iPhone 13 camera: Everything we know about the iPhone 13-series camera so far3
The wildly anticipated iPhone 13 is coming this September with a hefty amount of improvements. We are a good couple of months before the expected arrival of Apple's iPhone 13 series, but the steady barrage of leaks has painted a pretty decent picture of what's to be expected. Unsurprisingly, the largest improvements will be in the camera department itself.
And that's only natural, given how big of a pillar of modern smartphone technology the camera setup is. As the market is already established and quite mature, we are past the era of drastically different flagships with each and every new generation; instead, we are faced with gradual improvements in all key areas that make up the essential smartphone experience. Among these, camera performance and image quality are undoubtedly chief in importance, and we've grown accustomed to expect camera improvements each and every year.
True to that mantra, the iPhone 13 is anticipated with tons of camera-related improvements in tow. All of these have been mentioned in our dedicated iPhone 13 hub, but here we will disseminate the rumors in more detail.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: What we expect
Let's get to the gist of it. The iPhone 13 family is expected to score tons of camera improvements across the board. All iPhones will likely feature a much, much better ultra wide-angle lens, as claimed by venerable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He expects a wider f/1.8 in comparison with the iPhone 12's f/2.4 aperture, which should provide sharper photos with less noise.
The number of physical lens elements is also reportedly increasing from five to six, which should theoretically reduce the image distortion, and that's something very important for wider angle images. Finally, autofocus is reportedly coming to the ultra wide-angle lens, which is a great thing to have. Aside from the ultra wide-angle camera, all iPhone 13 models are rumored to score the LiDAR depth-perception system as well as sensor-shift stabilization which should deliver much sharper night-time image aside from minimizing the jitter during video shooting.
So, what will be so special about the iPhone 13 camera?
iPhone 13 camera summary:
- iPhone 13 mini specs: 12MP ultra-wide F1.8, 12MP wide F1.6
- iPhone 13 specs: 12MP ultra-wide F1.8, 12MP wide F1.6
- iPhone 13 Pro specs: 12MP ultra-wide F1.8, 12MP wide F1.6, 12MP 2.5x zoom F2.0
- iPhone 13 Pro Max specs: 12MP ultra-wide F1.8, 12MP wide F1.5, 12MP 2.5x zoom F2.0
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Superior ultra-wide angle lens
As mentioned, rumor has it that some iPhone 13 units will come with a new and improved ultra-wide angle camera at the back. The difference with the previous generation will be both the aperture and lens elements: while the iPhone 12 ultra-wide angle units come with an aperture of F2.4 and have five elements, whereas the all new iPhone 13 phones will probably have a camera with a wider F1.8 aperture and be comprised of six elements.
This would not only allow them to shoot much better low-light photos, but will also lead to superior overall image quality of the ultra-wide angle shots. What's more, the increased number of lens elements inside the camera will most certainly help alleviate image distortion, especially in the corners of the image, which is something extremely important.
Initial rumors putting the new camera in all models but recent murmurings from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claim that only the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max could get the upgraded ultra-wide angle lens. He claims the iPhone 14 will be the one to get it on all models, and that definitely sounds plausible.
Hopefully, this new ultra-wide angle camera will fix the somewhat soft details that were present on the iPhone 12 ultra-wides and produce dramatically sharper ultra-wide images.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Wider aperture
The main camera of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is rumored to come with a wider, F1.5 aperture in comparison with the F1.6 one found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The larger aperture will help capture more light and do drastically better in low-light conditions, as well as achieve more natural bokeh. This will undoubtedly make the iPhone 13 camera a much better overall proposition.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Larger sensors
According to a leak originating from late 2020, the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 Pro will all adopt the iPhone 12 Pro Max camera sensors, and we find it quite plausible that the iPhone 13 camera will score that feature. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will score larger sensor, too. Specifically, a jump to 1.9um pixels will allow for superior low-light performance of the camera, as larger pixels capture more light and allow the lens to stay open for less time, which in turn minimizes the possible blur and enhances details.
These, of course, is a welcome change that will add tons of benefits across the board of all iPhones, and will likely arrive to the iPhone 14 series in 2022.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Autofocus on all cameras
You might have thought that all cameras on an iPhone can focus automatically, and... you'd be wrong. The current and previous iPhone generations have had ultra-wide angle cameras with a fixed focus, meaning everything in the scene is in crystal clear focus and you can't really change focus on a specific object, which is a bummer. With the iPhone 13 family, this will reportedly change: the ultra-wide angle camera will finally be able to focus automatically. It could also mean that it would double as a macro lens.
However, as with the larger aperture and increased number of lens elements that we already covered, the autofocus might not necessarily arrive on all iPhone 13 models, but remain an exclusive feature to help propel the sales of the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Sensor-shift stabilization
The iPhone 12 Pro Max was the first iPhone to feature sensor-shift stabilization alongside the regular optical image stabilization system. Sensor-shift stabilization is normally reserved for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but Apple brought it to its largest iPhone 12 last year to achieve much better overall stabilization, which results in sharper images taken in challenging lighting conditions. On top of that, this superior stabilization system helps capture less jittery videos.
The rumor is that this beneficial technology will trickle down to all iPhone 13 models as well. This means that the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max will be able to benefit from a much better stabilization.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: LiDAR on all models
Rumor has it that LiDAR depth-sensing will trickle down to all iPhone 13 models and won't necessarily be an exclusive feature of the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, but we wouldn't count on that, as the tech will likely remain a premium feature only found on the top-end models. Thanks to LiDAR, users will be able to scan their immediate surroundings and use the resulting 3D model in a supported app. Another great benefit of the LiDAR system that's reportedly coming to all iPhone 13 models is improving low-light portraits. Daytime portraiture could probably also benefit from the tech on deck.
iPhone 13 camera upgrades: Additional features
Apple might also bring an astrophotography feature, which will take clear photos of the night sky, including stars and the moon. The addition of Portrait Mode video recording has been mentioned by leakers too. After recording an iPhone Portrait Mode video, users will reportedly be able to change the video's depth of field to their liking. The effect will blur either background or foreground objects as per the user's preference.
iPhone 13 camera: Design
One of the things that will likely change with the iPhone 13-series is a slightly redesigned camera bump. Previously, on the iPhone 12 series, the actual camera lenses sort of protruded a couple millimeters above the already-raised camera island, but the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max aim to change that.
According to the rumor mill, the camera island will be raised a bit to meet the overall lens protrusion and make for a flush iPhone 13 camera module. The camera bump itself is also expected to be larger. Hopefully, the extra space will be used to accommodate the extra tech that we've already mentioned.
Aside from that, we renders that have hit the air have revealed that the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 will have diagonal camera lens in contrast with the vertically aligned ones on the iPhone 12-series. This change could help differentiate between the different models, but could also be probably forced due to hardware requirements.
iPhone 13 camera: How many megapixels will it be?
We don't expect a jump in the megapixel count here - the iPhone 13 family will likely come with 12MP sensors, similarly to the iPhone 12-series. We don't expect an increase in the megapixel count this year, but rumor has it that the iPhone 14 will arrive with a 48MP camera that will allow for 8K video capture. Alas, this won't become a reality until late 2022.
iPhone 13 camera: Telephoto zoom
We don't expect the iPhone 13 to score a zoom camera, so it will remain with a ultra-wide and wide-angle camera combo just like the iPhone 12. The same applies to the iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone 13 Pro Max will likely retain its 2.5x zoom, and rumor has it that the iPhone 13 Pro could also score such a telephoto zoom to boot.
iPhone 13 camera: When is it launching?
Traditionally, Apple announces and subsequently releases its iPhones in September. That's what we expect this year - a dedicated iPhone event that will certainly have a large portion of it dedicated to the iPhone 13 camera.