Photographer Austin Mann Praises iPhone 11 Pro Camera

Travel photographer Austin Mann typically goes hands-on with new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real world situations, and to test Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro, Mann traveled to China to take pictures.

Mann tested out the new three lens-camera system with telephoto, wide-angle, and ultra wide-angle lenses, the updated Smart HDR, and the new Night mode that's designed for super low light.

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The wide-angle lens is the best lens of the bunch with the best shutter range, aperture, autofocus system, and ISO, but Mann says the ultra wide camera still "works really great in normal lighting conditions." It's not the ideal lens for low light, though.

The Ultra Wide works really great in normal lighting conditions and overall I'm thrilled to have it, but you will feel a difference when you move indoors or shoot into the evening. The images are softer than the Wide, and without Night mode you'll be tempted (or forced) to switch back to Wide depending on how limited your light is.

Night mode, says Mann, is "crazy powerful" and easy to use because it activates automatically in situations where lighting is poor. Mann praised Apple's efforts to balance Night mode, preventing night time shots from looking like daytime shots while still preserving detail.

iphone11pronightmode

One thing I love about Apple's approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression. When you look at the image above, it's clear their team didn't take the let's-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, "How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?"

According to Mann, Night mode is the "most dramatic leap forward" we've seen in an ‌iPhone‌ since panorama mode was introduced on the ‌iPhone‌ 5 in 2012. "It's the first time in a long time I've looked at an image and said to myself 'wow, I can't believe I shot this with my ‌iPhone‌,'" he wrote.

iphone11pronightmodecomparison
The ‌iPhone 11‌ and 11 Pro have a new "Capture Outside the Frame" feature that allows more of the scene in front of you to be displayed when taking a photo. What hasn't been highlighted is that this mode also captures a photo.

So, for example, if you take a picture using the wide-angle lens of the ‌iPhone‌, it also captures a photo with the ultra wide-angle lens, allowing users to decide later how to frame a photo.

iphone11prooutsideframe
Mann said that while he likes the feature, he didn't love the preview of what's outside the frame because it was sometimes distracting when composing an image. For the most part, though, he called it a "great feature" that invites new editing possibilities.

All in all, Mann said that serious photographers should consider getting an ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro and that the extra cost over the ‌iPhone 11‌ is worth it.

No matter what ‌iPhone‌ you are using now, if you are serious about shooting photos with your ‌iPhone‌, this is a year to upgrade. Apple had some serious catching up to do and as a result, this year has brought a tremendous leap in camera capability. Night mode and the Ultra Wide lens will change how we tell stories and express ourselves as artists using our iPhones. Now is a really good time to jump in.

Mann's full ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro, which has additional details on the technical capabilities of the new phone along with a selection of amazing images, can be read over on his website.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11

Top Rated Comments

desmond2046 Avatar
18 months ago
I’m so tired of seeing those pictures of fake fishermen in Guilin, China. They make money from posing for photos everyday, not fishing.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
matrix07 Avatar
18 months ago


Consensus so far is iPhone 11 flashless night shots are finally usable but they have a tendency to be blown out. A brighter shot doesn't necessarily mean a better shot if it ruins the mood like 6:24 in iJustine's video. Also, dark night sky and skin tone tend to be overly yellow. And, HDR isn't as good as Pixel Night Sight gen 1 (7:14) with gen 2 coming next month.

Amazing advancement though that blown out flashless night shot on mobile phone is a thing in 2019.


I disagree completely. On both your examples, iPhone 11 Pro blew Pixel's out of the water. They're the exact photo you'll want to get if you shoot them with camera with very high sensitive film/sensor (& with tripod).
Btw, iPhone 11 Pro photo on both examples are not "blown out". Learns about what blown out means. The word you're looking for is "bright". You may say it's too bright. I'll say it's enoght bright to get all the details.
The way the Pixel photo happened like that on 6:24 is not because its brightness on point but because it's lack a capability to do high HDR on dark scene.
And colour accuracy is also on point on iPhone 11 Pro while Pixel is too blueish which show its white balance in dark scene is not up to the new iPhone standard.
What these comparisons show is that the current Pixel would never get that fisherman shot as good as iPhone 11 Pro.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Service Droid Avatar
18 months ago


I’m so tired of seeing those pictures of fake fishermen in Guilin, China. They make money from posing for photos everyday, not fishing.

How can you possibly have a problem with this? Someone lost their livelihood and found a way to still make money doing what they love.

What's your problem with it? Do you also hate actors and models?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
QCassidy352 Avatar
18 months ago
I feel like the same camera story gets reposted every single year, just swapping the model names. Every iPhone takes terrific pictures until the next year's model is released, and then the no-longer-new model apparently sucks while the NEW-new-model takes amazing photos... until this time next year.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fmcshan Avatar
18 months ago
Love the forums update MacRumors!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
18 months ago
Very much looking forward to seeing if this can replace my rx100 for some purposes. (can’t replace my a7rii yet :-)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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