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.


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.

iphonexphotograph
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.

iphonexphotograph2
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.

Top Rated Comments

hubieonekanubie Avatar
52 months ago
I like how this turned out.



Attachment Image
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maikerukun Avatar
52 months ago
here's one of my fav's I've taken with it so far. this was golfing on Sunday.

Attachment Image
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
qwerty104 Avatar
52 months ago
I love the pictures it takes. Here are a couple I took the day after it came out

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jun180 Avatar
52 months ago
Pretty impressed so far (coming from an iphone 7), some wide and telephoto test shots I took recently.

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wikiverse Avatar
52 months 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.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
52 months 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.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...