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
13 months ago
That iPhone 11 lens is clearly dirty... kind of a makes this comparison completely useless.
Score: 129 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lloigorr Avatar
13 months 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
13 months 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
13 months ago
Why is the 11 looking so bad? The 8 looks better than the 11
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
businessnumbersmoneypeopl Avatar
13 months 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
13 months 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)

Related Stories

iPhone 14 Mock Roundup 2

How the iPhone 14 Pro's Upgraded 48-Megapixel Camera is Expected to Work

Tuesday December 14, 2021 8:00 am PST by
It has once again been rumored that next year's iPhone 14 Pro models will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel primary camera (the "Wide" lens), compared to a 12-megapixel Wide lens on iPhone 13 Pro models, but it is not as simple as it might sound. In a research note earlier this year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said iPhone 14 Pro models may support both 48-megapixel and 12-megapixel output, which...
iPhone 13 Pro Light Blue Side Feature

iPhone 15 Pro Expected to Feature Periscope Lens With Up to 10x Optical Zoom

Monday January 3, 2022 7:51 am PST by
At least one iPhone 15 model launched in 2023 will feature a periscope camera system, allowing for increased optical zoom, according to analyst Jeff Pu. With a periscope system, light entering the telephoto lens on the back of the iPhone would be reflected by an angled mirror towards the camera's image sensor. The change in direction in which the light travels would allow for Apple to fit a...
Apple iPhone13 family lineup 220308 2

Apple Unveils New iPhone 13 'Green' and iPhone 13 Pro 'Alpine Green' Colors

Tuesday March 8, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple debuted two new iPhone 13 colors at its "Peek Performance" digital event today, offering the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini in a new "green" and the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max in "alpine green." "People love the design of iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13, and we're excited to unveil the stunning new alpine green and green finishes, which join the wide range of beautiful colors on the...
ios 15 lens flare

Latest iOS 15 Beta Appears to Automatically Remove Lens Flare From Photos in Certain Conditions

Wednesday August 4, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
As Apple prepares to launch its upcoming iOS 15 operating system to millions of iPhone users this fall, the latest beta for the update has seemingly improved how users' iPhones take and process photos in certain lighting conditions. Image Credit: Reddit The camera hardware inside iPhones plays a significant role in the quality of photos that users can take with their devices, but another...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole

iPhone 14 Pro Design Reportedly Finalized As Suppliers Begin Trial Production

Monday February 21, 2022 3:41 am PST by
Apple's largest supplier, Foxconn, has begun trial production of the iPhone 14 Pro, suggesting that Apple has finalized its design as it moves into the early stages of device manufacturing, according to a report from the Taiwan Economic Times. According to the report, Foxconn will manufacture the higher-end models of the iPhone 14, while Luxshare, another Apple supplier, will take on the...
iphone 13 boxes

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Unboxing and Honest First Impressions

Friday September 24, 2021 11:51 am PDT by
It's iPhone 13 launch day, and customers around the world are receiving their iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max orders, plus the new devices are also in Apple retail locations. We picked up one of the new iPhone 13 models and both of the iPhone 13 Pro models for a quick unboxing and an honest overview of the feature set. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
5

Camera Comparison: Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Apple's iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday March 3, 2022 11:47 am PST by
Samsung in February introduced its latest high-end flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We picked up one of the new Samsung devices, and thought we'd compare it to Apple's top-of-the-line smartphone, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, to see how the two premium phones compare to one another when it comes to camera quality. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Galaxy S22...
iPhone 14 Mock Pill Blue Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Design Details Starting to Emerge

Wednesday January 12, 2022 2:10 am PST by
Key design elements of Apple's "iPhone 14 Pro" are beginning to emerge ahead of the device's expected unveiling in September. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which are expected to come in the same 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display sizes as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, are expected to feature a refreshed design. Apple usually redesigns its flagship iPhone models every two to...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...