Explore the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini Camera

The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 mini have the same cameras, and they take mobile photography to the next level. Let’s see what they can do...

You’d expect the iPhone 12, and its smaller stable mate the iPhone 12 mini, to have good cameras. They’re iPhones, after all. Even so, some of the advances made by the new advanced dual camera system took us by surprise. Harnessing the camera’s dual lens system and the computational power of the A14 Bionic chip, with the latest iPhones excellent photos are within anyone’s range.

Dual Cameras

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini have two cameras. The upper-most camera is a 12MP Ultra Wide device, featuring an ƒ/2.4 aperture, a five-element lens, 13 mm focal length and a 120-degree field of view. Below it is the new Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture, seven-element lens, 26 mm focal length and more. It’s the fastest camera yet on the iPhone, allowing around 27 percent more light to hit the sensor. This makes every photo and video better, with less noise and brighter results, especially when taken in low-light conditions.

Computational Photography

The dual camera system is augmented by exciting software features built into the A14 Bionic chip that help improve your pictures on the fly. Night mode and faster-performing Deep Fusion are now on all cameras — TrueDepth, Wide, and Ultra Wide — for improved photos in any environment. This means you get brighter pictures and better contrast for photos shot in low-light settings with Night mode, and more texture and less noise in Deep Fusion photos.

Smart HDR 3 uses Machine Learning to intelligently adjust the white balance, contrast, texture, and saturation of a photo for remarkably natural-looking images. In a nutshell, this means areas that are in shadow are lightened, bringing out more detail without over-saturating the highly lit areas. Conversely, brighter parts of the photo are dimmed, again bringing out more detail, without over-darkening the shadowy areas.

Video Vision

According to Apple, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini boast the highest quality video recording capabilities of any smartphone. It’s not difficult to see why. Big improvements have been made in lower-light recording. Especially worthy of note is Night mode Time-Lapse, offering longer exposure times for sharper videos, better light trails and smoother exposure in low-light scenarios when used with a tripod.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini feature the first camera to shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision and are the only devices in the world to enable an end-to-end Dolby Vision experience, allowing users to capture, edit, and share cinema-grade videos natively on the iPhone. Dolby Vision grading is processed live while recording, and sustained during editing, whether in the Photos app or iMovie. Both models also now feature improved cinematic video stabilisation and even more true-to-life selfie videos with Dolby Vision.

Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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