Six Rumored iPhone 16 Camera Upgrades Coming This Year

As anticipation builds for Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 series, the rumor mill has highlighted some potential camera upgrades that could change how we use our iPhones for photography.

iPhone 16 Cameras Feature 1
The camera system has always been a cornerstone of Apple's iPhone, and this year Apple appears set to push the envelope even further. As the iPhone 16 launch in September approaches, all eyes will be on how the following changes might maintain Apple's competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market.

1. Vertical Camera Layout

iPhone 16 & iPhone 16 Plus

Apple's iPhone 16 base models will feature a vertical camera arrangement with a pill-shaped raised surface, instead of a diagonal camera arrangement like the iPhone 15. The new camera bump features two separate camera rings for the Wide and Ultrawide cameras. The vertical camera layout is expected to enable Spatial Video recording, which is currently limited to the iPhone 15 Pro models.

2. Ultra Wide Lens Upgrade

iPhone 16 Pro & iPhone 16 Pro Max

The iPhone 16 Pro models are expected to feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera lens, which would allow it to capture more light, resulting in improved photos when shooting in 0.5× mode, especially in low-light environments. This also means that iPhone 16 Pro models should be able to shoot 48-megapixel ProRAW photos in Ultra Wide mode. These photos retain more detail in the image file for more editing flexibility, and can be printed at large sizes.

3. Super Telephoto Camera

iPhone 16 Pro Max

The iPhone 16 Pro Max could be the first iPhone to feature a super telephoto periscope camera for dramatically increased optical zoom. "Super" or "ultra" telephoto usually describes cameras with a focal length of over 300mm. The current telephoto lens is equivalent to a 77mm lens, so if accurate, there could be a notable increase in zoom capabilities. Super telephoto cameras are often used for sports and wild animal photography, but the extremely soft backgrounds they create also make them useful for portrait photography, providing there is enough distance between the subject and the photographer.

4. Tetraprism Lens

iPhone 16 Pro

Both iPhone 16 Pro models are expected to feature 5x optical zoom, which is currently exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple's tetraprism lens system has a "folded" design that allows it to fit inside the smartphone, enabling up to 5x optical zoom and up to 25x digital zoom. In contrast, the current smaller iPhone 15 Pro is limited to up to 3x optical zoom, which is in line with the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

5. Reduced Lens Flare

All iPhone 16 Models

Apple is said to be testing a new anti-reflective optical coating technology for its iPhone cameras that could improve the quality of photos by reducing artifacts like lens flare and ghosting. Apple plans to bring new atomic layer deposition (ALD) equipment into the iPhone camera lens manufacturing process to apply the coating. ALD-applied materials can also protect against environmental damage to the camera lens system without affecting the sensor's ability to capture light effectively.

6. Capture Button

All iPhone 16 Models

All iPhone 16 models will have a new camera-based "Capture Button" dedicated to quickly triggering image or video capture. The button will add features like the ability to zoom in and out by swiping left and right on the button, focus on a subject with a light press, and activate a recording with a more forceful press. The Capture Button will be located on the bottom right side of the ‌iPhone 16, and will take the place of the mmWave antenna on U.S. ‌iPhone‌ models, with the antenna relocating to the left side of the device below the volume and Action buttons.

Related Roundups: iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro

Top Rated Comments

Smittywerben Avatar
4 weeks ago
Why do I have a feeling that super telephoto is not going to happen ? seems highly unlikely for Apple to add both 48MP UW and super telephoto at the same time.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saturn1217 Avatar
4 weeks ago
Bringing 48mp to the telephoto would be so much more meaningful. Frustrated that we need to wait ANOTHER year for an upgrade competing phones (ie pixel phones) have had for a while now.

I'm just hoping for better image processing compared to my 13 Pro Max. It is the ONE thing I truly don't like about this otherwise perfect phone.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Asthmatic Kitty Avatar
4 weeks ago

3. Super Telephoto Camera
iPhone 16 Pro Max
The iPhone 16 Pro Max could be the first iPhone to feature a super telephoto periscope camera ('https://www.macrumors.com/2023/07/18/iphone-16-pro-max-super-telephoto-camera/') for dramatically increased optical zoom. "Super" or "ultra" telephoto usually describes cameras with a focal length of over 300mm. The current telephoto lens is equivalent to a 77mm lens, so if accurate, there could be a notable increase in zoom capabilities. Super telephoto cameras are often used for sports and wild animal photography, but the extremely soft backgrounds they create also make them useful for portrait photography, providing there is enough distance between the subject and the photographer.
Isn't the 77mm equivalent the 3x lens on the Pro, and the current Pro Max's 5x lens is 120mm equivalent?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DMG35 Avatar
4 weeks ago

The improvements in the camera department better be really good this year because the difference between 15 Pro and 14 Pro was minimal...
You really think there are going to be major changes from the 15 to the 16? They will be minute changes at best.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svish Avatar
4 weeks ago
Capture button and reduction in lens flare will happen most probably. But don't think there will be an increased zoom for 16 Pro Max. Upgraded ultra wide lens will be nice.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoldOnApple Avatar
4 weeks ago
I'm glad the camera keeps getting better and the price seems like no object for people to buy it. It would be wild if 10 years from now the iPhone Pro ends up with a camera suitable for making a theatrical film or big budget TV. I've seen the phone cases the pros who are using iPhones are using, and they are more like very expensive rigs with contacts for hand controls, mounted lights and sensors, steady cam, etc. And processor improvements will let us easily record 8K by then too, now that Apple lets us export video directly to a computer or storage with Thunderbolt.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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