Travel photographer Austin Mann usually tries out new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real life situations, and in order to test Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro, Mann traveled to China for taking pictures.
Mann checked out the new three lens-camera system with telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra wide-angle lenses, the upgraded Smart HDR, and the new Night mode which is designed for super low light.
The wide-angle lens is the best lens of the lot with the best shutter range, aperture, ISO and autofocus system, however Mann says, the ultra wide camera “works really great in normal lighting conditions,” although it is not ideal for low light.
The Ultra Wide works really great in normal lighting conditions and overall I’m thrilled to have it, but you will feel a difference when you move indoors or shoot into the evening. The images are softer than the Wide, and without Night mode you’ll be tempted (or forced) to switch back to Wide depending on how limited your light is.
Mann says, Night mode is “crazy powerful” and user friendly because it activates automatically in places where lighting is poor. Mann appreciated how Apple balanced Night mode so that night time shots didn’t look like day time shots, whilst preserving detail at the same time.
One thing I love about Apple’s approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression. When you look at the image above, it’s clear their team didn’t take the let’s-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, “How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?”
Mann thinks Night mode is the “most dramatic leap forward” seen in an iPhone since 2012 when panorama mode was featured on the iPhone 5. He wrote, “It’s the first time in a long time I’ve looked at an image and said to myself ‘wow, I can’t believe I shot this with my iPhone.'”
The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro include a new “Capture Outside the Frame” feature which allows more of what’s in front of you to be shown when taking a photo. What’s not emphasized is that you can also capture a photo with this mode.
For instance, if you use the wide-angle lens of the iPhone to take a picture, it also captures a photo with the ultra wide-angle lens so that users can later decide how to frame a photo.
Mann said that although he likes the feature, he didn’t think the preview of what’s outside the frame, too great as it was a bit distracting when composing an image. However, for the most part, he called it a great feature” which brings new editing possibilities.
On the whole, Mann said that professional photographers should consider buying an iPhone 11 Pro as it is worth it.
No matter what iPhone you are using now, if you are serious about shooting photos with your iPhone, this is a year to upgrade. Apple had some serious catching up to do and as a result, this year has brought a tremendous leap in camera capability. Night mode and the Ultra Wide lens will change how we tell stories and express ourselves as artists using our iPhones. Now is a really good time to jump in.