable for good pictures: a slight fog, lots of light, glitter, tinsel, ideal for creating aberrations of color and reflections. And yet no sign of that.
Also note that we have a correct camera that does not try to compensate and control the shades. The way the purple light is reflected on the grass from that purple globe is perfectly rendered, as if the light were leaking. I also caught dewdrops near that globe that looks like the Shelob of the Lord of the Rings. I see that in the very dark situations at the entrance to The Rat Pub, the ultrawide camera can no longer cope with the light capture.
In general, I caught enough architectural details, correct shades of yellow, correctly sized lighting poles, but I see some grain in the distance if I look closely. Night mode accentuates the contours of the statues and monuments in the frame, slipping less into the sin of the "painting look" that some Samsung and Huawei phones suffer from in Night Mode. We are already getting closer to Google Pixel phones, and we have even surpassed them, by the power of rendering other colors besides the yellow influenced by the street light. Bonus: it all happened in the fog!
However one mention: Huawei P40 Pro and Mate 40 Pro go above with exposure and lighting though.
How are we doing with the filming? I'll start by telling you that any hands-on (or 90%) you've seen in 2020 around January on Mobilissimo.ro was filmed with iPhone 11 Pro. We already consider Apple phones excellent as a replacement for the handycam, the camera of gadgets. Moving on to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I honestly haven't seen better stabilization than that, maybe just with a gimbal or thousands of euro cameras. I also improvised following a pigeon and I still didn't lose focus and clarity.
I tested the focus speed and accuracy on the cranks next to Bega and the turbine dam, and I would venture to say that Apple focuses even faster than Samsung. 4K filming at 60 FPS has a LOT of details, which are not lost even at 2X zoom, I would even say 3X. In general, iPhones were weak in this respect, implicitly weak and filmed when you have a worse place at a concert or game. Here I notice the texture of the wooden house at the Dam is filmed and zoomed in. \
The vegetation has the correct exposure and color compared to what the Galaxy S20 series offers, and the sky looked much more believable. The stabilization is more correctly applied than the Huawei P40 Pro and Mate 40 Pro, which were not bad either. We are already fighting the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 20 series, which were landmarks in stabilization. Maybe we can beat them? Note that I kept filming with the sun in front of me, even ultrawide without problems. We also manage in conditions of flashing carousel lights, but also a filming with a building under construction where everything had a golden patina from Golden Hour. Photos long for Golden Hour to make perfect shots.
Also note the way in which the focus and clarity are stabilized at the advanced zoom level on those two girls gossiping on a bench.
Capture with water lilies is instant zen and the camera copes with fast panning and a dazzling red jacket towards the end. I want to recommend and watch these videos on a setup like WORLD: if possible on a 4K HDR TV with a wide range of colors. If it can be 10 bits, that screen would be even better. And I'd like to mention that the rotating carousel shots hurt my movement, they were so realistic.
Low light filming was severely affected by fog, but the focus was OK, the colors quite vivid. I notice that we still have reflections and artifacts, hard to avoid when you have a trillion light sources in the frame. What I filmed is usable on social media without regrets and the stabilization is still going well. It is also the first time we make our classic linear walk to the fountain and the statue in Unirii Square in Timişoara WITHOUT any flicker and loss of stabilization. No other phone can boast that. Too bad for those reflections that appear ... By the way, the zoom is not bad either, but avoid the ultra-wide.
The conclusion? Huawei Mate 40 Pro has a rival, and the iPhone 12 Pro can compete with it for the title of "best camera of 2020".