A Deeper Look at the iPhone 15 Pro Max Camera

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has Apple's most advanced camera system to date, with an updated 48-megapixel lens, improved Ultra Wide lens, and a new 5x Telephoto lens that offers the most optical zoom ever in an iPhone. MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera this week took a deeper look at the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max, with a specific focus on the camera features.


Apple's Main camera is always fantastic in good lighting conditions, but with the A17 Pro chip, the colors are even more accurate than before. HDR has been improved with Smart HDR 5, so skin tones are able to look more lifelike while other colors remain vivid. This is particularly noticeable in situations with bright backgrounds where you might see some washout with prior ‌iPhone‌ models.

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Photos default to 24 megapixels instead of 12 megapixels, which means you're getting more detail and better quality with a still-reasonable file size, and with the A17 Pro, you can choose from different focal lengths, including 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm to better mimic what you can do with adjustable lens cameras.

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Night mode is more impressive, and taking a Portrait image no longer requires swapping modes. With a person or pet in the photo (or if you tap to focus), depth information is automatically captured and you can choose to activate Portrait mode after the shot, which is super handy. It's much easier to just pop open the camera, snap a shot, and get exactly what you want.

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The biggest change on the 15 Pro Max is the 5x optical zoom lens that replaces the 3x optical zoom lens. The 5x optical zoom is equivalent to a 120mm telephoto lens, which is a great focal length for portraits and a lens that can be used in ways that just didn't work with 3x zoom. The 5x lens is much more of a go-to option for just everyday shots, especially when people and pets are involved. It has excellent background blur that pairs well with the portrait feature.

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For most people, video is about the same, but there are some bells and whistles for pros, including log color encoding when shooting ProRes video for better HDR and simpler post-production adjustments.

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We'll have a much more in-depth look at the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ Max camera coming up, with a comparison to Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max, so make sure to stay tuned to MacRumors for that.

Related Roundup: iPhone 15 Pro

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Top Rated Comments

nvmls Avatar
9 months ago
No rat pics?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johan.perjus Avatar
9 months ago
”Updated 48-megapixel lens” ?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PixelsMaster Avatar
9 months ago
I’m more impressed with the 14>15 jump than I was with the 13>14 (49MP added). Smart HDR5 really does make a difference and while I don’t use zoom everyday, the 15PM produces some decent shots at 10x and even 25x photos are useful when you want a closer look at something. This is the first time in a long time that I‘ve found the default camera settings (24MP and live on) are the best.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seaguy Avatar
9 months ago

No rat pics?
Yo - I geeked when I saw rats in NYC. So cool. *ree ree ree* ?

And not to brag, but I actually *did* take photos. lmfao.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PowerButton Avatar
9 months ago

”Updated 48-megapixel lens” ?
? Yeah I know right. Lenses don’t have pixels. ?
The lens and camera/megapixels are the same as the 14 Pro Max. As far as I know it’s just the processing of the 48 megapixels that’s different.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JohnC4 Avatar
9 months ago
Agree on the 130mm being a very useful lens. However, while it gives the background blur I’d expect from f2.8, it doesn’t feel like f2.8 worth of light. Seems to struggle a bit to focus in lower light. Also, it seems to jump to higher ISO (noise) faster that what the light feels like. I don’t have a light meter handy, just going by feel while using this camera. Do the mirrors have impact on the amount of light that actually makes it to the sensor?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)