Apple has certainly pushed the boundaries of creativity when it comes to the camera capabilities of their iPhone 15 Pro models. With a total of seven lenses packed into one device, Apple is utilizing innovative technology to enhance the photography experience for users. These lenses include the macro camera, which is developed from the ultrawide camera with autofocus capabilities, the ultrawide lens itself, a 2X zoom lens that crops the center of the main 48-MP sensor for a sharp result, and the 3X or 5X zoom lens, depending on the Pro model.
What sets Apple’s camera system apart is its incorporation of different focal length options, denoted as “24 mm, 28 mm, and 35 mm.” These options effectively offer 1X, 1.2X, and 1.5X zoom capabilities. Apple asserts that these focal lengths are more than just digital zoom, as they utilize a new image processing pipeline to produce sharp and high-quality results. And based on my personal experience with the iPhone 15 Pro, I can’t deny their claims. The photos taken at these focal lengths are noticeably sharper and have less noise compared to zoom levels on the previous iPhone 14 Pro model.
However, one potential downside to these additional focal lengths is their accessibility. To cycle between the 24 mm, 28 mm, and 35 mm zoom options, users have to tap the 1X button three times. This may result in many users forgetting about this feature altogether. Nevertheless, for those who explore and utilize these options, they can enjoy the flexibility and improved image quality they offer.
To thoroughly test the camera capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro, I took it on a photographic journey through bustling New York City, capturing over 250 photos compared to the iPhone 14 Pro, Google Pixel 7 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. After careful examination, I concluded that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently the best camera phone on the market in terms of both quality and consistency. However, Apple’s lead over the competition is not as significant as they would like to believe. There were instances where the Pixel produced more appealing skin tones, and Samsung’s selfie camera exhibited sharper performance in low-light settings. While the iPhone’s 5X zoom captured more detail than the Pixel’s 5X zoom, it falls short when compared to the impressive 10X zoom of the S23 Ultra. Nonetheless, Apple does take the lead in the video category.
Moving beyond camera capabilities, it’s important to consider the overall performance of the iPhone 15 Pro. Powered by the A17 Pro, these devices can handle graphically demanding games, setting the stage for popular titles like Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage to be available on the App Store later this year. However, my experience with a beta version of Resident Evil Village left me with mixed feelings. Touchscreen controls, especially when a game requires multiple button presses, were not enjoyable for me. Additionally, the phone tends to heat up uncomfortably after around 30 minutes of gaming, if not sooner. Connecting a controller like the Backbone One improved the experience significantly.
In terms of visual quality, most of the time, the game was impressive. However, there were instances where the resolution dipped, resulting in a slightly blotchy appearance. Despite this, it is worth noting that these demanding games have not previously taxed an iPhone to this extent, thus bridging the gap between portable gaming devices and smartphones even further. The remaining question revolves around the price of these games. If they are going to match the AAA pricing of $60, I would prefer to purchase them for dedicated gaming consoles like my PC or the Steam Deck, where I can enjoy greater graphical fidelity. Release dates and pricing for these titles from Capcom and Ubisoft are yet to be announced.
With all this information in mind, if you are considering purchasing a Pro iPhone this year, I would suggest opting for the Pro Max model due to its larger battery capacity and the inclusion of the 5X zoom camera. However, it is important to assess whether you truly need a Pro iPhone or if Apple’s latest model will suffice. If budget is a concern, it may be worth exploring other retailers to find a discounted iPhone 14 Pro. Nonetheless, if the convenience of USB-C is crucial to you, the added cost of the new model may be justified.