Camera - Daylight Evaluation: Triple Cameras

Thus far we’ve covered the iPhone 11 series' new A13 SoC, the new display and the phones' excellent battery life. But it’s very evident that above all that, Apple puts the new cameras at the forefront of the new device generation.

The new main camera on the iPhone 11s employ a new generation sensor with full dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) coverage. While the pixels themselves remain the same at 1.4µm in width, Apple will have likely improved the deep trench isolation (DTI) implementation, allowing for the sensor to achieve better detail and less noise.

The wide-angle camera will be the most interesting aspect of the new cameras: the 120° field-of-view of the new module will allow for a completely new perspective on photography for iPhone users, and should be a big new addition to the shooting experience of the phones.

As a note, I had started off the daylight comparison photos on the initial iOS13.0 launch version. By the time I got to the night time shots iOS13.1 was released so those photos were captured on that version. Finally, I added a quick comparison with the newest iOS13.2 and the new Deep Fusion feature towards the end of the daylight pages.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

Starting off with the main camera, we’re seeing a relatively similar exposure between the XS and the 11 in this shot. I feel like the 11’s color reproduction has improved slightly. Another big difference is in the HDR handling as the sunlit areas in the street as well as the top of the building are significantly better defined on the new 11. Detail-wise I can’t say there’s been too much of a change between the two phones in this shot.

On the telephoto camera, which is only available on the Pro models, we’re seeing a slightly brighter picture on the 11. It looks like the 11 has increased noise on the textures here, and we’re seeing a bit less detail in the details further back in the scene.

The wide-angle is a fantastic new addition to the 11 series as it’s able to capture a lot more of the scene in front of you. Apple does very well in terms of maintaining a good consistency between the different cameras and thus exposure and colors are extremely similar.

Comparing the quality of the wide-angle shots to that of other phones however we see that the dynamic range is a bit lacking, and the camera is having trouble in terms of defining the foreground shadows of the trees and the flowers on the lamp-post. The module does well with textures, but is a bit lacking in finer detail.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

In the next shot again, we see very similar exposures between the XS and the new 11. A definitive win for the 11 is the more accurate color temperature, as the XS had the tendency of being a bit warm. It’s very hard to make out any major differences in detail between the phones, but I do notice that the 11 has somewhat less detail in the texture of the ground.

On the zoom lens there’s very little difference again between the phones, however I feel that the 11 has less detail here and it’s as if it’s applying a sharpening filter. The trees particularly look more in focus on the XS – this might be a side-effect of the wider f/2.0 aperture lens on the new 11 module.

The wide-angle here makes it more visible that the color temperature is still a bit warm, as the concrete and stone had a greyer look to them in reality, something more similar to what the S10s are able to produce.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

On the main camera the improvements on of the HDR can be noticed again here as the 11 is better able to handle the highlights such as the leaves of the trees as well as the white tent – accurately depicting its details while the XS was clipping to white. There’s very little other difference in the details between the shots.

On the telephoto camera, here we’re definitely seeing some much increased noise on the iPhone 11 Pro's module compared to what the XS was able to deliver.

In terms of the wide-angle, I think it’s a matter of preference which phone you like most. What’s important for the iPhone 11 is that the composition between a crop of the wide-angle and the regular main camera looks almost identical and that’s a much appreciated degree of consistency.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

In this shot the statue in direct sunlight, we see the iPhone 11 Pro is able to resolve more details and remain sharper compared to the XS. This time around, we can also say the same about the telephoto module as the new unit is able to clearly outperform its predecessor.

On the wide-angle, while the iPhone 11 Pro did very well in composition, when we compare the details of the ground against the S10s, we see that it appears very washed out and blurry.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

In this shot you’d have an extremely hard time telling the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone XS apart. The 11 is able to render the tree leaves a little bit livelier, and I can see just a little bit less detail in the pavements, but other than that the shots are almost identical.

The telephoto here again seems to be as finely defined as on the XS – again not sure if this is due to optics or due to processing.

The wide-angle shot is excellent and I think a lot more natural than the Galaxy phones, really only falling second to the P30 Pro’s wide angle unit.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

The iPhone 11 Pro is able to better extract the saturation of the sunlit foliage in this shot and I think it looks a lot livelier than the XS. Detail between the two generations are even.

In the telephoto modules we see the same saturation change for the better, and this is one instance where the 11 does better in terms of detail as it’s able to have better definition of the roof tiles.

Apple’s wide-angle here is the most natural, even though it’s lacking Samsung’s much wider dynamic range – the latter here went a bit wacko in terms of the luminosity/saturation processing.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

Apple’s main improvements here again are color balance and better HDR retaining more details in the highlights of the sun-lit parts.

The telephoto keeps flip-flopping between being an improvement and being a degradation. Here the 11 has again more noise in it and appears less sharp than the XS. Also notice the reds of the traffic signs is a lot more muted on the 11, something also present on the main camera.

Composition of the wide-angle is good although it’s lacking in dynamic range compared to the S10. It’s also noticeably lacking in detail.

Click for full image
[ iPhone 11 Pro ] - [ iPhone XS ] - [ iPhone X ]
[ S10+(S) ] - [ S10+(E) ] - [ Pixel 3 ]
[ P30 Pro ] - [ Xperia 1 ] - [ G8 ]

In the next scene we’re seeing quite a large difference between the 11 Pro and the XS: The 11 is quite a lot brighter but at the same time the sky is also a lot more blown out. The brighter picture does end up more representative of the scene at the time.

On the telephoto the 11 Pro has more contrast, but it’s again noisier. The foreground parts we can see a bit of blur caused by the camera’s shallower depth of field due to the larger aperture.

The wide-angle did very well in terms of exposure here as some phones tended to be too dark.

Battery Life - A Magnitude Shift Camera - More HDR, Indoors, Portrait, Deep Fusion
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  • Total Meltdowner - Thursday, October 17, 2019 - link

    That isn't what I would call innovation. Their CPU is nice but that's about it. There is nothing you can do on the 11Pro that you couldn't do on an iPhone 7 -10. Reply
  • WinterCharm - Thursday, October 17, 2019 - link

    Just because the visual style doesn't change does not mean there is "no innovation"

    There's a bunch of innovation on the chip side from Apple. You can either acknowledge that, or look like an idiot who screams no innovation while the iPhone has a 5x perf/watt lead over other ARM chips. To put that in context, it's 3-4 times the lead that Nvidia has over AMD.
    Reply
  • Total Meltdowner - Thursday, October 17, 2019 - link

    You can't do anything new with it that is worthy of praise. Reply
  • Jon Tseng - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - link

    Um, if you're expecting an iPhone with a removable battery, sd card slot and a non-bga socketed processor you're probably making a fairly material category error!! Reply
  • Zerrohero - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - link

    “ Also did author note how iPhone XS got the new battery throttling with latest iOS update ?”

    ...which only kicks in when the battery is in bad shape and if it does, you can choose whether to throttle or not. Everybody’s XS models are running at full speed. But of course you know all this.

    (Just get the battery replaced when it goes bad and you get five years of these iPhones)

    A high end Android is way worse value for money because you simply can’t use it as long as an iPhone. No software updates after couple of years, apart from some rare exceptions.

    When it comes to repairability, iFixit gave the new iPhones 6/10 which is better than most of the competition. For example, Samsung’s high end models are way worse when it comes to repairability.

    Again, of course you know all this very well.

    It’s always amusing how riled up some people get about the new iPhones. You do know that you don’t need to buy them, there are plenty of alternatives.
    Reply
  • steven75 - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - link

    As someone living in the present year of 2019, I wish you welcome, my time-traveling friend! I hope your time spent here is illuminating before you go back to your "current" year of 2010. Reply
  • Total Meltdowner - Thursday, October 17, 2019 - link

    There's a reason why the argument of "muh current year" is a meme. Time is irrelevant, functionality is everything. Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - link

    That’s nonsense. You don’t even notice it after a while, and it’s just 2.5% of the screen. It’s a lot worse from companies that still have big bezels on top, and even one on the bottom, like the new Pixel 4 has. Totally wasted space. Reply
  • Quantumz0d - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - link

    Lol. Very funny. Just 2.5% of the screen, why not take a pencil and poke in your laptop/monitor display and say just a 0.3% like Samsung HOLED or this dead pixel zone. And put an RGB strip around/inside it to make it similar to S10 Hole notification led.

    A phone's primary component is Display which allows for man-machine interface, and if that itself is ruined no matter how much value the device has, it is a complete waste. Even Google realized this after their horrible Watertub 3XL disaster notch.

    Notch, Hole are worse than an Asymmetric bezel on Pixel 4 and Symmetric bezels are much better to look at - V30, ROG II, Note 8, S8 while S9 and Note9, OP7 Pro, Zenfone 6, Nex have asymmetric design but they are fine over the dreaded Notch abomination or holes anyday anytime.

    Apple did this crazy thing in 21 century. If engineers from CRT era were there they'd be laughing like no tomorrow. Kudos to Apple for creating something utter miserable and complete bullshit.

    Why didn't the CMOS sensors / Panavision or any Film cameras or any Display shape have a notch/hole or any. Or our eyes or any animal eyes, even the insects like spiders with many eyes have full uninterrupted vision without no hole or notch in their eyes, hell even mirrors ? Until this POS hit the market the perception of a display was perfectly uniform with no interruption, it all changed thanks to Apple. They should be ashamed of creating the worst abomination while claiming the best industrial design.

    "Sir" Jony Ive should be ashamed of his Knighthood lmao. Wonder he left because of Apple that he couldn't stand this Notchabomination as a black mark on his life forever (Also not note, since Chief Design Officer role doesn't exist anymore and the design teams report to Operations COO, It's interesting as if Andrei says this is the last Notch BS from Apple or whether we will see a smaller notch in 2020 lol)
    Reply
  • uhuznaa - Thursday, October 17, 2019 - link

    You have a literal blind spot in your eye where the optical nerve passes through the retina. Really. You just don't see it because it's always there. Same as with the notch by the way... Reply

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