When iPhone 7 & 7 Plus were launched last year, a massive hype was created by the dual-lens camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus. Many consumers assumed that it can be used as an alternative to DSLR cameras. The hype of dual-lens created a tremendous amount of curiosity amongst users, especially photographers. In this review, we will do some camera crunching and see if the assumptions are true.
How does the dual lens camera work?
The dual lens mechanism is capable of utilizing both lenses together as well as independently. These lenses are fixed at two focal lengths, in iPhone 7 Plus case, 28mm and 56mm with an aperture of f1.8 and f2.8 respectively. The lenses work coherently to take a “Portrait Photo” in which the background is digitally blurred. This results in a shallow depth of field, which is ideal for capturing portraits and close-ups.
Apart from working together in Portrait mode, these lenses can also work independently at their respective focal lengths. For instance, in Photo mode, 28mm lens is used unless the user decides to zoom in. At 2x zoom, 56mm lens powers up the image. Hence, one clear advantage of having two lenses is that they can attain an Optical Zoom of 2x instead of Digital Zoom (which just digitally crops the original picture). Hence, it translates in to a much refined and better picture quality when zoomed in.
What about the Video Quality?
With better lens and a mighty A10 Fusion chip inside a sleek form factor, this is the area where iPhone 7 stands out the most. It’s ultrafast and responsive when it comes to capturing videos. It has plethora of video qualities to choose from, maxing out at Ultra HD resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). It is also capable of recording slow-motion videos at up to 240 fps. The new iPhone also comes standard with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which in theory should reduce the jerkiness while recording handheld videos. However, this is one area that needs a lot of refinement, as the OIS didn’t work as expected.
Is it good enough to replace a professional camera?
Let’s find out.
Starting with some numbers. A new iPhone 7 Plus starts from around $850 and goes up to over $1000 for its 256GB version. So for the sake of this comparison, we’ll be using a combination of a Digital SLR camera and an upgraded Lens, which collectively costs around $950. The lens paired with the Nikon D5200 DSLR is from the popular Sigma Art series, which has a Focal range of 18-35mm at f1.8.
From the comparison, it can be deduced the pictures taken from the DSLR are much more crisp and well lit. Another important thing to note is that the iPhone struggled a lot while focusing on the subject and it required a lot of effort to engage the “Depth Effect” or blurred background in simple words.
iPhone’s camera has definitely improved a lot and it boasts class leading technology. However, replacing a professional camera with an iPhone 7 Plus would be a stretch. Serious photographers know the worth of wide optical lenses and the iPhone definitely isn’t capable enough to replace them as yet.
However, having such an advanced camera system in such a sleek form factor is definitely commendable. Apple has done an outstanding job in blurring the lines between portability and professional quality. Hence, it is definitely a step in the right direction!