26 mm f 1.5 • (Wideangle lens)

The main camera and sensor combined with the 26 mm f 1.5 is excellent and gives the highest quality of all lenses and sensors inside the iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone Pro Max. Using ProRAW gives you impressive image files to work with, which reminds me of that coming from 1" and m43 sensors some years ago.


13 mm f 1.8 (Ultra Wideangle lens)

is ok, but the borders are falling apart. Also the sensor below this lens, is smaller, and therefore you get lower quality images to some degree. During night time, it sometimes misses focus if you are not careful and just "shoot".


77 mm f 2.8 • (Tele Portrait lens)

It uses a very small sensor, and you can see that clearly because of less good quality in the fine detals.

The most important issue is, that if you use the 77 mm lens at night on tripod or indoors at lower light levels, or at night - the iPhone DOES NOT *** use the 77 mm lens, but uses the brighter 26 mm lens by digitally simulating it by factor 3x - which leads into comparable crappy quality, where the fine detail are myshy (typical for digital "tele")

The strength of the lens is - in my opinion - good daylight, you get good quality, albeit never as detailed like the 26 mm f 1.5 lens. Also the artificial background blur with depth map, works well with the 77 mm lens.


*** If you go too close with 77mm

I noticed that when I go too close with the 77 mm f 2.8 lens, the quality of the details are worse. (the phone then uses the 26mm wideangle lens but in a 3x digital mode).


Two in situations this happens:

If you...

1) get too close in good light, the camera uses switches to digital 77 mm (but really is using the 26 mm lens, which has a much shorter minimum focus) This is also confirmed in the EXIF meta data inside the RAW file, by the way !


Here the 100% details

In the first photo, you see optical resolution of the 77mm lens. The second image shows the digital version of a 77mm lens. Way worse.

2) If the light is too low, the camera also uses digital 26mm lens by using 3x digital enlargement faking the 77 mm telephoto. This because the optical tele lens is only aperture ƒ 2.8, while the 26mm wide angle has a brighter ƒ 1.5 aperture. Yet, images taken with both lenses, showed exactly the same shutter speed (and ISO). So, this is impossible, because the tele photo lens in the iPhone 13 Pro Max is 4 times slower.


In Reality

The use of the OPTICAL 77mm lens is for rather limited use.

If you get really close (too close) the image results will degrade (when zooming in) because of the fuzziness when you enlarge something digitally (instead of real optical resolution). When the light is low and you use the 77 mm lens, the same happens.

Therefore it seems, the 77 mm ƒ2.8 lens is most useful in good light


In all instances I have used Apple's ProRAW.



If you want the native resolution of the 77mm tele lens, then you can use HALIDE II app - because it uses the real, optical 77mm lens - even in situations where the iPhone Photos app would fake it by using the wider 26 mm lens, and blow it up digitally by factor 3x (It does so either because you are too close, or the light is weaker/a bit darker - which isn't easy to discern when Apple chooses the 77mm or 26 mm lens - because you see no difference on the LCD screen)

But with the Halide II app, the chosen focal length always uses the real, optical lens of your choice.

However, I don't think that HALIDE II supports Apple's "Night Mode" (= multiple image stacking, which reduces noise by a huge factor at lower light leves). At least this far, I have not figured it out yet.


When I made portraits of my colleagues

in the dining room using the portrait 77 mm lens, I noticed that despite the light was ok-ish, Apple's photos app, made horrible images in portrait mode - because it had switched over to 3x digital resolution - which resulted into very mushy portraits, where you couldnt dicern any sharp features in the faces of my colleagues (Especially at home at the computer, it was revealed how bad the sharpness really was).

Now - that would be a situation, in which I would use HALIDE II app instead. I will test this next time I make closer portraits.

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