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
49 months ago
I like how this turned out.



Attachment Image
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maikerukun Avatar
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
telegram

Bumper Telegram Update Enables Video Calls With Up to 1,000 Viewers

Saturday July 31, 2021 12:13 am PDT by
Telegram Messenger has received a major update to its video capabilities, including support for video calls with up to 1,000 viewers. Group video calls in Telegram allow up to 30 users to stream video from both their camera and their screen, and now a maximum of 1,000 people can tune into the broadcast. Telegram says it intends to continue increasing this limit "until all humans on Earth...
app store blue banner

Elon Musk: Apple's App Store Fees Are a 'De Facto Global Tax on the Internet'

Friday July 30, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter today to criticize Apple's App Store fees in a tweet that sides with Epic in the ongoing Epic v. Apple dispute. "Epic is right," wrote Musk, before going on to call Apple's App Store fees a "de facto global tax on the Internet." Musk earlier this week made veiled comments about App Store fees, but today's statement is a much more direct criticism....
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Top Stories: Face ID on Future Macs, Elon Musk Criticizes Apple, and More

Saturday July 31, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
This week saw an interesting range of Apple news and rumors, including a blockbuster earnings report, rumors about next year's "iPhone 14" and Face ID coming to Macs, and more. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other popular topics included Apple's crackdown on leaks, changes in the latest round of betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, and several stories...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...