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iPhone X Camera Overview: Portrait Lighting, Video Improvements, Front-Facing Portraits and More

With each new iPhone, Apple introduces significant camera improvements, a practice that has established the iPhone as one of the most popular cameras for photography on sites like Flickr.

The iPhone X, as Apple's new flagship device, is no exception. It features new hardware and new features that have established it as the best iPhone camera to date, on par with dedicated point and shoot devices and even DSLRs in some modes. With the iPhone X now widely available, we spent some time with the iPhone X's rear and front-facing cameras to see just what they can do.

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There's an all new rear camera in the iPhone X, with two lenses arranged in a vertical orientation, a first for an iPhone. Apple chose a vertical orientation because of space constraints and design changes that required more available surface area for the front-facing TrueDepth camera.

The rear camera has a standard f/1.8 12-megapixel wide-angle lens that's paired with an f/2.4 12-megapixel telephoto lens. Sensors in both lenses have been improved, and the lower aperture of the telephoto lens means it's able to let in a lot more light for sharper images in poor lighting conditions.


In addition to sensor improvements, Apple has introduced a new color filter for more vibrant photos, and there's a new Apple-designed image signal processor that can detect elements in a scene for faster autofocusing and optimization of scene elements before an image is even captured.

Both rear lenses support optical image stabilization for the first time, for better photo quality in all lighting conditions, and better than ever portraits when using Portrait Mode.


There's also a new front-facing camera system, the TrueDepth camera, which is what powers Face ID with its dot projector and infrared camera and sensors. There's also a high-quality f/2.2 7-megapixel camera built into the TrueDepth system for taking selfies.

With the TrueDepth camera, the front-facing camera in the iPhone X now supports Portrait Mode right alongside the rear camera, so you can create Portrait Mode selfies with an artfully blurred background. Both the front and rear-facing cameras also work with the new Portrait Lighting feature for dynamically adjusting the lighting in a photo.

Photo taking isn't the only improvement in the iPhone X. The rear-facing camera supports 4K video capture at 60 frames per second and 1080p slo-mo video at up to 240 frames per second, both significant improvements over previous-generation devices. New video stabilization techniques, the aforementioned larger sensor, and the new image signal processor all go a long way towards improving video quality.

Along with this detailed look at the iPhone X's camera, we're going to be sharing a lot more iPhone X content over the course of the coming week, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors.com and subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven't done so already.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

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15 weeks ago
I like how this turned out.



Rating: 36 Votes
15 weeks ago
here's one of my fav's I've taken with it so far. this was golfing on Sunday.

Rating: 23 Votes
15 weeks ago
I love the pictures it takes. Here are a couple I took the day after it came out



Rating: 20 Votes
15 weeks ago
Pretty impressed so far (coming from an iphone 7), some wide and telephoto test shots I took recently.



Rating: 17 Votes
15 weeks ago
The example photos in this article are not very impressive. The sky is blown out on the close up of the leaves, and the sticks appear soft. But the BG isn't soft enough to justify a DOF so shallow that the sticks should be soft.

I don't think these examples really show off this camera.
Rating: 15 Votes
15 weeks ago
I can tell a lot about a photographer by asking just a simple question:

"What do you shoot?"

If the answer is: "I like making photographs of <insert what you like making photographs of>." That tells me something interesting, and will likely have an interesting conversation. And will probably talk about projects, which really interests me.

If instead the answer is, something like: "I shoot with a Canon 5D IV with a 70-200mm f/4 zoom (or whatever, could be any brand camera or lens)," that tells me something very different. And will likely be bored to tears trying to have an interesting conversation with that person.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 weeks ago
Sample pics of my first shots with the iPhone X. I'm coming from the 6S Plus, and I can say a lot of ground has been made over the last 2 years. Straight of the camera, no edits other than crops for straightening:



















Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago

I'll be honest, I'm 100% shocked and in awe of how good this camera has been so far. My girl and I were literally just gawking and thinking to ourselves why does the house look so much better in the iPhone photos than in real life lol. The X lens is better than my eye lens lolol.

Clearly you have never used a decent camera?
Rating: 7 Votes
15 weeks ago
I dunno, iPhone cameras have been really good for a LONG time. I'd upgrade for the lens hardware and maybe low light performance, I only have a 6+, so the dual lenses in the 8+/X would be a great addition.. But old iPhones can already take nice photos in optimal conditions. They have done incredibly crisp fast exposures for ages.

eg this is from my 6+ .. I'm sure it could be sharper but it's not exactly bad for a 3.5yr approaching obsolete phone.

What I'm getting at is some people can enjoy what they have rather than chase specs, and they should be happy with that. People still take incredible Polaroids. A lot of photographers still choose to shoot B&W. There was some incredible street photography someone posted in one of these threads taken on the iphone4 of all things. Creativity > Specs. (but specs do sometimes increase your creative options..)

I love my Nikons too, but stuff like surprise beach snaps are not so easy to capture unless you plan the trip around the cameras.. (and dont mind your lenses getting full of sand.. Argghh)

Not trying to be a downer. I'm really glad iPhone cameras are improving steadily and am happy people are enjoying them. Rarely do people go out and take the same photo on multiple devices, so there's a bit of placebo effect going on here though. :)

Rating: 6 Votes
15 weeks ago
I've just causally taken a few pictures and I'm not sure which is responsible for the result: the incredible camera or the amazing screen.
Rating: 6 Votes

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