Photographer Austin Mann has published a comprehensive review about the iPhone 12 Pro Max camera.
First, Mann noticed a significant improvement in night mode on the Ultra Wide lens. While the iPhone 11 Pro’s Ultra Wide lens produced a mostly black noise-filled frame, the iPhone 12 Pro offers a vastly improved clear image:
This led me to the most significant improvement I found which was when shooting Wide (26 mm) and handheld in semi-low-light scenes. Think candle-lit dinner, just after sunset, or a night urban scene with some available light.
In several of these cases, I found the iPhone 12 Pro required 2 seconds in Night mode versus the iPhone 12 Pro Max requiring only 1 second. This means less time for camera shake and subject movement.
Mann also found that the increased 5x zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, up from the 4x zoom range on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro gives photographers more freedom:
As photographers, this extended range gives us more freedom to see and capture scenes differently. While the ultra-wide reveals context, the more compressed 2.5x telephoto can highlight specific details from afar.
Another feature that Mann tested was the Smart HDR 3, noticing a striking difference when taking portraits with Night mode:
After sunset with very little light available, computational improvements of better OIS, faster ISO, and LiDAR allowed the portrait to remain surprisingly accurate and sharp in color.
Overall, Mann found that the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers “substantial improvement in very specific scenes” compared to the iPhone 12 Pro:
I did really enjoy using the extra focal length of the Telephoto and pushing the Max in low light, but it feels massive in my hand and it’s hard to operate as a single-handed camera, so I’m still debating which iPhone is right for me.
What I do know is both the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are a massive jump in imaging capability compared to previous years, so regardless of your decision between this year’s models, I know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy shooting with this new iPhone camera.
Have a look at Mann’s photographs and read the entire review here.