Apple has officially launched the latest iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at a special event in San Francisco, California. Apple pitched iPhone 7 as the best iPhone yet, in terms of its sheer performance and camera prowess. Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature a design similar to the iPhone 6, but with muted antenna lines, and an all new jet black colour option. Apple kept focusing on iPhone 7’s black colour option just to remind everyone that there is something new about this device, after all.
Jony Ive once said, “The thing is, it’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better”. Today, the statement holds true for Apple. Since it’s Apple, there is something to appease everyone, and this time – it is the iSight camera.
Apple has always offered one of the best cameras among smartphones, but lately, it has been losing ground against an extremely impressive one packed on the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge phones. With iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is trying to make it all even when it comes to smartphone cameras.
Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now feature an updated 12MP iSight camera with wider f/1.8 aperture and six-element lens. Apple has also made optical image stabilisation standard among newer iPhones. With that update, iPhone 7 easily becomes the best portable video camera capable of 4K video recording.
However, it is not the camera on the smaller iPhone that is the highlight, rather the dual rear camera setup found on the larger iPhone 7 Plus. Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with a dual 12MP rear camera with same f/1.8 aperture and six element lens. Apple is not the first to add a dual rear camera setup to a smartphone, but the implementation is what sets it apart.
For starters, iPhone 7 Plus comes with one wide-angle camera (similar to iPhone 7) which is equivalent to a 28mm lens and another telephoto camera (equivalent to 56mm lens) with twice the focal length. With the new telephoto camera, iPhone 7 Plus becomes capable of 2x optical zoom in real life. Smartphones in the past have offered similar features, but it has always been software driven and not by hardware.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus’ camera software now features a 2x button above the shutter button for active switching between the two cameras. Apple has also thrown in a 10x digital zoom in the form of a slider. So both the cameras work independently, and Apple says a future software update will also bring an option for portrait mode which will allow users to shoot portraits with shallow depth of field using the telephoto lens.
Apple showed some stunning pictures at the unveiling, but you can’t make a judgement before testing the device in less chaotic environments.
Dual rear cameras are a new trend in the smartphone industry. LG announced its flagship G5 and V20 with dual rear cameras while Huawei tapped Leica for P9’s dual camera setup. While LG focuses on shooting normal and wide-angle shots, Huawei P9 emphasises on Leica’s monochrome mode with a dedicated black and white sensor. While LG’s camera UI is easy to use, switching between modes on P9 is not that easy as I found out in my review.
With iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has again nailed the art of using complicated things in a simpler way. The iPhone camera app is very good and early demonstrations certainly hold promise. In my opinion, with iPhone 7 Plus, the dual rear camera won’t just be a party trick, it will be one that is used consistently.