Pho­to: gagadget.com

The most long-await­ed update in the new iPhone 13 is the cam­era options. Pho­tog­ra­phers and video­g­ra­phers are look­ing for­ward to the pub­li­ca­tion of the tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions that the new iPhone cam­eras receive.

How good are the iPhone 13 cam­eras real­ly? And how do the four new mod­els dif­fer from each oth­er? What is the iPhone 13 aper­ture, megapix­els, matrix size and oth­er indi­ca­tors? Let’s fig­ure it out togeth­er.

Two systems

The 13th gen­er­a­tion uses two dif­fer­ent cam­era sys­tems. The iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 have the same wide-angle (main) and ultra-wide-angle cam­era sys­tem. And in the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, there are three cam­eras: wide-angle (main), ultra-wide-angle and tele­pho­to.

At the same time, the mod­ules were com­plete­ly updat­ed from Pro and Pro Max, while the iPhone 13 and Mini bor­rowed cam­eras from the 12th gen­er­a­tion.

iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13

The 13 Pro and Max received three cam­eras each, while the 13 and 13 Mini received two. Pho­to: appleinsider.ru

The iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13, like last year, have two cam­eras each:

  • 12MP wide-angle, 26mm equiv.* f/1.6;
  • ultra wide-angle 12 MP, 13mm equiv. f/2.4.

* “Equiv­a­lent focal length” allows you to com­pare lens­es used in tan­dem with matri­ces of dif­fer­ent sizes. Indi­cates what focal length a lens with the same angle of view would have on a full-frame (or film) cam­era.

Recall that the iPhone 12 did not receive an increase in the matrix com­pared to the 11 mod­el, except for the old­er and most “large-cal­iber” mod­el 12 Pro Max. And the size of the sen­sor and the max­i­mum aper­ture of the lens are the main char­ac­ter­is­tics that deter­mine the qual­i­ty of the pic­ture, since the dynam­ic range and the abil­i­ty to shoot in low light are close­ly relat­ed to how much light your cam­era can “cap­ture”.

This year, all mod­els received a seri­ous increase in the size of the matri­ces. Let’s start with the fact that the largest matrix of last year’s giant 12 Pro Max is now used in the small­est iPhone 13 Mini.

Below we pro­vide a table with the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of both cam­eras of the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini com­pared to last year’s 12 and 12 Mini.

Lens Pix­el size Matrix size Sta­bi­liza­tion Focus
iPhone 13 and 13 Mini; Wide Angle (Main) 26mm equiv.; f/1.6 1.7 µm 35.2 mm²; (1/1.9″) Off­set Matrix Dual-pix­el aut­o­fo­cus
iPhone 12; Wide Angle (Main) 26mm equiv.; f/1.6 1.4 µm 23.9 mm²; (1/2.55″) Opti­cal Dual-pix­el aut­o­fo­cus
iPhone 13 and 13 Mini / iPhone 12; Ultra Wide 13mm equiv.; f/2.4 1.0 µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Not fixed focus

Like last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini cap­ture 47% more light than the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro due to their sen­sor hav­ing a 47% larg­er sur­face area (1.7 micron pix­els vs. 4 µm).

In addi­tion, the 13 and 13 Mini received an advanced sen­sor-shift sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem — also from the 12 Pro Max. This will help you shoot at slow­er shut­ter speeds to work in low light and reduce motion blur, as well as smoother video.

Day­time pho­tog­ra­phy on iPhone 13. Pho­to: photographyblog.com

The ultra-wide-angle cam­eras have remained unchanged, and they still lack an aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem.

Night pho­tog­ra­phy on the new iPhone 13. Pho­to: Patrick Holland/CNET

In addi­tion to the cam­eras, an impor­tant update was the improve­ment of the screen (applies to all four mod­els). This is espe­cial­ly use­ful when it comes to view­ing HDR pho­tos and videos (high dynam­ic range) that iPhones can cap­ture.

The screen is 28% brighter, reach­ing 800 nits for stan­dard (SDR) con­tent and up to 1200 nits for HDR. Max­i­mum bright­ness can now be main­tained for longer peri­ods of time. And the dis­plays received ceram­ic pro­tec­tion, which should extend the life of the devices.

Read also:
Review-com­par­i­son of the Apple iPhone 14 2022 line

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

This year, if you’re look­ing for an iPhone with the best cam­era, you won’t have to choose between the reg­u­lar Pro and the big Pro Max mod­el. Both the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max fea­ture the same sen­sors, lens­es, sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem, and fea­ture set. The three cam­eras of the new Pros cov­er a 6x focal length range:

  • tele­pho­to 12MP, 77mm f/2.8;
  • ultra wide-angle 12MP, 13mm f/1.8;
  • wide-angle (main) 12MP, 26mm f/1.5.

Main wide camera

Here’s how the new iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max cam­era dif­fers from last year’s iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max:

Lens Pix­el size Matrix size Sta­bi­liza­tion Focus
iPhone 13 Pro/Max 26mm equiv.; f/1.5 1.9 µm 44 mm²; (1/1.65″) Off­set matrix + opti­cal Dual-pix­el aut­o­fo­cus
iPhone 12 Pro 26mm equiv.; f/1.6 1.4 µm 23.9 mm²; (1/2.55″) Opti­cal Dual-pix­el aut­o­fo­cus
iPhone 12 Pro Max / iPhone 13 and 13 Mini 26mm equiv.; f/1.6 1.7 µm 35.2 mm²; (1/1.9″) Off­set Matrix Dual-pix­el aut­o­fo­cus

1.9µm pix­els and a 1/1.65″ main cam­era sen­sor in the 13 Pro and Pro Max allow for a sur­face area of ​​44 mm², which can cap­ture 84% more light com­pared to the 1/2.55″ sen­sor in the 12 Pro, and 25% larg­er than the 1/1.9‑inch 12 Pro Max sen­sor (and the 13 and 13 Mini sen­sors, respec­tive­ly). The max­i­mum aper­ture of the lens has been increased from f/1.6 to f/1.5, allow­ing it to cap­ture 14% more light.

This com­bi­na­tion of lens and sen­sor also makes it pos­si­ble to obtain a slight blur­ring of the back­ground opti­cal­ly with­out the use of por­trait modewhich cre­ates bokeh pro­gram­mat­i­cal­ly.

Day­time pho­tog­ra­phy on iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pho­to: phonearena.com

The nov­el­ties per­form bet­ter in poor light­ing: by 1 EV (a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the illu­mi­na­tion of an object — a change in EV by one unit is equiv­a­lent to a change in illu­mi­na­tion by a fac­tor of two) com­pared to 12 Pro, and by 0.5 EV com­pared to 12 Pro Max (as well as 13 and 13 Mini).

All this is due to the fact that the com­bi­na­tion of a larg­er sen­sor and a fast lens allows the main cam­era to cap­ture 100% and 40% more light com­pared to the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max / 13, respec­tive­ly. This also improves the qual­i­ty of the video.

Night pho­tog­ra­phy on iPhone 13 Pro Max. Pho­to: phonearena.com

The com­bi­na­tion of two sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems — sen­sor shift and opti­cal — com­pared to one opti­cal in last year’s mod­els helps in shoot­ing at slow­er shut­ter speeds and, accord­ing­ly, improves Night mode and video sta­bil­i­ty.

Ultra wide camera

The ultra-wide-angle cam­era has also received an upgrade — now it has a faster f / 1.8 lens (f / 2.4 in last year’s mod­els), and an aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem has also appeared on it. The cam­era cap­tures 78% (0.83 EV) more light, which should help the small 1/3.4‑inch sen­sor han­dle dif­fi­cult light­ing.

The addi­tion of aut­o­fo­cus helps the lens focus as close as 2cm, mak­ing this lens a good option for macro pho­tog­ra­phy.

Addi­tion­al­ly, accord­ing to Apple, the iPhone 13 Pro/Max’s ultra-wide-angle sen­sor is “faster,” which like­ly means faster read­outs. And this gives sev­er­al bonus­es at once: few­er arti­facts (shape dis­tor­tion from the rolling shut­ter effect and “strip­ing” under arti­fi­cial light­ing) and improved elec­tron­ic sta­bi­liza­tion in video.

Lens Pix­el size Matrix size Sta­bi­liza­tion Focus
iPhone 13 Pro/Max 13mm equiv.; f/1.8 1.0 µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Not Aut­o­fo­cus with phase detec­tion
iPhone 12 / Pro / Max / iPhone 13 and 13 Mini 13mm equiv.; f/2.4 1.0 µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Not fixed focus

Telephoto camera

The tele­pho­to (long-throw) cam­era has received improve­ments on sev­er­al fronts at once: first, the 77mm equiv­a­lent focal length means that the cam­era now has a 3x zoom. Last year’s 12 Pro Max was 2.5x (65mm tele­pho­to) and the 12 Pro was 2x (52mm equiv.).

This increased zoom allows you to “get” to more dis­tant objects, as well as bet­ter sep­a­rate objects from the back­ground. How­ev­er, increas­ing the zoom led to a decrease in lens aper­ture: in 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, the max­i­mum aper­ture was f / 2.0 and f / 2.2, respec­tive­ly, while in 13 Pro / Max it was f / 2.8. So don’t expect seri­ous bokeh from a tele­pho­to lens with­out Por­trait mode.

The decrease in aper­ture ratio is due to the fact that a longer focal length lens phys­i­cal­ly needs more space. And in order to main­tain its aper­ture ratio, even more space would be need­ed — it is not yet pos­si­ble to place such a “bar­rel” in a smart­phone.

Lens Pix­el size Matrix size Sta­bi­liza­tion Focus
iPhone 13 Pro/Max 77mm equiv.; f/2.8 1.0µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Opti­cal Aut­o­fo­cus with phase detec­tion
iPhone 12 Pro Max 65mm equiv.; f/2.2 1.0µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Opti­cal Aut­o­fo­cus with phase detec­tion
iPhone 12 Pro 52mm equiv.; f/2.0 1.0µm 12.2 mm²; (1/3.4″) Opti­cal Aut­o­fo­cus with phase detec­tion

An inter­est­ing addi­tion was the appear­ance of the Night mode for long-focus shoot­ing. Last year, the iPhone 12 added Night Mode to the ultra-wide cam­era, and this year it’s final­ly avail­able on all three cam­eras.

This should great­ly improve the qual­i­ty of long-focus shots in low light, which are not adapt­ed to work in it due to the small sen­sor and rel­a­tive­ly small aper­ture.

Photo styles

All new iPhones have a new fea­ture — Pho­to­graph­ic styles. With this func­tion, you can cus­tomize the look of your pho­tos by cus­tomiz­ing indi­vid­ual set­tings to your lik­ing, and the cam­era will take all pho­tos accord­ing to your set­tings.

But this is not just an ordi­nary fil­ter that is applied to ready-made shots. Instead, a spe­cial algo­rithm for pro­cess­ing and com­bin­ing mul­ti­ple frames (mul­ti-expo­sure) is used to cre­ate one image with local changes for dif­fer­ent lay­ers.

The new Pho­to Styles don’t just apply a fil­ter to a fin­ished pho­to. You will see all changes at once dur­ing crop­ping. Pho­to: www.9to5mac.com

You can choose between Rich Con­trast, Vivid, Warm, or Cool, plus addi­tion­al adjust­ments to Hue and Warmth. Fine tun­ing allows you to select, for exam­ple, “Cool” style and at the same time keep warm skin tones.

All pro­cess­ing takes place in real time, so what the final pho­to will look like, you will see on the screen dur­ing the shoot­ing itself, and not after the shot has been tak­en.


The main fea­ture of the new mod­els in terms of video is Cin­e­mat­ic mode. It is avail­able for the entire line. It is sim­i­lar to Por­trait Mode in pho­tog­ra­phy, but applied to video — the sub­ject is auto­mat­i­cal­ly high­light­ed from the sur­round­ings, and the back­ground is soft­ly blurred.

Smart­phones can’t phys­i­cal­ly pro­duce bokeh, which is one of the rea­sons why many peo­ple still pre­fer to use cheap tra­di­tion­al cam­eras to shoot video.

The new gen­er­a­tion of iPhones blur video back­grounds using soft­ware, and the intro­duc­tion of such a fea­ture sounds almost rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

But, to be hon­est, Apple did not suc­ceed. The cam­era cre­ates quite nat­ur­al bokeh in the back­ground and fore­ground, the focus change is also quite smooth. But, if you’re shoot­ing wide open (low f‑number, heavy blur), the tran­si­tions from out-of-focus to in-focus are often slop­py. Parts of your sub­ject may be out of focus, which becomes espe­cial­ly notice­able when the sub­ject is mov­ing in the frame.

For­tu­nate­ly, this prob­lem can be dealt with by clos­ing the aper­ture — choos­ing a high­er f‑number. The back­ground will then become less blur­ry, but the jambs with the selec­tion of the object from the back­ground will become much less notice­able. What is very con­ve­nient, you can adjust this set­ting after you have shot the video. Cin­e­mat­ic mode is only avail­able at 1080p 30fps.

An exam­ple of shoot­ing in stan­dard and cin­e­mat­ic mode. Source: Youtube chan­nel andrewtkearns

It should be not­ed that for sto­ries on Insta­gram or Tik­Tok, the qual­i­ty of the Cin­e­mat­ic mode will be enough, and minor flaws will not be par­tic­u­lar­ly notice­able.

On the oth­er hand, a lit­tle blur­ring of the back­ground in the video can be achieved sim­ply by shoot­ing on the main cam­era of the 13 Pro and Max thanks to a faster lens and a large matrix. Of course, the blur will not be as pro­nounced, but you can shoot in 4K.

In gen­er­al, the video qual­i­ty of this cam­era is just excel­lent — per­haps at the moment this is the best video qual­i­ty among all smart­phones. The iPhone 13 (Mini) has a slight­ly weak­er video (on the lev­el of last year’s flag­ship), but it is still very good. Plus you have a choice of two (13 and Mini) or three (Pro and Max) lens­es for video shoot­ing.

HDR video looks espe­cial­ly cool — it has an excel­lent dynam­ic range and bright col­ors.


Pho­to: nextpit.com

All new iPhones have got great cam­eras and some cool fea­tures that make them cool and con­ve­nient devices for tak­ing pho­tos and videos.

iPhone 13 and 13 Mini now fea­ture the main cam­era from last year’s flag­ship 12 Pro Max, with a large sen­sor and advanced aut­o­fo­cus for impres­sive results, even in imper­fect light­ing.

But if you want the very best cam­era, you need to look at the Pro and Pro Max mod­els. The main cam­era of these flag­ships received an even larg­er matrix and a fast lens with a dual aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, with which you can take not only very cool pho­tos, but also, per­haps, the best video qual­i­ty among all smart­phone mod­els.

The ultra wide-angle and tele­pho­to lens­es also received updates. The first became even more con­ve­nient for macro pho­tog­ra­phy, and the sec­ond became even longer tele­pho­to (but slight­ly dark­er).

The new Pho­to Styles fea­ture lets you quick­ly cus­tomize the final look of your shots, and Cin­e­mat­ic Mode lets you get blur­ry back­grounds in videos (though not with­out flaws).

In gen­er­al, choos­ing any of the iPhones for mobile shoot­ing, you can’t go wrong. But Pro and Pro Max will be able to sur­prise even sophis­ti­cat­ed ama­teur pho­tog­ra­phers.

* when prepar­ing the arti­cle, mate­ri­als from the resource dpreview.com were used


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