iPhone 7 Plus review – Camera

evan kypreos

By Evan Kypreos

Updated:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score:

9

iPhone 7 Plus – Camera

The iPhone 7 Plus comes with two cameras on the back, but acting as one. We’ve seen dual cameras before on the LG G5 and Huawei P9, but Apple hasn’t added a wide-angle lens like on the G5, or a black-and-white one like the P9. Instead, the iPhone 7 Plus uses its second camera to provide zoom without sacrificing quality.

plus 39

You can, of course, digitally zoom while taking a photo on any phone. Digital zoom essentially crops the same image you’d take normally so that it brings an area closer to you. It's like pinching into a photo in your gallery – yes, what you’re trying to look at becomes bigger, but it doesn’t get any clearer. Unless you’re in CSI.

iPhone 7 Plus camera portrait modeThe telephoto lens brings things closer without losing detail

The iPhone 7 Plus is different. By switching from the 28mm wide-angle lens to the 56mm telephoto one, it brings things twice as close while keeping detail high, like using optical zoom. Up until now the only phones available with optical zoom have been the Samsung Galaxy Zoom range and Asus ZenPhone Zoom. Neither have taken the world by storm, mainly because they were thick and awkward. The 7 Plus isn’t.

The two cameras Apple has packed on the back of the 7 Plus may work closely together, but they aren’t equal. The 56mm telephoto camera has a smaller f/2.8 aperture and this means that using the zoom in low light doesn’t work anywhere near as well as using the the camera unzoomed, so don’t expect great zoomed-in pictures of your favourite band at a dark gig. When there’s not enough light, photos are surprisingly noisy. Still, in well-lit conditions it works brilliantly and brings you closer to your subject.

It comes with another neat trick, and that’s the creamy soft-focus background effect you can usually only get with a large-sensor camera and a lens with a wide aperture. Apple calls it Portrait Mode, but it's known as "bokeh" in photography circles. It lends a professional quality to pictures that phones just couldn’t replicate well until now.

iPhone 7 Plus camera portrait modePortrait mode offers shallow depth of field done well

There are limits. For the results to look good, the 7 Plus needs a reasonable amount of light and you have to be around 2m away from the subject. Follow the rules and the results look great – much better than phones that have tried this before have managed. This iPhone 7 Plus is a lot more refined than those efforts.

Buy Now: iPhone 7 Plus at Amazon.com from $947

These are all the photography smarts that the 7 Plus brings to the table over and above the smaller iPhone 7. They’re cool and slick, but most of the time all you want is a good camera that can capture the moment. The iPhone 7 Plus, just like the smaller iPhone, does this brilliantly.

iPhone 7 Plus galaxy s7 camera comparisonBoth the Galaxy S7 and 7 Plus deliver high quality photos in good lightiPhone 7 Plus sample shotiPhone 7 Plus 6S Plus camera comparisonThe difference between the 7 Plus and 6S Plus isn't big in good lightiPhone 7 Plus sample shotiPhone 7 Plus 6S Plus camera comparisonThe 7 Plus has better dynamic range than the 6S Plus

The main rear camera is fast and now has a wider f/1.8 aperture as well as the optical image stabilisation we’ve become used to on Plus iPhones. These help with photos taken in low light, and they work well here. Photos are brighter and more detailed than on the 6S Plus before it. You’ll also be able to get decent shots in the mood-lit restaurants and bars, but if it’s too dark you can always fall back on the True Tone flash. It’s blinding – twice as bright as before – but it also means you can get a good photo of a group of friends that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

With 12 megapixels to play with, photos are detailed. There’s lots of nuance and colours look bright and accurate. If there’s one complaint I have about the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera, it’s that it’s not always consistent. Photos taken one after another can look quite different – the exposure seems to vary more than I’m used to on an iPhone.

iPhone 7 Plus sample shotThe 7 Plus's camera packs in the colours

Video is as good as it’s ever been. The iPhone 7 Plus can shoot in 4K, if you want the highest fidelity, but also at higher frame rates on lower resolutions. The Slo-mo option is a joy to use and can capture footage that looks almost professional, effortlessly.

On the front, Apple has given the 7 Plus a minor upgrade. The selfie camera is now 7-megapixel – up from 5 on the 6S Plus – and does a decent job of taking snaps. There’s no traditional flash on the front, but the 7 Plus uses last year’s trick to brighten the screen above its normal levels to light up faces that are close enough.

Minor quibbles aside, the 7 Plus is my favourite camera phone right now.

dtox

October 28, 2016, 11:34 pm

Typical apple circle jerk

Brompton Brompton

October 29, 2016, 7:55 pm

And what does that make you?

dtox

October 29, 2016, 8:00 pm

Your father

Phil

October 31, 2016, 10:35 am

To be fair, they said in the review of the standard model they wouldn't recommend buying it. I'm a little put off by the Reevoo 6.2/10 user score though I must say.

kumaran

October 31, 2016, 2:56 pm

Hello Apple reseller, How much did Apple pay you for this? iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 SAME Plus phones are for dumbasses.

Apple just keeps releasing new crap that is actually just their old crap. Apple products are so overrated and too expensive. They try to earn money by selling old products renamed.

Tina

December 13, 2016, 4:06 pm

iPhone deals are now on sale online only at NewSmartphoneDeals(.com

Joe Simmons

December 18, 2016, 7:45 pm

Thanks for the excellent review. I think I'm going to buy a couple of these for my wife and I. I'm using an old 5C and she's got a beat up Android, so I don't think waiting for the next year's iPhone is an option.

EverythingTech

January 23, 2017, 5:17 pm

I agree. I currently have 20% battery left, and it's been 26 hours since I charged it. I am a heavier user with this phone. This is all while gaming, streaming video, music, browsing, and so on. Excellent battery life!

EverythingTech

January 26, 2017, 5:38 pm

Does your phone beat every other phone in the world on benchmark speed tests like iPhone 7 Plus? Does it beat out the test showing it survives 35 ft of water, or 13 hours in an icy river like iPhone 7 Plus? Of course not!

Anna

February 20, 2017, 1:14 pm

iPhone deals are now available for a discount at NewSmartphoneDeals;com

dwight schrute

March 22, 2017, 12:48 pm

I'm an Android fan and got a 7+ for work as they only support apple devices. And I like it - performance and battery life are great. Don't really need a tablet as this is a nice sized phablet.
Not sure if I would buy it myself though

Det

April 2, 2017, 5:40 pm

iPhone 7 Plus review: Expensive, but the best iPhone Apple has ever made

Oh, that is the d u m b e s t title you could think of.

Mister m o r o n, just upping the battery with 1 mAh you have created the best iPhone Apple has ever made.

Please use your salary and buy some Omega-3. They are essential fatty acids for a healthy brain.

toboev

April 9, 2017, 1:10 pm

What has your weight got to do with the battery life? :)

John Phillips

April 20, 2017, 5:44 pm

I just got mine and immediately noticed the absence of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. I like to attach my iPhone to a Ram Mount on my motorcycle and ride all over the Southeast. Thank you Apple for removing the ability to have the iPhone connected to a power source and listen to music at the same time. I can't wait until my company allows Android devices. Apple blows...

John Phillips

April 20, 2017, 5:45 pm

Sure but what about a year from now. My iPhone 5 started out with great battery life but it didn't last. Of course, since it's an iPhone, I can't just replace the battery.

John Phillips

April 20, 2017, 5:48 pm

I'm in the same situation and I would NEVER buy a personal iPhone. They aren't anywhere near as innovative and capable as Android products. BYOD can't come soon enough.

danwat1234

May 14, 2017, 8:44 pm

No mention of the battery's maH capacity..

comments powered by Disqus