The iPhone 12 Pro Max and It’s Camera

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About a week ago I received my new iPhone 12 Pro Max from Apple. I bought the larger size Max for a couple of reasons.

  • It has the best camera this year.
  • I use the phone more and more like a small computer to pay bills, text, emails, look at the financial markets, plus news. A bigger screen is easier for me to use the keyboard and to just see things that are small on the screen.
  • Having and using the iWatch 5 for the last year with a direct connection to Verizon and not needing to have the phone with me, I don’t carry the phone in my pocket or even in the car as often as I used to.

I ordered the larger Max size reluctantly as my former phone the 11 Pro is very likely my favorite phone ever. The size of that phone is likely the best compromise for me needs and wants if you always carry a phone with you. I don’t any more. Using the watch as an iPhone has its limitations. But phone calls is not one of them. The iWatch works well on a voice call. At least for me.

Both this image and the image in the header were taken hand held with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The header photo is using the panorama setting. The image in both cases was using the wide camera and f1.6 lens

Things I like.

  • My size large glove size fingers work on this phone’s keyboard much better than the 11 Pro. It seems to be just enough bigger so typing has quite a bit fewer errors.
  • Easier to read small type without enlarging it.
  • Better to watch a video / media on.
  • This size screen makes a better viewfinder when taking a photo or a video.
  • And then to edit the photo or video. But even this size screen is not nearly as good as a bigger screen on my iPad 10″, iPad Pro 12″, or for sure 27″ monitor on my desk.
This was shot with the iPhone 12 Pro Max hand held with the wide camera. The exposure in this image is excellent. It combines bright snow, blue sky, foreground shadows, all in a wide range of colors. In my opinion this situation is handled better by this phone’s camera than my previous 11 Pro would have.

What I don’t like

  • Very big.
  • I don’t like the square sides as well as the rounded sides of the 11 Pro.
  • Not easy to work with in my hands. And I have fairly large hands.
  • iPhone Mini envy. I love smaller phones. My favorite smartphone of all time was a Motorola Droid Razr. It was thin, small, and powerful for the time. It fit into any jeans pocket or shirt pocket with ease, yet you could plug it into a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and get it to operate somewhat like a computer. Plus Motorola offered a specific car holder for it which really worked well, and a specific holder for my desktop that was very useful. I would really much prefer getting an iPhone Mini to this huge Pro Max, but the Mini just does not do things like have a big screen I can type on easily and see complex screens on. Or have the best current Apple camera.
Again the iPhone 12 Pro Max is showing off its ability to expose in difficult situations. The top to photos are the wide camera and the lower one is the tele.
This is the first photo I shot with the 12 Pro Max. This is using the wide camera, I turned down the exposure about a stop, it is on a tripod, and I used a remote shutter control.
This is also the wide camera, tripod, exposure down about half stop.
Wide camera, down a full stop, but could have been a stop and a half and the far left rose color would have been better. All the roses are edited in Apple Photos.
This is wide camera, about a stop and a third down, tripod. Double Delight rose is VERY hard to photograph. The center is quite bright and many times blows the highlights.
This is the tele lens. Tripod, slight exposure comp down.

I think the “Portrait” setting in the Apple camera is improved over the 11 Pro. Apple has not said that specifically, but look at these four shots.

I used a tripod, pocket shutter trip, setting on Portrait, edited in Apple Photos. Bokeh is OK
This one the closest rose was in very good focus, but the second one a clumsy blur and ugly bokeh on the background plant.
This came out OK. Closest rose in sharp focus, second rose looks unnaturally blurry to me. I tried adjusting the f-stop in editing, but this setting looked the best. So better to not have a second rose in photo. A regular camera with a good lens would do a much better job on the bokeh.
This one is just one flower in sharp focus, leaf to the left is in the same focal plain as the rose, bokeh in the back ground is good. Good photo.
This is shot with the tele lens and on a tripod. I took this same shot with my Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z50. All three photos are of the same quality. In my opinion the iPhone 12 Pro Max does very well with close ups if taken properly.

I have only had the phone for just over a week, but so far I give the cameras a big thumbs up. The Portrait effect is much better when used on people and not flowers with all sorts of jagged edges. I will be trying out the Portrait setting more over the holidays that are upcoming.

Editing with Apple Photos vs Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. I have tried all three with the new 12 Pro Max files and all work about the same and give about the same results. However, Lightroom or LR Classic do have the ability to change just parts of the image which does come in handy. I also like being able to rate shots from one to five stars. All of the photos shown in this post that are not flower photos were edited using Lightroom. The others in Apple Photos.

Videos I have only taken a couple. I will write more after I take more.

Compared to a regular Nikon camera. The standard mirrorless camera like my Z7 and Z50 are designed for taking photos and video. To me a regular camera body is far easier to use for photos and somewhat easier to use taking videos. Image and video stabilization on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is better than the Nikons. Zoom is much easier and controllable on the Nikons. The Apple cameras are the best at exposure of any camera I have ever used. And this includes my past 11 Pro and XS Max.

Having both a recent iPhone (Or similar Android phone) and a regular camera is a powerful combination to have with you. And for that matter I still use film and many times the colors and depth of the image you get from film just is not possible with digital. I think having an iPhone in your pocket and a good camera at your side on a strap is the right way to be prepared for what images or video opportunities come along.

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