iPhone 7 Plus Portrait mode gallery part 2: putting performance to the test

Last week, Apple finally made good on its promises to give owners of the iPhone 7 Plus another cool way to take advantage of their phones' all-new dual-camera system, with the arrival of the “Portrait” camera mode in iOS 10.1. While the feature itself was still in beta, it finally gave iPhone 7 Plus owners everywhere a chance to see if this elaborate camera system had more to offer that its two-times optical zoom, and if it would really lend itself to producing some stylized, attractive, professional-looking pics.

When we started seeing what the Portrait mode could do, we really tried pushing the technology's limits, and in addition to shooting images of people (and pets!), we also took a number of pictures where things like fences or signs were the subjects of the images – probably not what Portrait mode was intended for, and all those narrow objects and sharp edges did indeed end up confusing Apple's software in a few instances, causing it to misidentify portions of the subject as background elements (and accordingly blur them out).

But while there may be a few flaws in this (admittedly still in beta) system Apple's using, perhaps the more pertinent question is whether or not those issues will actually affect Portrait mode performance when you're using it as Apple's expecting you to – taking pictures of people. So we fired the iPhone 7 Plus back up and sought to capture a new gallery of Portrait mode sample pics, this time sticking with images of human beings (or just one dude, actually).

But even with a person as the subject of Portrait mode shots, there are still a lot of variables at play. We know that Portrait mode only functions within a certain distance from the camera; the software even warns you if you're too far or too close. But even if you're following those directions, does having the subject at different distances change how well the Portrait mode's bokeh effect works?

And what about lighting conditions? The iOS camera software is quick to point out when you don't have enough illumination in your scene for Portrait mode to work at all, but just like we're trying out various subject distances that fall within the software's “satisfactory” range to see how that impacts the quality of this effect, we're also curious to see if it might perform better or worse depending on scene lighting conditions.

Finally, we mix backgrounds up a little. The whole point of Portrait mode may be to highlight the subject and obscure the background, but does starting with an “easier,” less busy-looking background make the iPhone's task turn out any better?

Check out the gallery below for all the Portrait mode shots we took under these varying conditions, read our commentary on each one, and let us know your impressions of how Portrait mode is performing in the comments.



Related phones

iPhone 7 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A10 Fusion, Quad-core, 2340 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2900 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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17 Comments

2. StopTalking

Posts: 69; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

Those are some of the creepiest pictures I've ever seen.

9. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Don't kill the magic!

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 30904; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

That blur effect is on point.

10. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

This is perhaps the only magic, except of courageously ditching the headphone jack, that Apple could brag about iPhone7.

14. Unordinary unregistered

Ill take the iPhone 7 over 99% other phones on the market today. Thanks

13. cmdacos

Posts: 3974; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

These are great pictures? The guy has 10 different skin tones from yellow to red and whoever is taking the shots cant hold the phone still.

15. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

They are not bad, but sure nothing great. Dual cameras are nothing but a gimmick I don't care who the maker is. I will feel the same if Samsung does it too. So no I am not just saying that because I like Samsung.

16. talha_16

Posts: 62; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

The blur and bokeh looks so fake like its all artificial.

17. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Keep it up Apple. The others will follow as usual.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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