Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Austin Mann’s iPhone 11 Pro Review

I look forward to Austin Mann’s iPhone review every year. This is particularly true when Apple dedicates much of its product launch materials to explaining camera improvements, because nobody can test those changes quite like Mann does.

Indeed, the photos in this year’s review are stunning. There are shots in here that seem impossible to have been created with a smartphone — particularly the photo of a lantern-lit boat and a self-portrait.

There are also some fascinating technical details in this piece. On comparing Night mode to traditional long exposure photography:

But with iPhone 11 Pro the rules are different… it’s not capturing one single continuous frame but blending a whole bunch of shots with variable lengths (some shorter exposures to freeze motion and longer shots to expose the shadows.) This means the subject can actually move during your exposure but still remain sharp.

I’m sure some of you are wondering, “well this is cool for handholding but what if you want to do light trails?” The iPhone actually detects when it is on a tripod and changes exposure method so that light trails and movement can still be captured.

In a separate review in Outdoor Photographer, Mann says that the ultra wide lens can be used for panoramas, which allows for an even wider landscape shot in every direction.

One other thing I noticed thanks to the original image files included in John Gruber’s review is that noise reduction seems to preserve more detail and create less of a painterly effect when zoomed in. I hope this is true for high-detail scenes such as landscapes and architectural photos.