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iPhone XR: This is what to expect from the camera

Apple’s iPhone XR shares the similar wide-angle camera as the iPhone XS and XS Max. But it is cheaper than both of these two phones. If you are deciding between the iPhone XR and iPhone XS (the Max’s camera has the very same specs and options as the common XS), questioning if there’s any distinction in the camera, learn on. 

Preorders for the iPhone XR begin on Friday, Oct. 19 at 12.01 a.m. PT. And CNET’s personal Bridget Carey went hands-on with the new phone and all its new colours. 

First, here is what we all know might be the similar:

  • Both the iPhone XR and XS have the similar 12-megapixel wide-angle camera (26mm at f/1.eight) with optical picture stabilization for images and movies
  • The front-facing 7MP TrueDepth camera at f/2.2 with cinematic video stabilization (1080/720p)
  • Videos go up to 4K decision (24, 30, 60 fps) with stereo recording
  • Smart HDR, Apple’s new manner of processing HDR pictures

That seems to be like numerous widespread floor. Both telephones additionally share the similar computational pictures pipeline, utilizing the A12 Bionic chip and the picture sign processor.

But the massive distinction is that the XS and XS Max have an extra 12-megapixel f/2.four camera at the again, which is used for 2x optical zoom. It’s additionally an necessary a part of portrait mode, as that telephoto lens helps create a depth map that determines the place your topic is in relation to the background.

To be clear, I’ve but to use the iPhone XR and what follows is purely based mostly on my expertise with the iPhone XS, Apple’s specs for the iPhone XR, my very own camera experience and a wholesome diploma of hypothesis. 


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iPhone XS vs. iPhone X: Camera comparability


Portrait mode might have some limitations on the iPhone XR

Without that second telephoto lens, the iPhone XR depends on software program and its single rear lens to create portrait mode. Other single-lens telephones, reminiscent of the Google Pixel 3, additionally obtain the same impact via software program and processing.

We will not know for positive till we have examined it, however portraits taken on the iPhone XR might look barely totally different from these on the XS. (Stay tuned for a full take a look at as soon as the cellphone is launched.)

A portrait taken on the iPhone XS with the background blur set to f/1.four.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Portrait lighting is Apple’s identify for the results you possibly can apply to portrait mode images, both earlier than or after the shot’s been taken.

On the iPhone XS and XS Max — in addition to earlier iPhones which have portrait mode — you possibly can select 5 totally different lighting results: Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage Light and Stage Light Mono. By default, photographs are taken with the Natural mild impact.

A portrait of a wax determine of Steve McQueen, taken in portrait mode on the iPhone XS with Stage Light Mono.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The iPhone XR’s rear camera will solely have three of those results: Natural, Studio and Contour. But you may nonetheless give you the chance to change the bokeh (background blur) utilizing sliders the similar manner you possibly can on the iPhone XS and XS Max. It enables you to alter the bokeh anyplace between f/1.four to f/16, simulating the shallow depth-of-field impact you get from altering the aperture on a DSLR lens.

This is how you modify the depth impact on the iPhone XS.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

It would not seem to be the iPhone XR’s portrait mode will work on topics aside from individuals, as one initial reaction advised. 

Other telephones with single-lens cameras can render the bokeh on any topic, not simply on individuals. We will not know for positive if the iPhone XR can do the similar till we take a look at out the camera ourselves nonetheless.

It’s the similar selfie camera as the iPhone XS and XS Max

That 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera is shared between the three telephones. So it would not seem that there might be any surprises right here in how the camera renders selfies. You’ll nonetheless give you the chance to take portrait-mode images utilizing the entrance camera. You’ll additionally give you the chance to use all 5 lighting results on portrait mode selfies. 


The front-facing camera on the iPhone XR.

James Martin/CNET

And having the TrueDepth camera additionally means you may give you the chance to make Animoji and Memoji to your coronary heart’s content material on the iPhone XR.

Zoom is extra restricted

The iPhone XS and XS Max have 2x optical zoom from the telephoto lens, but additionally can obtain up to 10x digital zoom. But the XR is restricted to 5x digital zoom for nonetheless images. This means you will not give you the chance to get as shut, however digital zoom does have a tendency to make pictures look messy and over-processed the extra you enhance the magnification.

Videos may even be restricted to 3x digital zoom, slightly than the 2x optical zoom extending out to 6x digital zoom that is out there when recording on the iPhone XS and XS Max.

iPhone XR would not have 3D Touch

This means you will not get fast entry to launching the camera in numerous modes if you happen to’re used to 3D Touch. By urgent and holding the camera icon on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you possibly can launch the camera immediately in selfie mode, video recording mode, scan a QR code or take a portrait photograph.

Once we obtain our iPhones, we’ll run real-world camera checks to see if there’s some other variations between the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR cameras. Here are extra pattern images and particulars of the variations between the iPhone XS and X cameras.

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