When we talk about the iPhone, the standout feature that every user will first point out is the great camera. The camera on every iPhone is a reason of envy among many Android users, and the iPhone 7 this year will be no different.
Apple has introduced major upgrades to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus cameras, the big one being the dual camera setup on the larger variant. There are significant upgrades to the sensor as well, including improved aperture, enabling better photography.
Furthermore, this year's iPhone 7 is IP67 certified making it water and dust resistant. This allows users to dip the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus into 1 meter of water for about 30 minutes, expanding photography possibilities even more. We dive deep into the innards of both the smartphones and break down the camera features one by one to highlight all that is new in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus cameras.
1) Optical Image Stabilisation
Apple in its keynote put the spotlight on optical image stabilisation as one of the main features introduced in the cameras. While this is an old feature available in many Android flagships, Apple has made it standard across the iPhone line-up for the first time. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come with optical images stabilisation feature for better handheld and motion photography, a change from previous generations where only the bigger iPhone had this feature.
2) The lenses
The iPhone 7 sports a 12-megapixel rear sensor with a 28mm wide-angle lens. The iPhone 7 Plus on the other hand sports a dual camera setup, a first-of-its-kind on Apple products. Both the cameras sport 12-megapixel lenses - one with a wide-angle 28mm lens just like the iPhone 7, and the other with a 56mm lens that Apple calls telephoto lens with 2x real optical zoom, and 10x zoom overall.
Further, third-party analysis has revealed that while the main sensor on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is of the same size, the one on the telephoto lens is smaller than the wide-angle lens.
The new six-element lens in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus comes with a f/1.8 aperture, a significant upgrade from f/2.2 aperture in the previous generation. Apple claims that this new lens captures 50 percent more light than the predecessor, a boon while shooting in dim conditions. The six-element lens also ensures crisp photos with less distortion.
4) Quad-LED True Tone Flash
For the first time in any smartphone, the Quad-LED True Tone Flash has been introduced. In another attempt to improve night photography, Apple has brought more LEDs than ever before to offer greater level of brightness and better tone matching on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple claims that the Quad-LED True Tone flash puts out 50 percent more light and reaches 50 percent farther. It also comes with a unique flicker sensor, which reduces the flickering of artificial lightning to make photos and videos look even better.
5) New Image Signal Processor
Apple has also introduced a new image signal processor (ISP) engine inside both the smartphones for powerful image processing. Apple says the new high-speed sensor is 60 percent faster and 30 percent more energy efficient than the previous one, and that's largely thanks to the improvements in the ISP.
The tech giant says that this ISP performs a 100 billion operations (like utilising machine learning, auto exposure, auto focus, white balance, a wide cinema standard colour and noise reduction) in 25 milliseconds every time a photo is taken.
6) FaceTime HD camera
The selfie camera sensor on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has been increased to 7-megapixel. In comparison, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus sport a 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera. It supports 1080p video capture, unlike the predecessor's limit of 720p. However, the aperture here remains at f/2.2.
(Also see: iPhone 7 vs. PS4: A Tale of Two Big Tech Events)
7) RAW DNG File Support
Apple has also introduced the ability to capture RAW DNG files, a boon for professional users who do heavy duty editing on photographs. For those unaware, RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a picture. Photos in JPEG give out compressed image information, unlike RAW which is able to produce better quality photos. However, RAW DNG files take up more space than JPEG photos. Apple is offering RAW support via an API that can be used via third-party applications.