Next level: iPhone 7 Plus camera review
10 Conclusion & Gallery
|The Good||The Bad|
With the iPhone 7 Plus Apple has done something that is has always been very good at: take an existing technology and lift it up to the next level. Dual-cams on smartphones have been around for a while now but the Apple version is the first to provide real added value, at least as long as you are shooting in relatively bright light. Yes, there is much room for improvement in darker conditions, but overall the Apple system is definitely a step in the right direction and a lot of fun to use.
Looking at camera operation and camera app features the Apple is, as usual, up with the best and the wide-angle camera offers very good color, tonality and dynamic range. It lags slightly behind the best in class in terms of pixel-level detail, though. Of course the 7 Plus also offers the excellent build-quality and materials, responsive operation and high-quality display you would expect from a premium brand. Overall the Apple iPhone 7 Plus is a lot of fun to use as a mobile imaging device. If the dual-cam is what you've been waiting for and you're willing to spend the money, you can't go wrong with Apple's latest innovation.
Features & Operation
Over the years Apple has step by step expanded the iPhone's camera feature set and by now the iOS stock camera app offers some of the best special modes in the business. Both panorama and slow-motion modes are class-leading. HDR mode is one of the most efficient and while Timelapse and Live Images aren't anything you'd use on a daily basis, they can be fun to play with on occasion.
The headline feature is the new dual-cam, though. Apple is a little late to the dual-cam game but, thanks to a secondary lens with longer 56mm equiv. lens, it's arguably the option that currently provides most added value to the user. The longer lens provides a more pleasant angle of view for people photography and makes an ideal combination with the new background-blurring Portrait mode. It also means that the iPhone 7 Plus is by far the best smartphone for zooming, as long as your scene is bright enough for the tele-camera to achieve a decent exposure.
Raw-capture and manual control are not available in the stock camera but those features can be acquired, along with an abundance of others, via the excellent selection of third-party imaging apps in the Apple App Store. In addition the Photos app offers a good array of editing functions.
When looking at the iPhone 7 Plus image quality you have to distinguish between the 28mm wide-angle and the longer 56mm lens. The former captures, in typical Apple fashion, images that show pleasant colors, good exposure and wide dynamic range down to very low light levels. On the downside, pixel-level detail cannot quite keep up with the best in class and some luminance noise is visible in areas of plain color, even at base ISO. If image detail is priority, competitors in the shape of the Google Pixel models, the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the Huawei P9 are currently a better choice.
In bright light the 56mm lens delivers very similar image quality to the wide-angle. However, as soon as the light gets dimmer, the slower aperture and lack of optical image stabilization mean that higher ISOs have to be used, resulting in increased image noise and noticeably reduced levels of detail. In anything darker than typical interior lighting images will be underexposed and the stock camera app will default to digitally zooming the wide-angle camera.
On the plus side, the longer lens offers much better resolution and detail than digital zoom when you can't get near enough to your subjects and also a more pleasant angle of view for most types of people photography. Video-shooters will love the iPhone's excellent video stabilization on both lenses and the very stable video-AF in all light conditions.
The Final Word
Comparing the iPhone 7 Plus to the competition is not an easy task. The dual-camera, with its 56mm lens providing something of a tele-perspective, is currently unique in the market. As we have explained throughout this review, it's not without its flaws and of limited use in low light, but the added reach and alternative angle of view it provides in good light conditions make it a real game-changer for mobile photography. That said, we are looking forward to the second generation of the technology which will hopefully be more useful for indoor and night shooting.
If you can live with the, compared to some rivals, slightly lower levels of image detail, the only thing that could potentially hold you back is the Apple's rather steep price point of $769 for the 32GB base version. However, given the dual-cam's advantages, many users might find the premium over the competition to me more than acceptable.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Category: Mobile Phone
Camera and Photo Features
Ergonomics and Handling
Still Image Quality
Speed and Responsiveness
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus can't quite keep up with the best in terms of pixel-level detail but otherwise delivers very good image quality all-around. Its unique selling point is its dual-camera with a 56mm 'tele-lens.' It allows for the best zooming of all current smartphones, offers an alternative angle of view to the wide-angle and works well in Apple's new portrait mode. There is room for improvement as far as the dual-camera's low-light performance is concerned, but overall the system is a true step forward for mobile photography.
There are 94 images in our Apple iPhone 7 Plus samples galleries. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review Samples
iPhone 7 Plus Preview Samples
Jul 17, 2017
Jul 18, 2017
Jul 16, 2017
Oct 25, 2016
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