The new iPhone 14 range was launched yesterday, including the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus but let's talk about the Pro models and whether one of them should be your next phone.
I didn't watch the keynote live, I find them a bit cringe-inducing, but I did catch up with the news afterwards and I was more impressed than I thought I would be. The camera upgrades looked great of course, the 48MP main camera with a new 24 mm focal length, is exactly what I was looking for, the first resolution bump since the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus back in 2015, which helps with better low light photography using a quad-pixel sensor (otherwise known as pixel binning in the Android world) maintaining the 12MP photo size or capturing maximum detail with full 48MP ProRAW photos. That's almost enough to sign me up right there!
The 48MP ProRAW photos are going to be big! Here is a screenshot from the Verge video - 'First look at the new iPhone 14 Pro: dynamic island?'. You can see the full resolution photo taking 56 MB, expect larger for more complicated scenes, like a landscape shot, I wouldn't be surprised if they are sometimes closer to 100 MB. As big as they are, they present a lot of editing capabilities and latitude for adjustments.
Then there is the new 12MP Ultra Wide camera with a larger sensor (hello more detailed macro shots), as well as an improved telephoto camera offering a new 2x option, which uses the middle 12 megapixels of the sensor for full-resolution photos, as Apple put it.
Apple are saying mid to low-light photography is improved across the board on all four cameras with the new Photonic Engine:
"Photonic Engine enables this dramatic increase in quality by applying Deep Fusion earlier in the imaging process to deliver extraordinary detail, and preserve subtle textures, provide better colour, and maintain more information in a photo."
These are the low-light improvements offered on each camera:
The front TrueDepth camera gets a big upgrade, as well as better low-light photography, the front camera uses autofocus for the first time, and Apple says it can focus even faster in low light and capture group shots from farther away. There is also a new Adaptive True Tone flash, which will adapt depending on what camera you are using, with an array of nine LEDs that can change patterns.
For video the new Action mode looks great, this will steady motion, say if you are walking, running, in a vehicle, car etc for "incredibly smooth-looking video that adjusts to significant shakes, motion, and vibrations, even when video is being captured in the middle of the action". This will crop the video considerable but still handy to have. No 8K video, for now, was anyone really expecting that?
The Always-On display, wouldn't be a key feature for me but it catches up with Android phones that have had this option for years. Now Dynamic Island on the other hand looked very cool, I like the name, it is kind of whimsical and adds more personality to the screen and a bit of quirkiness even to the interface, if it is well supported by developers too, it will be fun to use and helpful. The brighter display will also be useful, as will the exclusive A16 Bionic that powers all of these experiences, which looks class-leading, again.
The not-so-good stuff, which is a few things actually
- Huge price increase in UK, Europe and elsewhere
- The default 128GB storage and the price increase isn't a good look, really should start at 256GB for that amount of money on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
- No USB-C port, this just seems daft at this point
- No Apple Pro Camera app is a missed opportunity, rather everything is stuffed into the native camera app
- Give us more iCloud storage plans to store those huge 48MP ProRAW photos!
So the standard advice is you shouldn't upgrade if you are on the previous generation, an iPhone 13 to 14 upgrade, for example, will give you the least bang for the buck. If you have an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus up to an iPhone 11 especially, and you are looking to up your photography game, with a device with a premium display, great battery life, and a hugely versatile camera system, the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max will be an amazing upgrade. For me, macro photography, the telephoto camera and the option to shoot ProRAW were worthwhile reasons to upgrade from an iPhone 11 to an iPhone 13 Pro.
It's also worth looking at Apple's Certified Refurbished site for your region, for example in the UK you can pick up the iPhone 12 Pro at a somewhat reasonable price. If you are going Pro, it's a bigger investment, so you want to work out how you are going to protect it, case, screen protector, AppleCare+ or other insurance for example. I went with AppleCare+ with no case or screen protector.
Image credit, at the top of the post: Apple - "The quad-pixel sensor optimises for detail in ProRAW images, offering a 48MP image for even more detail and creative control."
Hope that was of interest, please consider subscribing to the site if you have an interest in iPhone Photography, it's free and you'll get new posts straight to your inbox, check spam/junk in case the emails end up there. Check back to see if I end up upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro!