iPhone 7 Camera Test Touts Excellent Exposure, Lower Noise, and Richer Colors

DxO Labs has published an in-depth iPhone 7 camera review, calling it "a very solid evolution over the iPhone 6s" after extensive testing. The single-lens smartphone achieved an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 86, topping the iPhone 6s by two points but trailing the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and five other devices.

iPhone 7 has a wider DCI-P3 color gamut that allows for more vibrant colors compared to the traditional sRGB standard. The photo on the right, for example, rendered using the DCI-P3 color space, has richer reds displayed compared to the photo on the left rendered using the traditional sRGB color space.

dxomark-iphone7-colors-2

One of the interesting innovations in the iPhone 7 is its use of a wider-gamut color space, allowing it to store and display deeper-and-richer colors in its JPEG photos. To take full advantage of this new capability you’ll want to view your images on a color-rich display like that of the iPhone 7 and other Apple devices that support the new DCI-P3 color gamut used by the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, or on a premium, color-managed monitor or an Ultra HD TV. Conversely, iPhone 7 photos may look slightly washed-out when viewed on devices that do not support the appropriate color management (DCI-P3), as they would wrongly interpret iPhone7 JPEGs as being encoded in sRGB.

DxO said the iPhone 7 offers great exposures with wide dynamic range, accurate white balance and color rendering, and good detail preservation when shooting outdoors in bright daylight. The test noted some exposure failures, such as overexposed highlights, but said the instances of these were minimal.

dxomark-iphone7-13-1

Shooting in bright light, the iPhone 7 captures very good exposures with wide dynamic range, making it an excellent choice for landscape, streets scenes, and architecture, as well as for general outdoor (daylight) photography. Colors are both vivid and pleasant, especially in sunny conditions, and generally the white balance is stable. We observed some light green casts in some very specific conditions, but they were fairly minimal.

The review also awarded high marks for the iPhone 7 camera's excellent corner-to-corner sharpness, reduced noise, and accurate color representation. DxO shared the photo below as an example of what it called excellent White Balance. The review said, in some cases, a barely noticeable green cast can appear.

dxomark-iphone7-15

Accurate color representation is only possible when the camera correctly estimates the color of light falling on the scene – typically called the White Balance. Part of the job of the camera’s image processing chip is to analyze the scene as it is captured and select a White Balance, ranging from warm to cool, that recreates the scene the way the human eye sees it. The new image signal processor in the iPhone delivers on this test, with images typically showing excellent White Balance.

Additional photos and test results can be found in the DxOMark review. DxO has analyzed the image and video quality of over 9,000 cameras, lenses, and mobile phones, and its tests are generally respected within the industry. The company also sells some consumer-facing products like the DxO ONE camera.

DxO said its iPhone 7 Plus camera review is coming very soon.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
49 months ago

The single-lens smartphone achieved an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 86, topping the iPhone 6s ('https://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/14/camera-lab-test-scores-iphone-6s/') by two points and trailing only the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and five other devices.

That's quite some definition of "only" you have there, MacRumours.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
Finally good to see a 7 camera review. All the ones I've read seem to be about the 7+.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
They have gone to such extraordinary lengths to compensate for the smaller sensor, imagine how good the image quality would be if it were larger? I'd take a slightly thicker phone or more pronounced camera bump for this alone.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
People love to nitpick over which camera is the best of 2016, but if you go less than 10 years ago....this is what we had at our disposal....

http://snapsnapsnap.photos/iphone-6s-camera-comparison/

Im happy it's 2016.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
Some notes from the review:

The HTC 10, which is currently our top-rated phone camera, and therefore still the gold medalist, was clearly designed to optimize image quality, using a large 10mm phone thickness (“Z” dimension), with an f/1.8 aperture, and a sensor whose area is 60% larger than that of the iPhone 7. This gives the HTC an image quality advantage over the iPhone 7, as confirmed by their respective DxOMark scores of 88 for the HTC 10 and 86 for the iPhone 7, but the HTC 10’s advantage comes at the expense of a thicker handset.

Samsung also made an interesting choice by managing to pack into an equally-thin handset an f/1.7 lens and a sensor whose area is 35% larger than the iPhone 7’s sensor. This combination is what gives the Galaxy S7 Edge its DxOMark score advantage of 88 points, compared to 86 for the iPhone 7. Interestingly, Samsung chose to use a lens with a wider field-of-view to reduce the thickness of the Galaxy S7 Edge, a design choice that’s in the same direction as Sony smartphones, which also combine a larger sensor with a larger field of view.

Result: Thinness AND optimal image quality
While Apple’s flagship phones may have a smaller sensor than their competitors from Samsung and HTC, Apple has incorporated a variety of innovative technologies to create a compelling smartphone experience in a very-thin form factor. This includes high-performance lens design, efficient sensor electronics, built-in optical image stabilization, multi-image synthesis on a high-performance image processing chip, and an advanced image processing pipeline.

So sensor size is a big factor in final image quality. The above suggests that the iPhone camera system may actually have better technology, but the smaller sensor results in a slightly lower score at the end of the day. Equalize the sensor size and then you can truly do an side-by-side comparison of image-processing by each phone.

This also suggests that the iPhone 7 Plus may end up with superior results over every other smartphone, due to its double-camera system (essentially double the effective sensor size).
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
Let's see what the Plus scores. I am very interested in seeing if two lenses work together to make a better image.

This is a reputable review site and there are 7 android phones ranked higher.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...