Like clockwork, another September has arrived, and with it comes a new iPhone Pro. The new additions to the smartphone lineup offer some incredible features that may save your life in an emergency, as well as an interesting take on punch hole for the camera.
Look, the iPhone is a great product. Say what you will about the Cult of Apple, the Android being better (so they say), or Apple’s walled garden approach to the App Store, but you can’t argue with what the iPhone does well. It has an incredible ecosystem to support its numerous functions, it’s supported with updates longer than any other smartphone, and it has some of the more refined features on the market.
But we’re filmmakers. We don’t care about any of that. We want to use the new Apple iPhone 14 Pro to make movies and take photos for social media to show off how we make movies. That’s not too much to ask, right?
Right off the bat, we’re going to ignore the non-pro model of the iPhone. It’s a great smartphone, sure, but it’s missing some of the features that filmmakers and photographers crave.
Need an example? Well, there’s Apple ProRAW, for starters.
With the new addition to the iPhone lineup, the iPhone 14 Pro (and 14 Pro Max) come with a 6.1‑inch or a 6.7‑inch display, respectively. Both have OLED panels and offer 460 PPI each at either 2556‑by‑1179 pixels or 2796‑by‑1290 pixels. This also includes the ProMotion tech to bring refresh rates of the displays up to 120Hz. Better yet, these displays can now be reduced to about 1Hz to provide Always-On capabilities.
1600nits peak HDR brightnessCredit: Apple
Not to further wax poetic about these displays, but they also have HDR support, with a brightness up to 1600nits. Without HDR, it’ll go up to 2000nits. At least, according to Apple. This also comes with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a Wide color (P3) color space.
That’s an amazing display, which is a nice update for photographers and videographers who utilize their phones for vlogging, food content, and quick pick-ups for larger projects.
Secondly, there’s a new update to the camera. The main camera now pumps out a 48MP image through a seven‑element 24 mm lens and an f/1.78 aperture.
Yes, you can now do 48MP on your smartphone. What a crazy world we live in.
There’s also an updated sensor-shift optical image stabilizer that’s 100% Focus Pixels. It brings everything from the previous generation up a notch. Better low-light shooting, more resolution, better noise reduction, and better image stabilization. This is done via the new quad-pixel sensor and an enhanced image pipeline that has more steps than assembling IKEA furniture.
New Year, New CameraCredit: Apple
The 12MP Ultra Wide camera will also have six elements but in a 13 mm focal length and a max aperture of f/2.2. That’s a 120° field of view.
The telephoto lens will follow the same format but offer a 77mm focal length with an f/2.8 aperture and optical image stabilization.
Are these the best cameras on any smartphone? Sure, you could make an argument for that and come out on top. But how Apple implements its software and hardware makes these some of the best smartphone cameras on the market. At least, in my humble opinion.
Shot in Portrait ModeCredit: Apple
The Action Star
Finally, Apple has included a new mode for videographers called Action Mode. This offers some pretty amazing stabilization to your shaky videos. While Apple’s video stabilizer has been pretty top-notch, this new evolution of the tech is pretty rad, with the Cupertino company claiming it’ll offer gimbal-like stabilization.
From what Apple showed off during the demo, I’m inclined to agree. But we’ll have to see how it performs in the wild before we commit to it.
Action Mode? More like gimbal-modeCredit: Apple
An Unfortunate Decision
If you’re planning on upgrading your iPhone 12 or an earlier model, this would be an amazing bump in performance. Not only because of the new A16 Bionic chip, new cameras, display, and stabilization but also because of the newly developed safety features like crash detections and SOS via satellite.
However, if you’re like me and you’re already rocking an iPhone 13 Pro Max, upgrading to the 14 Pro may not be as enticing. Maybe that’s a testament to how good the 13 Pro was. Or maybe the new generation just doesn’t have enough oomph to justify the purchase.
Shot in ProRAWCredit: Apple
As a filmmaker and photographer, I’ve upgraded my iPhone every year since the iPhone 7. But this year, I've made the decision that I won’t be making the jump until the iPhone 15. For me, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is just that good.
New iPhones will be available for pre-order on Sept. 9 and will ship out on Sept. 16. For more info, visit Apple.
Whatever you choose to do as a filmmaker, can we just give props to the editors of the keynote? Those are some of the coolest transitions I’ve ever seen.