iPhone X Camera – A dual 12-megapixel sensor and great video
The iPhone X has dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear, as there are in the iPhone 8 Plus, and that makes it the smallest iPhone yet to benefit from two sensors.
The main wide-angle camera is optically stabilised with an f/1.8 aperture – as seen in other 2017 iPhones – but the telephoto lens has been updated. It’s also now optically stabilised, with the aperture widened from f/2.8 to f/2.4. Both upgrades make the camera a much better performer in low-light, an area in which iPhone cameras have been found wanting in the past.
Apple says it has completely rebuilt the sensor, making it larger and faster, and there’s a new ISP (image signal processor) for better textures and colours.
Photos taken with the main camera are truly excellent. Pictures are more saturated than previous iPhones, although not to Samsung’s level, with vivid colours and lovely dynamic range. This makes it excellent for landscape shots, offering a fantastic feeling of depth.
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There isn’t really a situation where I haven’t been impressed by the camera on the iPhone X. In low light it produces clean, crisp images with minimal noise, and it doesn’t resort to overexposing light sources.
It’s great for portraits, too, especially with the vastly improved secondary camera and the constantly evolving Portrait mode. The wider aperture and added OIS mean you can now take portraits even with when the light isn’t great, with excellent results.
What’s less impressive is the range of lighting options that add extra effects to these photos. ‘Contour light’ is the best, this adds some minor flecks of light around the cheekbones and eyes, but the two ‘Stage light’ options very much live up to the ‘beta’ tag. These cut out the person, and replace the background with black. The idea is great, but the results have an amateur feel. There’s no blend where the shadow starts and the colour finishes, and the actual cut-out often isn’t accurate.
Video can be captured in 240fps slo-mo at 1080p, and 4K at a ridiculously smooth 60fps. The iPhone X and iPhone 8 were the first devices to support the latter, but that’s now matched by Android phones. To utilise 4K 60, you’ll have to switch to Apple’s new HEVC format; there don’t appear to be many compatibility issues that I’ve noticed.
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With the switch to the True Depth camera on the front, Apple has now enabled Portrait mode through the 7-megapixel selfie camera too. This was a big feature during the iPhone X announcement, but in reality it’s poor. I’ve yet to take a Portrait selfie with this phone that doesn’t blur out the wrong part, or leave me with weird-looking hair. Hopefully, this feature improves with future software updates.