A Photographer Breaks Down Which iPhone Camera Features Are Worth An Upgrade (2023)

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That’s the question on everyone’s mind when the shiny, new iPhone drops. Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max release Sept. 16: They come in an eye-catching purple color, include the new Dynamic Island, and have a few updates to the way you take pictures — like the 48-megapixel Main camera. But are these updates are worth your money? To get a better idea of what the new phone can do, Elite Daily spoke to photographer Idara Ekpoh to find out which iPhone 14 Pro camera features are worth shelling out cash for an upgrade.

If you have an iPhone, you’ve got all the makings of a professional photo shoot right in your hand — lighting, focus, zoom, you name it. Idara Ekpoh, a photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona, uses her professional camera on most jobs, but she’s also been taking photos with her iPhone since 2018, so she knows what to look for in a new device. The new iPhone 14 Pro camera caught the professional photographer’s attention, thanks to the improved Telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and impressive low-light capture capabilities.

OK, that’s all great, but what if you already have the iPhone 13 Pro or even the 12 Pro or 11 Pro — do you really need to cough up your fall budget for the new phone? To help you out, Ekpoh breaks down all the camera specs and shares which OG iPhones still take pretty legit pics. (Yep, you might not need to upgrade.)

What To Look For In An iPhone Camera

Ekpoh, like many iPhone users, does her due diligence before she commits to an upgrade. The 28-year-old photographer makes sure the new phone camera comes equipped with the features she relies on the most:

  • Low-light capture.
  • Overall camera sharpness to guarantee her subjects will always be in focus.
  • ProRAW.

As a photographer, Ekpoh uses ProRAW, which combines a standard format plus iPhone image processing, to get the most out of the editing process. “When I go into editing, you’re capturing more information that allows you to really push the limit of your photos while editing,” she explains. Shooting with ProRAW also helps maintain the quality of the photo through the editing process across programs like Photoshop and Lightroom.

(Video) iPhone 14: Photographer's Reaction (48MP on the Pro!!?!)

ProRAW has been around since the iPhone 12 Pro, so you won’t have to upgrade for it — but it does get a boost with the 48-megapixel camera in the iPhone 14 Pro.

Best iPhone 14 Pro Camera Features

The iPhone 14 Pro has a lot of similar features as previous Pro generations, but almost all of the 14 Pro camera features have updates you won’t find on the other models.

48-Megapixel Main Camera

Ekpoh was hype about the improved Main camera. “I was honestly so shocked because the idea of my phone being able to capture that much is kind of crazy,” she says. Note: You’ll need to shoot with ProRAW to get photos in 48 megapixels — the default is still 12 megapixels without ProRAW.

The 48-megapixel camera is also a first for iPhone with its quad-pixel sensor, which allows it to gather 20% more light — showing off more detail and less noise. TBH, this feature is very cool, but if you’re not going to do tons of editing like Ekpoh does with ProRAW photos, you might be fine with the cameras on the older Pro models.

Low-Light Capture

“Being able to capture light is really important, not just for when I'm shooting as a photographer, but even when I'm taking pictures of friends when we're out at night,” Ekpoh says, intrigued by the iPhone 14 Pro’s new capabilities.

(Video) Photographer breaks down all of the iPhone 12 cameras // Which one is for you?

The iPhone 14 Pro takes the lighting function to the next level with a new sensor in the Ultra Wide camera (which is twice the size of the 13 Pro’s sensor). Combined with the Photonic Engine and Deep Fusion process — taking the best parts of images on a pixel-by-pixel basis — you get 3x better photos in low light. And you’ll get 2x better photos in low light on the Main and Telephoto cameras. Night Mode also works twice as fast as it does on the iPhone 13 Pro.

Autofocus On TrueDepth Front Camera

All iPhone 14 models come with the new autofocus on the front-facing camera, a first for the iPhone. It’s great for better group selfies and improved photos in low light, thanks to a faster aperture that allows for a 38% increase in light capture compared to older phones. You might even see more detail in your self-portraits — especially if you turn on ProRAW.

“I think they've made a lot of improvements with this front-facing camera to keep your shots in focus, especially when you have those group shots,” Ekpoh says, adding that it’s a bonus since it’s easier to take a self-portrait when you’re looking at it.

More Zoom Power

With the Ultra Wide and Telephoto cameras (and the 48-megapixel sensor), the Phone 14 Pro has four zoom options with optical quality: 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x. The new sensor gives you the 2x zoom from what acts as a fourth camera. TL;DR: it should be better quality than when you toggle to 2x on your current iPhone Pro.

Ekpoh usually uses a 20-70 zoom lens on her professional camera, and iPhone 14 Pro’s new zoom capabilities have her excited about what she can do with them. “I use [the 20-70 zoom lens] for everything because it takes great photos at a wider lens, closer up, whatever I wanna do, so being able to do a similar thing with my iPhone is really exciting,” she says.

(Video) iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Features for Photographers - Should You Upgrade Your Phone

Which Older iPhones Are Still Great For Photos?

Exploring the new-new is fun and all, but an upgrade to the 14 Pro isn’t the only way to keep taking great pictures. Ekpoh says she loved shooting with her iPhone X and iPhone 11 Pro Max when they launched in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

In fact, most of the photos from the Shot On iPhone section of her website were taken with her iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 11 Pro Max, two phones which Ekpoh says are still very capable of snapping great photos. So, good news, OG iPhone stans, you don’t have to make the switch if it’s not the best time to throw down a cool $1,000 for a new phone. Plus, if your phone is compatible with iOS 16, there are plenty of features in the software update to make your phone feel new.

As a photographer, Ekpoh is excited about the 14 Pro camera improvements, but since Apple is building on previous Pro cameras, if you’re not dying to get 48 megapixels, you might be fine with the version you have. No matter what camera you use, she emphasizes framing your shot. “What makes for any great photo is how you frame it,” Ekpoh says. She suggests playing around with shooting at a lower angle or setting your subject off-center. “Those are the kinds of things that will improve the photos you're taking with your iPhone,” she adds.

To decide if you’ll be framing with a 14 Pro, here are the numbers for the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max: They start at $999 for a 128 GB phone and $1,099 for a 128 GB phone, respectively.

We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

(Video) iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Review: How Much Better is 48MP vs 12MP?

There you have it. The iPhone 14 Pro is rocking some camera upgrades, but it may not be a must-buy if you’re already using a Pro camera — unless you need the new Dynamic Island, of course.

FAQs

Which iPhone is best for professional photography? ›

The iPhone 13 Pro is not just the latest and great iPhone, it's also the best iPhone for photographers right now. Its triple-lens setup boasts a standard, ultra-wide, and telephoto configuration, with 26mm, 13mm, and 78mm equivalent focal lengths respectively.

What iPhone has the best camera features? ›

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best iPhone camera for photography. There's no other smartphone camera like it. It has one of the best cameras on any smartphone, whether iOS or Android.

Is the iPhone 14 camera worth upgrading? ›

Even if you're using last year's iPhone 13 Pro, if the camera is really important to you, this is actually worth the upgrade. If you're on any older iPhone model it's an even easier recommendation, as you'll be even more wowed by how much better the experience on iPhone 14 Pro is even beyond the camera improvements.

How do professional photographers use iPhones? ›

The best tips for taking pro photos with an iPhone.
...
  1. Use the rule of thirds. (Image credit: Future) ...
  2. Look for unusual viewpoints. ...
  3. Create a sense of depth. ...
  4. Don't use the flash. ...
  5. Avoid blurred shots. ...
  6. Use the iPhone camera's manual mode. ...
  7. Use portrait mode for portraits. ...
  8. Use HDR when you have scenes with a lot of light an shadow.
23 Apr 2022

Which Apple product is best for photographers? ›

Apple MacBook Pro 16” 2021 (M1 Max)

If you are a professional photographer or a digital marketer and you need a reliable, multipurpose laptop for photo editing, this is the best option. It looks great, has an amazing display, and also has the highest current system specs available in a MacBook Pro.

What phone do most photographers use? ›

At a Glance
  • Best Overall Smartphone for Photography: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
  • Best Pro Mode for Smartphone Photography: Vivo X70 Pro+
  • Best Smartphone for Computational Photography: Google Pixel 6.
  • Best Bang-for-the-Buck Smarphone for Photography: Google Pixel 5a.
  • Best Small Smartphone for Photography: iPhone 13 mini.
20 Oct 2022

Do professional cameras take better photos iPhone? ›

iPhones can automatically process a picture (computational photography) to make an image look great, but the overall quality is lower on an iPhone than on a DSLR camera. Of course, it still matters if you use a DSLR camera correctly to get a better image than an iPhone.

Which phone has the best camera quality other than iPhone? ›

Samsung Galaxy S22+ 128GB Unlocked Phone (Phantom Black)

It's very good, make no mistake, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Pixel 6 Pro have better cameras. Regardless, this phone still produces very good images and it's our top all-around choice for an Android phone based on price, performance, and features.

Is iPhone good enough for photography? ›

Even though high megapixel counts can impair image quality at the pixel level, Apple's sensor is big enough to capture good color and dynamic range. For most folks, the iPhone 14 Pro models will shoot at 12 megapixels, combining four pixels on the image sensor into one through a process called pixel binning.

Is iPhone 14 camera better than iPhone 13? ›

The main rear camera on the latest iPhone 14 now has a faster aperture and larger sensor size, essentially making this lens match last year's iPhone 13 Pro. Photos from the iPhone 14 are better, but it may be hard for most people to tell.

Which iPhone 14 is best for photography? ›

Lots of people will be devoted iOS users, in which case, the iPhone 14 Pro is certainly the best iPhone there is to date for photography. Go for the Max if you prefer a larger screen, as the cameras are the same between them.

Is it worth going from 13 pro to 14 pro? ›

If you're considering upgrading, we'd say the iPhone 14 Pro models offer enough differences to make the upgrade feel worthwhile this time around though and if you're choosing between the iPhone 13 Pro models and the iPhone 14 Pro models, if your budget allows, the iPhone 14 Pro models are the ones you want.

Is iPhone 13 Pro camera better than DSLR? ›

You will not get a quality as better than a DSLR captured image but it will be best for those who are not into professional photography and just want to click pics for their personal use! Should I buy an iPhone 13 Pro Max or a camera around $500 to take professional pictures?

How can I get better iPhone photography? ›

The 11 best iPhone photography tips for better photos
  1. Swipe up for more control. ...
  2. Change your perspective. ...
  3. Adjust your exposure. ...
  4. Get a grid. ...
  5. Add a blurry background with Portrait mode. ...
  6. Go deeper in your editing process. ...
  7. Utilize Photographic Styles. ...
  8. Macro mode for micro subjects.
10 Jan 2022

How do professional businesses take pictures with iPhone? ›

The simplest way to get a professional headshot with your iPhone is to use Portrait Mode to blur out whatever is behind you. It can instantly make your photo appear more professional and there's almost no work involved on your part.

What camera do most professional photographers use? ›

The Sony a7III is the most popular camera used by professional photographers. 7% of pros use the Sony a7III mirrorless camera, with the Canon R6 mirrorless camera and Nikon D750 DSLR camera coming in joint 2nd and 3rd.

Which is better Lightroom or Apple photos? ›

Lightroom is definitely more powerful when it comes to editing images. If you need these tools, then you need Lightroom. And if you're a heavy editor, then Lightroom is easier to use—Apple hides too much of Photos' UI, and has fewer keyboard shortcuts. But before you jump, try Photos.

What are professional photographers using? ›

The two best camera options for professional quality photography are DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Which is the No 1 camera phone in the world? ›

Google Pixel 7 Pro: The best phone camera yet

The Pixel 7's wide f/1.9 aperture and 2x faster shutter speed make it ideal for low-light photography and in good light, the Pixel 7 produced pictures with superb dynamic range and colour saturation, while the white balance was nice and accurate.

Do photographers prefer iPhone or Samsung? ›

The hardware and software of these two advanced camera systems will make it clear that Apple has a notable lead over Samsung for high-quality photography in various conditions. Apple lets in much more light, something that's critical to capturing the best quality possible and producing the most beautiful images.

Do any professional photographers use phones? ›

More than half of pro photographers use phone cameras for personal snaps. Camera phones can do tricks that are impossible for regular cameras. Clients won't take you seriously if you use a little camera phone.

Why do my iPhone photos look better than my DSLR? ›

As a general rule, mobile phones are not able to capture higher-quality images than a DSLR. But many photographers believe their images taken on a mobile phone look better because the phone automatically adds contrast, saturation, skin softening, and background blur.

Why a professional camera is better than phone? ›

The advantages of digital cameras

DSLRs perform better recording video in low light than phone cameras 99% of the time. This has to do with the size of the sensor as well as the ability to add interchangeable lenses to a DSLR. Another contributing factor is ISO range, which is relatively limited on phone cameras.

Is iPhone 12 camera better than DSLR? ›

The iPhone camera has computational photography, almost all (if any) DSLRs doesn't. But the DSLR allows interchangeable lenses, with quality and focal length of a very much wider range of lenses than the available 3rd party iPhone attachable lenses.

What Android phone has the same camera quality as iPhone? ›

Google Pixel 7 Pro

The Pixel 7 Pro keeps the same 50MP main and 12MP ultrawide sensors as the Pixel 6 Pro, but that's just fine. From the main and ultrawide cameras, pictures look stunning, matching and/or besting the iPhone 14 Pro (which shares the same camera system as the iPhone 14 Pro Max) in a lot of scenarios.

Is iPhone quality better than DSLR? ›

When comparing the iPhone 12 camera vs DSLR, there are minimal differences to a beginner's eye. Both devices have basically the same capabilities, and both enable users to record good quality footage.

Is a digital camera better than an iPhone camera? ›

Digital cameras capture higher quality

Other elements of a digital camera help it get much higher quality images too, including larger sensors (helps capture more light), a more powerful flash, and lenses that are capable of 10x optical zoom. You just don't get these things in a smartphone camera.

Is the iPhone 13 Pro Max worth it or wait for 14? ›

At face value, there is likely not enough to justify getting the new model over the ‌iPhone 13‌ for most customers. Matters may be different if you want a larger display size, however, as there is no equivalent to the ‌iPhone 14‌ Plus in the ‌iPhone 13‌ lineup.

Does the 13 Pro have a better camera than the 13? ›

The ultra-wide camera now offers what Apple claims is a 92% improvement in low-light photography, and it also has support for a macro mode, allowing users to get close ups of very small objects. It's with the macro mode where the iPhone 13 Pro phones beat their standard siblings, offering better extreme close ups.

Is iPhone 13 camera actually better? ›

iPhone 13 review: Cameras

The wide camera now gathers 47% more light than the iPhone 12, thanks to a larger camera with 1.7μm pixels. Another plus is that the ultrawide camera can now capture four times more scene and its newer sensor delivers better low-light performance along with less noise.

Can iPhone 13 be used for professional photography? ›

The iPhone's powerful combination of overall image quality, software processing and advanced features, such as Apple's own ProRaw image format, mean that the iPhone 13 Pro's images can look like they were taken on a professional-level camera.

Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 14 Pro? ›

It's worth remembering that you get more noticeable upgrades with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. These include everything that's new in the 14, as well as an upgraded main camera with a larger 48-megapixel sensor, an ultrawide camera that allows you to take Macro photos and a third camera with a telephoto lens.

How much better is iPhone 14 Pro camera than 14? ›

On the iPhone 14 Pro, the benefit is even better: up to 2x on the Main camera, up to 3x on the Ultra Wide camera, up to 2x on the Telephoto camera, and up to 2x on the TrueDepth camera.

Is it worth getting an iPhone 13 Pro or 13? ›

Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro's faster response rate and higher brightness makes it comfortably the better panel than its non-Pro brother. But as to whether that warrant's the accompanying price bump, you'll probably have to try both phones side by side in an Apple Store and decide for yourself.

Does the 13 pro break easily? ›

So, if you're looking for a phone that's durable and can withstand a drop or two, the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are a good choice. With their tough design, they can survive drops from any height. But if you're going to spend the money on one of Apple's new iPhone 13 models, you better invest in a leather case too.

What has a better camera 13 or 12 pro? ›

The iPhone 13 Pro's standard lens, which is 26mm equivalent, has a slightly faster aperture (f/1.5 vs f/1.6) and also uses the larger sensor size previously only found in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Putting these two specifications together adds up to better low-light performance.

Does the iPhone 13 Pro take better photos than iPhone 13? ›

Each lens of the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ features a larger aperture than on the ‌iPhone 13‌ to allow more light in, with an ƒ/1.8 Ultra Wide and ƒ/1.5 Wide compared to the ƒ/2.4 Ultra Wide and ƒ/1.6 Wide cameras of the ‌iPhone 13‌, which should make for better image quality.

Which camera is better than iPhone 13 Pro? ›

The iPhone 14 Pro's lens on the main rear camera also has a wider field of view than the 13 Pro's: 24mm versus 26mm. This means you can get a little more in your shot, which might be especially helpful for landscape photography.

What is rule of third in photography? ›

What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

How do professional photographers use iPhone? ›

  1. Use the rule of thirds. (Image credit: Future) ...
  2. Look for unusual viewpoints. ...
  3. Create a sense of depth. ...
  4. Don't use the flash. ...
  5. Avoid blurred shots. ...
  6. Use the iPhone camera's manual mode. ...
  7. Use portrait mode for portraits. ...
  8. Use HDR when you have scenes with a lot of light an shadow.
7 May 2022

Which iPhone is best for business professionals? ›

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most powerful, largest, and highest-performing iPhone to date, which makes it the perfect choice for power business users. For starters, the phone is designed to fit comfortably in your hand, even in spite of its large, 6.7-inch display.

Why do photographers use Apple? ›

Well, there isn't any better computer screen they can find other than the Mac. Apple not only releases marvelous high-resolution displays but also promotes these displays as photography-friendly. Mac also comes with an outstanding user interface with lovely menus.

Are there professional iPhone photographers? ›

Between the increasingly intuitive features, accessibility, and high-quality images, many professional photographers have made your iPhone a go-to tool when shooting. So much so that an entire sub-class of creatives was born who exclusively use their iPhones for their work.

Can iPhone camera be used as professional? ›

The iPhone camera enables many features and settings that allows you to capture photos like a pro. The key to taking professional photos is to first learn about the iPhone's Portrait mode. Open your camera and swipe right to enter Portrait mode.

Whose camera is better iPhone 13 or 13 pro? ›

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: camera

The iPhone 13 has a dual 12MP camera system with Ultra Wide and Wide lenses, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro has a triple camera setup that adds a Telephoto lens into the mix. The iPhone 13 Pro is also able to optically zoom in ten times further than the standard iPhone 13.

How much better is 13 Pro camera than 13? ›

The ultra-wide camera now offers what Apple claims is a 92% improvement in low-light photography, and it also has support for a macro mode, allowing users to get close ups of very small objects. It's with the macro mode where the iPhone 13 Pro phones beat their standard siblings, offering better extreme close ups.

How do people get their iPhone camera to take pictures that look like professional ones? ›

Use a Simple Subject: Don't overcomplicate your photo and include a ton of subjects and detail. Focus on one subject and surround that subject with an interesting background and empty space. Play with Angles: Most everyone takes a photo looking straight at a subject.

What camera does a professional photographer use? ›

The best cameras for professional photographers

Many professional photographers use high-end Canon or Nikon DSLRs, such as a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera or a Nikon D850 DSLR camera. There are many excellent options depending on the professional results desired.

Is iPhone 14 better than DSLR? ›

Low-light shooting is better on the iPhone 14 Pro

The dynamic range is also better, capturing a broader range between bright and dark. It's not what you'd get out of a full-frame SLR or mirrorless camera from the likes of Sony, Nikon or Canon, but it's impressive.

Is an iPhone enough for photography? ›

Well, the answer is no. No matter how many megapixels in whatever formats iPhones may capture, they won't ever get as good as proper cameras. On a technical level, image quality goes far beyond the number of megapixels and the format they were captured in.

Videos

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2. Use Your iPhone Like A Professional Photographer (Full Camera Guide)
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3. iPhone XS Camera NEW FEATURES | Worth upgrading from iPhone X? A photographer’s impressions
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4. NEW iPhone 14 (Pro/Plus) - Pro Photographer REACTS
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6. The iPhone 14 Pro Is A SCAM Of An Upgrade!
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