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iPhone 7, 7 Plus Camera Test: Richer Details Even In Low Light

8 October 2016, 4:10 pm EDT By Regina Festin Tech Times
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The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may look similar to the last two generations of iPhones but their features stand out from their predecessors. All thanks to water resistance, a longer battery capacity, taptic home button, and dual lens camera.  ( Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno | Getty Images )

When Apple unveiled its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets last month, it pointed out the onboard camera's huge advancement in terms of image quality. Everything inside it was entirely new.

Both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sport a 12 MP shooter that's the same as last year's iPhone 6s, but Apple says the new iPhones do not have the same sensor as the previous models.

The iPhone 7 models feature a 28 millimeter lens and a redesigned camera system having a faster f/1.8 lens as compared to the f/2.2 on their predecessors. In laymen's terms, this change in aperture lets in about 50 percent more light, leading to better autofocus, shallower depth-of-field, and better image stability.

The camera also performs 60 percent faster with 30 percent more efficiency, which is helpful for battery life especially if you're using the phone as your daily driver.

Although the bigger iPhone 7 Plus features the same camera system as its smaller sibling, it comes with a second camera out-of-the-box. Called the "telephoto" lens, this f/2.8 with 56mm lens shooter lets you capture images with up to 2x optical zoom capability.

Up front, both phones are fitted with an improved 7MP FaceTime HD camera, 2 megapixels better than the iPhone 6S.

Other noteworthy photographic features of the iPhone 7 consist of a QuadLED TrueTone flash, optical image stabilization, image signal processor for faster shots, and 4K video recording.

Low Light Performance

While the iPhone 6s performed pretty well at taking images in low light, the iPhone 7 camera is notably better.

"Both cameras automatically trade off resolution for low light sensitivity when shooting stills in poor lighting," reported Apple Insider. This camera system creates trouble for both phones when there are bright light sources around the subject during nighttime.

However, overall results proclaim the iPhone 7 as the winner since it has more accurate colors, more detail, better contrast, and better lifelike depth and image quality.

Alternating between the 56mm telephoto and 28mm wide angle lenses generally make the subjects more flattering, especially with the 2x optical zoom that is really great for portraiture and low light surroundings.

What Others Think

Glenn Fleishman, a writer from Macworld, dove deeper into the iPhone 7 camera system and shared what he found out.

"The optical image stabilizer (OIS) built into the wide-angle lens provides an additional advantage, because reducing the motion of a camera allows a slower shutter speed without making an image blurry," he said.

"The 4mm lens with OIS in low light might be able to let in the equivalent of four times as much light as the 6.6mm lens," he added.

Professional photographer, Austin Mann, took note of a feature that wasn't discussed anywhere yet: time lapses.

"I've seen a huge improvement in time-lapse quality with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. In the past, the iPhone struggled to adjust exposure in dynamic lighting conditions (like a sunrise or sunset), and you'd often see dramatic flickering as the camera adjusted exposure over time."

Unlocked versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are now available starting at $649 for the 32 GB iPhone 7 and $769 for the 32 GB iPhone 7 Plus. Buyers can also avail of carrier-locked versions of the phones.

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