iPhone 12, 12 Pro and Pro Max - differences in the camera

A comparison of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max cameras

I have to admit: With every new iPhone I am relatively unimpressed by AR features, Dolby Surround Sound or other features. What interests me most is the camera and its possibilities. It is accordingly important to me every time the Apple Keynote The point is to have an overview of which iPhone model has which camera features to offer.

The iPhone 12 Pro is primarily based on an improved camera, which is certainly a reason for the purchase decision not only for me.

The iPhone 12 Pro is primarily based on an improved camera, which is certainly a reason for the purchase decision not only for me.

What Makes the iPhone 12 Pro Max Better?

In the keynote it was mentioned that the size of the iPhone 12 Pro Max also provides more space for the camera technology. This was exploited by revising the camera system in many places.

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Customers who are looking for the best camera technology now have to pick up the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

More focal length

Due to the greater free space, Apple was able to install a new 7-segment lens system that has a focal length of 65 instead of the usual 55 mm for the iPhone 12 Pro.

The higher focal length enables portrait photos from a greater distance and offers a stronger zoom for other photo subjects.

Bigger sensor

A big innovation is the 1,7 µm sensor, which thanks to its size offers 87% better low-light performance.

Image stabilization through sensor shift

The new image stabilization works with a technology called "sensor shift", which is used with DSLR cameras. The sensor is moved in the X and Y directions to compensate for movements instead of moving the heavier lens system.

This can also be used to compensate for high-frequency vibrations such as when driving a car, cycling or flying a drone. The camera can make 5000 micro adjustments per second, which is 5 times more than the iPhone 11 Pro models.

With the new image stabilization, in conjunction with the new image processor, low-light photos can be taken by hand with an exposure time of up to 2 seconds.

The three camera systems of the Pro models offer maximum flexibility when taking photos (Photo: Apple).

The three camera systems of the Pro models offer maximum flexibility when taking photos (Photo: Apple).

Technical data of the individual camera systems

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 (without Pro) is a bit slimmed down in terms of the camera and has only one system with two lens systems.

Ultra wide angle camera

  • Aperture 2,4
  • 5 element lens
  • 13 mm focal length
  • 120 ° field of view

Wide angle camera

  • Aperture 1,6
  • 7 element lens
  • 26 mm focal length
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 100% focus pixels
Even the "simple" iPhone 12 can handle poor lighting conditions better than the iPhone 11.

Even the "simple" iPhone 12 can handle poor lighting conditions better than the iPhone 11.

iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro has a 3-camera system. Apple provides this information about the zoom:

2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 4x optical zoom range (iPhone 12 Pro), up to 10x digital zoom (iPhone 12 Pro)

Although I'm not sure what zoom out means and what the difference between zooming in and zooming in is.

Ultra wide angle camera

  • Aperture 2,4
  • 5-segment lens
  • 13 mm focal length
  • 120 ° field of view

Wide angle camera

  • Aperture 1,6
  • 7-segment lens
  • 26 mm focal length
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 100% focus pixels

Telephoto zoom

  • Aperture 2,0
  • 6-segment lens
  • 52 mm focal length
  • 4x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Focus Pixels
Taking good photos in low light is a specialty of the iPhone 12 Pro. The Pro Max can go one step further by improving the camera system (Photo: Apple).

Taking good photos in low light is a specialty of the iPhone 12 Pro. The Pro Max can go one step further by improving the camera system (Photo: Apple).

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Like the iPhone 12 Pro, the Pro Max also has three lens systems. However, the camera system has been improved in some areas and therefore offers more performance than the iPhone 12 Pro.

Here Apple provides the following information about the zoom of the cameras:

2,5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom range (iPhone 12 Pro Max), up to 12x digital zoom (iPhone 12 Pro Max)

Ultra wide angle camera

  • Aperture 2,4
  • 5-segment lens
  • 13 mm focal length
  • 120 ° field of view

Wide angle camera

  • Aperture 1,6
  • New 7-segment lens
  • New 1,7 µm pixel sensor
  • 26 mm focal length
  • New optical image stabilization
  • 100% focus pixels

Telephoto zoom

  • Aperture 2,2
  • 6-segment lens
  • 65 mm focal length
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Focus Pixels

Apple ProRAW for iPhone 12 Pro models only

The new image format Apple ProRAW saves the image data in RAW format, but at the same time saves the meta data for image enhancement in the file. This gives you the advantages of automatic image processing by the iPhone's internal image processor, but at the same time all the setting options you know from the classic RAW format.

The Apple ProRAW will only be available in the course of 2020 and is then only intended for the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max models. However, it is possible that Apple will later roll out the ProRAW format for the iPhone models as well.

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2 comments

  1. Felix says:

    Incorrect information. The Pro max also has an ultra-wide-angle camera with an aperture of 2,4

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Felix! You're right. I just corrected it in the article! I'm almost happy that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is no better than the iPhone 12 Pro here, because I don't want to buy the giant iPhone. : D

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