Much is already known about the iPhone 12 range, but now new information has detailed how Apple intends to fix one big issue it concealed in the iPhone 11 Pro.
A recent video from the popular insider YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, backed up with information from the prolific leaker Max Weinbach, reveals many new and improved camera technologies expected to appear in the iPhone 12 Pro. Some of these enhancements may, at first, seem like small evolutionary tweaks, but you can expect them to have a profound impact on the overall performance of the camera, especially in low light.
Key improvements mentioned are:
- A new telephoto lens with 3x magnification and Night Mode support
- A LiDAR sensor, delivering better Portrait Mode accuracy
- Faster autofocus
- Many low-light improvements, including better slow-motion video, upgraded subject detection, enhanced long-exposure imaging, and electronic stabilization
I’ll get into the most important upgrades below, but first, let’s look at what Apple has decided not to do.
Apple won’t repeat Samsung’s big mistake
Previous reports revealed that Apple had considered replacing the flagship iPhone’s main 12-megapixel camera with a massive 64-megapixel version.
Now, according to the report, Apple has decided against this strategy and opted for a new and improved 12-megapixel sensor instead. The reason for this is reportedly to avoid problems with autofocus performance stemming from the 64-megapixel sensor’s relatively low density of focus pixels. If you’ve been watching the competition, you’ll know that this is exactly the problem Samsung has been trying so hard to fix on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, so there’s no way Apple could risk bringing such issues to iPhone 12 Pro.
In fact, according to the leak, Apple is expected to achieve two to three times better autofocus, thanks to the new LiDAR sensor and other general improvements. It’s not made clear in the video exactly what ‘better autofocus’ means, but better is good, right? The LiDAR sensor is also expected to improve Portrait Mode accuracy, although not enough to enable the video Portrait Mode some had been hoping for.
The new 3x telephoto lens is a big deal. The iPhone 11 Pro’s 2x module simply can’t compete with the higher-magnification lenses found in much of the competition when it comes to photographing the farthest subjects. However, going with too high a magnification level can cause poor quality at lower zoom factors (another problem found in the Galaxy S20 Ultra). This is especially true when using a relatively low-resolution sensor in the main camera.
According to the report, Apple is expected to upgrade the iPhone 11 Pro’s 10x hybrid zoom to either 25x or 30x with the iPhone 12 Pro. This is a big improvement and a more realistic goal than Samsung’s gimmicky 100x Space Zoom. However, we’ll have to wait and see whether there’s any subsequent loss of quality between 1x and 3x.
Big low-light improvements
Just as significant is the fact that the new telephoto lens is tipped to support Night Mode, which will radically improve zoom performance in low-light scenarios. With the iPhone 11 Pro, reviewers noticed a reduction in quality when enabling zoom, but the camera app gave no indication that the telephoto camera’s sensor was preventing zoomed Night Mode shots from working. The iPhone 12 Pro, therefore, should be able to produce superior low light zoom shots.
EverythingApplePro reports that the camera is the most challenging part of the iPhone 12 Pro to get right. But, if Apple can pull off everything listed above, then Samsung’s S20 series is going to be in big trouble.