Photographer Austin Mann’s iPhone 13 Pro Test Looks at Camera Improvements With Macro, Photographic Styles, New Lenses, and More

The photographer Austin Mann has today published his in-depth annual review of the latest iPhone‘s camera capabilities, this time focusing on the iPhone 13 Pro. Mann’s tests were performed in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, looking at each of the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s camera upgrades, including Macro mode, increased telephoto zoom and Cinematic mode.

ProRAW image shot with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Telephoto camera and edited in Lightroom CC.

Mann said that macro mode, which uses the Ultra Wide lens and allows users to take photos around 2cm away from a subject, is “perhaps the strongest advancement in this year’s camera system” and fulfills a clear need for many photographers. Images in Macro mode are still able to be fairly sharp in low-light and amid camera shake. Macro effectively functions “as a fourth lens” and is “not just an iterative increase.”

ProRAW image shot with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Ultra Wide camera in macro and edited in Lightroom CC.

The new 13mm Ultra Wide lens with f/1.8 aperture is said to offer sharper low-light images with faster shutter speeds. While the Ultra Wide still has some lens distortion, according to Mann, the overall sharpness is “drastically improved.”

ProRAW image shot with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Ultra Wide camera and edited in Lightroom CC.

The new 77mm Telephoto camera offers a 33 percent increase in size over the same lens on the iPhone 12 Pro, but it is also boosted with a substantially larger sensor. Mann praised the results of these improvements, saying “everything I shoot with the Telephoto feels naturally cinematic and has a different feel than imagery captured by previous models” and “my eye isn’t accustomed to seeing this kind of depth compression from my ‌iPhone‌.”

ProRAW image shot with the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌’s Telephoto camera and edited in Lightroom CC.

Mann also experimented with the new Photographic Styles feature, which allows photographers to finely tune a distinctive look for all of their photos without sacrificing the sense of depth. He commented that Photographic Styles are intentionally “very subtle” and feature “a lot more depth instead of the flat nature of a preset.” While Mann noted that photographers are likely to shoot in ProRAW for clients, Photographic Styles “will be perfect” for times “when I just want great looking images right now versus maximum processing control later.”

Image shot with Photographic Styles on the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌.

He added that features like Photographic Styles and Smart HDR 4 are among the more nuanced upgrades this year, saying that they “will impact every single photo you take, but not at the same transformative level.”

Mann shot a range of video clips in Cinematic mode and was impressed by the ‌iPhone‌’s new computational videography capabilities. He noted that it was particularly impressive that you can change focus at the perfect frame later on in the editing process.

See Mann’s full report for many more images and additional information about the technical capabilities of the ‌‌iPhone 13 Pro‌‌’s improved camera setup.

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