The rumour mill is predicting higher megapixels, but what’s the rationale behind this?
No, we’re not only talking about ditching the notch on the iPhone 14 Pro; the main camera is projected to go from 12MP to 48MP, which would mark a significant departure for Apple.
Is it really that big of an issue to you? Nokia 808 PureView launched in 2012 with a 41MP sensor, not to mention the myriad Android phones from Huawei and Xiaomi boasting high-megapixel cameras over the previous several years.
Though this would be a significant shift for Apple users for two reasons. Since the iPhone 6S in 2015, all iPhones have been equipped with 12MP camera sensors. There has been no significant megapixel boost in seven years, and this will be the most dramatic one ever seen in iPhone history.
Aside from its relevance to the situation at hand, however, This is the greatest camera phone you can purchase right now, especially at a time when the quality of a phone’s camera is more crucial than ever. So, why may Apple suddenly take the risk of making such a significant adjustment to the camera on its flagship phone?
Many possible reasons exist, but surprisingly, only a handful of them are related to photography. Reflecting current trends in mirrorless cameras, which increasingly balance classic photographic needs with exciting new possibilities in image production, a 48MP jump would be a natural progression for this model.
When you think about it, the timing is perfect – now the issue is what Apple wants to do with those additional pixels…
Trust in the process
Combining tiny sensors with high megapixel counts was formerly thought to be about as wise as putting FaceApp on your dog. But times have changed. To put it another way, this isn’t the best idea because more megapixels equal smaller pixels, which implies weaker image signals and more overall noise. Lower megapixel sensors were the appropriate choice because the higher resolution would be obscured by the noise.
Because of this, the iPhone has remained loyal to a 12MP camera sensor. Compared to recent flagship cameras like the 108MP Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and 50MP Google Pixel 6 Pro, it’s become more obsolete. As long as you keep in mind that you’re taking pictures for the web, the reasoning has proven sound.
Why did Apple rethink their position? First and foremost, processing improvements for high-megapixel sensors have been achieved. It has gotten so advanced that even full-frame cameras like the Leica M11 use “Pixel-binning,” which interprets four neighbouring pixels on a sensor as one large pixel. To take 60MP or 36MP or 18MP images on the M11 you have the choice.
Apple, with its mystical ‘SuperPixel’ mode, will undoubtedly try to claim invention of this technology. There are currently few or no downsides to having a high-megapixel mode alongside the conventional 12MP setting on Android phones. In spite of the fact that powerful CPUs and multi-frame processing have virtually eradicated classic noise concerns, the result is frequently a hyper-real HDR appearance.
For social media, a 12.1MP sensor on the Sony A7S III remains one of the best full-frame cameras available, and 12MP isn’t a bad enough resolution. 12MP sensors, on the other hand, have lost their flexibility and low-light benefits in favour of high-resolution sensors. The iPhone 14 is expected to sport a 48MP camera, according to credible sources like Ming-Chi Kuo.
One thing is that a megapixel feast has no drawbacks, but what are the benefits? In addition, video’s rising prominence is likely to be a factor. Apple’s camera developers are putting a lot of effort into this, too, and the new sensor might have a significant influence.
If the iPhone 14 has a few more pixels, what will it do with them? 8K video capturing is the logical choice. In order to record 8K video, you’ll need at least a 33MP sensor, which the iPhone 14 may use to its advantage.
A phone with an 8K video camera is unnecessary. Nobody is around at the moment. Video or films in 8K are not being delivered by professional filmmakers since relatively few people have the ability to watch movies in that resolution and the huge file sizes make it extremely difficult for filmmakers to work with. Even yet, 8K video on the iPhone 14 isn’t always a waste of time.
Cropping and experimenting with different perspectives are made possible by shooting in 8K, which preserves 4K clarity when cropped. The Canon EOS R5 has a full-frame sensor, so that’s not an option with a phone. Our bet is that, if the iPhone 14 does come with 8K video capabilities, they’ll utilise it for some kind of amusing software gimmick with a suitably absurd name.
With the iPhone 14, for example, the additional pixels may be used to give you a variety of 4K (or 1080p) views from a single lens. When editing talking-head interviews, some videographers use’reframing,’ whereas the Filmic app’s ‘DoubleTake’ option allows you to accomplish something similar using several iPhone cameras. Filmic: There are two ways to acquire new perspectives from an automated video edit: one is to use 8K resolution from a primary camera, and the other is to use the ‘Auto Reframe’ tool in Adobe Premiere Pro.
However, the 8K camera in the new iPhone 14 may not be used just for video. Apple Glasses, which are likely to include two 4K micro-LED screens, may also benefit from the resolution, according to Ming-Chi Kuo (one for each eye). Because VR recordings require at least 8K quality, Canon is focusing on the Canon EOS R5 as the centrepiece of its VR campaign. Again, this is a little benefit, but it makes sense in terms of future-proofing a high-megapixel camera sensor.
It’s best to keep things short and sweet
It’s possible to take standard photos on the iPhone 14, but how? It’s a shame that a 48MP sensor can’t capture photos as well as its 12MP predecessors, or else the phone’s camera would fall further and farther in our rankings. However, there are excellent grounds to expect it will at least match the performance of the iPhone 13 Pro here and, if everything goes well, may even outperform it.
In part, this is because the iPhone 14 is likely to have a sensor that is far larger than the one found in today’s top model. Its diagonal length is expected to expand by as much as 25% to 35%, which means more light for those algorithms to work with.
Pixel-binning will likely keep the iPhone 14’s default photo mode at 12MP because of the usual 48MP resolution. You can photograph at a greater resolution in favourable light, which might lead to better hybrid zoom capabilities that help it compete with Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra.
iPhone 14 is expected to have no periscope zoom lens like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, according to the most recent rumours. When it comes to folding lenses, Jeff Pu of Haitong International Securities and Ming-Chi Kuo both say that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will only get them in 2023, and they’ll be capable of 5x optical zoom.
Because of this, photographers may want to hold off on upgrading to the iPhone 14 until next year – or at the absolute least, to see how the iPhone 14 camera performs in tests. There is always the chance of teething difficulties when trying to connect a sophisticated image pipeline to a new sensor. While we don’t expect Apple to make any serious blunders, we can never be sure.
Adding a 48MP camera on the iPhone 14 would be typical of Apple. However, the corporation almost never introduces groundbreaking capabilities as the initial use of a new technology. Instead, improvements are made over time and then touted.
When it comes to cameras, 12MP isn’t quite as much of an upgrade as it used to be. A phone camera’s specifications (with the possible exception of sensor size) are currently significantly less relevant than its software processing. Many photographers would argue that it isn’t especially advantageous for taking stills.
Despite having ‘inferior’ hardware compared to Android’s, the iPhone has done quite well in this area. So we’re excited to see what the iPhone 14 can achieve with its anticipated high-megapixel camera and whether it introduces any new software features to complement the likes of Photographic Styles and Cinematic Mode.
When it comes to the iPhone 14’s other cameras, and the non-photographic tricks that Apple’s new 48MP sensor would allow it to do, it’s more crucial to see what Apple does.