Is the new iPhone 14 pro max as good as a camera?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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LEZ90 Regular Member • Posts: 103
Is the new iPhone 14 pro max as good as a camera?

I've been reading how the iPhone 14 pro max has the best camera in any phone and its 48mp output is on par with a real camera. So when I took delivery of my own iPhone 14 pro max, I was interested to try it out and compare its 48mp raw photos to the couple of Leica cameras that I own.

48 mega pixels. First I took a photo on the iPhone without zooming and then shot a similar one with my 48mp Leica Q2. When you look closely at the photo, you can clearly see that the clever, computerised trickery to upscale a 12mp sensor to 48 megapixel photo that Apple uses is ok, but its not as good as the real full frame sensor of the Q2.

Zoom. I then went outside and I zoomed the iPhone up to its maximum in 48mp Raw mode and shot a picture of a seagull. I then used my second hand £500 Leica V-Lux to do the same.

Even though the £500 V-Lux is only 20mp it has a 400mm optical zoom and compared to the computerised zoom of the iPhone the difference was massive.

Image quality. OK, so the 48mp from a small sensor is not as good as the real thing and the digital zoom is rubbish, but what about normal photos?

Well the answer is its ok, but…

As I’ve said before on my blog, a quality sharp lens costs a lot of money to make (hence why Leicas are so expensive) so to compensate for this companies enhance their output by using artificial sharpening techniques and fake colour enhancers.

On the top of the images below you can see the iPhone image is overly sharp and the colours are very bright and vibrant - nice but not realistic.

Also its using ‘Portrait mode’ which I can’t stand as it artificially blurs the background and the line where it blurs the image is usually wrong and you end up with a missing ear or something - just look at the chain in the background or the edge of the jacket (its sharp right up to the edge) - you see what I mean.

Compare it to the Leica’s photo on the bottom.

This is more ‘real’ looking. The left image is like you are looking at an on screen photo of a flower basket where on the on the right, its looks like you are looking at the real thing.

Summery Is it as good as a dedicated camera? Not at all.

Upscaling a 12mp camera sensor, is never going to be as good as a full frame sensor, and digital zoom is rubbish compared to an optical lens, even if you have double the pixels to use.

Would I recommend it? For its price (and for those who want to post on Facebook or instagram), the iPhone is very good indeed and is more than capable (video stabilisation is superb) then most peoples needs.

Its the best phone camera on the market, and its does come quote close to a real dedicated camera. But....

If you want to take photos that are more than just a Facebook snap shot then spend half the money of an iPhone and get yourself something like a Leica V-Lux for £500 from ebay. The image quality and the amount of possibilities you can do with the manual controls are in a different league. Cant make phone calls on it though.

More reviews on my blog.

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Leica Q2 & V-Lux 5
Insta: @LesFieldPhotos
500px: @LesFieldPhotos

 LEZ90's gear list:LEZ90's gear list
Leica Q2 Leica V-Lux 5 +2 more
Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)
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