iPhone 7 Plus photo samples show off bokeh effect in stunning portraits

Bokeh – this is what they call the artistic blur seen in the background in certain images. The effect is often used to add emphasis on the subject in the photograph, which makes it ideal for portraits and close-ups. It is best produced by a high-quality camera equipped with a wide-aperture lens, but a number of phones in the past have tried to emulate it using various tricks, most often a secondary camera for depth sensing. Alas, none of these phones could truly impress us with the results. In many cases, bokeh done in software looks forced and artificial. 

Interestingly, the iPhone 7 Plus could be the first phone to actually produce eye-pleasing bokeh. That's how we see things, looking at the several photo samples Apple showed during the iPhone 7 Plus announcement. In fact, we'd say they all look stunning for something captured on a phone. What's more impressive is that the bokeh effect is mostly applied in software, not using some clever new lens design. As Apple puts it, the two cameras and digital signal processor create a depth map of the image, and then blur is applied to the background. Of course, results are going to vary from one scene to another, but again, the samples we have here sure look promising. 

We should point out that the iPhone 7 Plus won't come with bokeh capabilities out of the box. It is going to get a new Portrait mode in the camera app with a software update, which should be released in the near future.

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)



1. cambotodd

Posts: 13; Member since: Jun 15, 2015

Lumia 1020 and Nokia purview 808 still take better picks esp bokeh.

21. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

If the software isn't ready yet, how they make this sample photos in first place? Fake.

24. hamaidx

Posts: 99; Member since: Apr 28, 2015

Amen to that - Pathetic Liars .. Always faking stuff...

25. willytbk

Posts: 252; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

those pics are using the software processing that are probably still in beta or not as good as the quality that apple wants, that's why they delay the release of that feature but still wants to show us something that they've been working on. At least they care about the quality thus they delay the delivery of this particular feature. not like some brand, shipping faulty battery and explode the phone !

27. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

@yann welcome to pa. Hahaha, +1000 to you sir.

2. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Do you even know what bokeh is?!? You have shallow depth of field. Then you have bokeh. Which is the quality(how it's rendered) of said shallow depth of field/out of focus blur. This phone isn't the first to come out with this feature. The htc m8 had this as well. This is not innovative and the out of focus blur produced by software is always horrible. Nothing near what a crop camera can do with a fast lens. Let alone a full frame with a fast lens. Blasphemy

19. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

I had the M8 and the effects wasn't all that special but yeah HTC actually tried something different just could have executed it better.

3. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 924; Member since: May 07, 2014

Looks good. Captured from a very close distance though.

6. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

This is software based like the HTC m8. Sensor is far to small to produce any meaningful out of focus blur unless very close. Let alone good quality bokeh do to it being software based.

4. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Most be faked , its impossible to get bokeh on mirrorless mobile camera , at least not in 1/2.3" inch sensor .

5. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

It's done via software like HTC did with the M8. You'll be lucky if the sensor is that large. You can get shallow depth of field. If you 4 inches from something.

9. AlikMalix unregistered

I disagree, just this morning I took a picture of a dragonfly with awesome bokeh effect but extremely sharp wings. I even took one with snapchat too - same beautiful effect. I've taken absolutely gorgeous shots with blurred background of my kids and nature. But I've taken those from close up - I can take these same shots on my 6s - I want to see further away objects taken with iPhone 7 for bokeh effect to be an improvement on my 6s. So, it's not impossible (as you say) but you're limited to close up and macro shots.

14. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

The effect on the iPhone is software based. You'll still be limited to to same shots as your iPhone 6s. But with software. It will blur the back ground after you take it. It's a photo filter. This has been done in cameras for quite a while. Results never come out as you'd expect. Sometimes you get lucky and get one good shot out of 100 tries.

18. AlikMalix unregistered

Man I wish I can show you the photos. Either software or thru optical lens - it looks absolutely stunning. Do I care that it's software or not - NO! End result - I have no complaints and only amazement how far phone cameras have evolved.

20. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

It could end up being awesome. But not always.

26. willytbk

Posts: 252; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

abdoualgeria : he probably doesn't own a camera phone. haha

7. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Not just Apple, but also Samsung, HTC, Sony, you name it, their sample pictures will never excite me not even one bit, I don't trust them, and I ll never do. I will wait for real life tests and comparisons.

8. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm 100% with you. These "official" photos maybe from the devices they say they are, but I can bet it took some trial and error to get it right. And you're right, everyone does it, some actually outright LIE about the device used.

10. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I remember Nokia getting busted for it lol

11. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Lol! The butt hurt on here is real. When have they ever been able to claim these photos from the keynote are fake?

12. maherk

Posts: 6922; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

This is my opinion, and in case you missed it, I called out every OEM out there for tweaking there sample pictures. So how could I possibly be butt hurt if I didn't leave anyone out? Now go cry somewhere else.

13. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Still not perfect, and probably will have a better rate than most, then the HTC M8 then Sony's app then Google camera. But it's still not perfect, I'll keep carrying around my Nikon p7800

15. radeon

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I don't get it. What is stunning here ???

16. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Apple is.

17. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

That your phone can't do it!

28. radeon

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

It's just a software effect. More like a glorified camera filter. Almost every phone has this as a software feature. Quality might be good since this is new but still this is far from groundbreaking.

22. danidin

Posts: 40; Member since: May 15, 2014

Google Camera - BOKEH TO EVERYONE!...

23. obedchuni

Posts: 336; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

what htc m8 did it first, samsung did it first, damn do you even know that m8 camera was kinda ok, not the great, well every one does something in hurry for marketing but to execute it properly is most important thing guys......

29. HumbleJ06

Posts: 98; Member since: Aug 10, 2015

It's great you could come to this conclusion looking at the best pictures a company sent out as samples. In my experience that is always the best way to judge a product. ;-)

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