iPhone 13 Camera Comparison: If You Have an Older iPhone, It's Time to Upgrade

Comparing the iPhone 13 models to the iPhone 12 models makes the ‌iPhone 13‌ update seem uninspired and unnecessary, but for those who have an older iPhone, it's a different story, especially when it comes to camera quality.


We compared the ‌iPhone 13‌ to the iPhone 11 Pro, ‌iPhone‌ 8, and ‌iPhone‌ 6, and have come to the conclusion that if you have an older model and take a lot of pictures, the ‌iPhone 13‌ is worth the upgrade. Check out our video up above and our comparison photos to see if you agree.

iphone camera comparison road twilight
It will come as no surprise that the ‌iPhone 13‌ outperforms the ‌iPhone‌ 6, and this is where we see some of the starkest differences. The ‌iPhone‌ 8 is closer in quality and has a color profile that's actually quite similar to the ‌iPhone 13‌, but it's still a clear difference in lower lighting conditions.

iphone camera comparison sunset
With the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro, it's harder to see the improvements in photos with bright, even lighting, but the ‌iPhone 13‌ does a much better job with lights at night (there's less lens flare) and also with texture. The Deep Fusion feature that kicks in primarily with indoor lighting makes a big difference in texture quality.

iphone camera comparison dog
The ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro has some haze issues that tend to affect most photos, and it's more noticeable at night and in the afternoon when the sun is low. Earlier iPhones had a lot of trouble with accurately exposing different areas with uneven lighting, and Apple has made a lot of improvements in this area over the last few years.

iphone comparison skin tones
The ‌iPhone 13‌ excels with color accuracy, including skin tones, outperforming all of the older iPhones. It's also fantastic at HDR, and everything is super sharp, even when lighting is less than ideal.

iphone camera comparison night
Want to see higher resolution versions of our comparison photos to get a closer look at the differences? We've uploaded them here, and make sure to watch the video for the full comparison. Let us know in the comments what you think and whether the ‌iPhone 13‌ is worth upgrading to.

Update: There have been multiple comments about the camera lens of the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro used in the video. MacRumors videographer Dan cleaned the lenses of each camera prior to taking photos to ensure they were smudge free, and there were no scratches, smudges, or other visible camera defects.

We've also gone back and looked at photos captured by other ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro devices and have found the same softness and lens flare issues consistently in certain lighting conditions, such as when there's a side lighting element or harsh sun filtering into the lens. While it is possible there is an internal defect with the lens, we do not believe this to be the case. It is worth noting, though, that this "haze" effect is not seen in all lighting conditions.

Related Roundups: iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

daverso Avatar
16 weeks ago
That iPhone 11 lens is clearly dirty... kind of a makes this comparison completely useless.
Score: 128 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lloigorr Avatar
16 weeks ago
MR please redo this test after cleaning the lens of the iPhone 11. it’s super dirty.
Score: 77 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chonkvandelay Avatar
16 weeks ago
iPhone 11 lens is dirty. You need to clean lenses before shooting any photos. Especially if it's a device comparing review. I know that iPhone 13 camera is great and it's best, but iPhone 11 camera is not that bad.
Score: 76 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
16 weeks ago
Why is the 11 looking so bad? The 8 looks better than the 11
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
businessnumbersmoneypeopl Avatar
16 weeks ago
Funny how iPhone 8 actually seems the best in the two last pictures. Time to upgrade (downgrade?) to 8?
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cesarbm Avatar
16 weeks ago
I have to agree that something is wrong with the iPhone 11 pro they used for the demo. My iPhone 11 pro does not have that haze effect and it takes much better photos than the ones shown on the demo.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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