iPhone 7 Camera Review

iPhone 7 Camera Review

Since the new 2016 iPhone was announced, the hype has been directed to the iPhone 7 Plus for its dual lens, and portrait mode feature. Although all the reviews on the portrait shooting mode have been positive, I still decided to go with the iPhone 7 during my upgrade.

Size Matters

Personally, if I wanted to shoot a picture with a shallow depth of field, I have plenty of cameras that can do that and I have them with me most of the time anyway. Whenever I go out without my messenger bag, I would prefer not to have a big phone stuffed in my pocket, and that's absolutely the reason I decided iPhone 7 Plus is not for me. Don't we all hope that they would include that feature in a smaller iPhone for their next models? 

Image Quality

Honestly, the iPhone 7 may not be so much different from iPhone 6s, but upgrading from iPhone 6, I can definitely enjoy the benefit of the extra megapixels for cropping or recompose. For out of camera jpg images, you can find a similar image quality due to the similar compression method Apple applied to the jpg images. For pixel peepers, you won't be satisfied if you were coming from micro four third, APSC, or full frame cameras. You would see the watercolor effect that is common for smartphone images or small sensor cameras. As most of the iPhone shooters are using iPhone cameras for Instagram images, the heavily compressed and cleaned up images from iPhone 7 are absolutely good enough to wow their followers! 

Shooting RAW

One of the key features of 2016 update is to be able to shoot RAW DNG format photos. However I'd like to point out that for the moment, you can't do it with the native camera app. You have to use a third party camera apps like Lightroom Mobile, RAW, ProCamera, ProCam, and ProShot to shoot RAW images. I was a little disappointed when I discovered that because I like how fast I can pull up the native camera app on locked screen instead of going through extra steps before I can shoot a photo. 

Even though many apps are available for shooting RAW, they all behave differently. While I was testing the apps, one of them would only keep the DNG file in its internal library and saved a jpg to camera roll. You gain sharpness when shooting RAW, but at the same time, you have to deal with ugly noise due to the small sensor on an iPhone. Most of the RAW photo editing apps are still not great in editing the DNG file that iPhone produces. When I shoot with native camera app, I always have the HDR turned on. iPhone shoots natural looking HDR photos, and with that I have plenty of information on the highlight and shadow for editing. The issue of shooting RAW on iPhone 7 is that the dynamic range of the iPhone 7 camera sensor is not good enough in contrasting light. Without HDR, you either loosing the highlight, or you have to deal with the nasty noise in the shadow.

After sharing my observation with you, here are some photos I shot using iPhone 7 during my trip to Oregon. It was rainy throughout my trip and I was so thankful to have a water resistant iPhone to shoot with and to navigate around town. Please comment below if you have more questions.

Shooting RAW on iPhone 7

Shooting RAW on iPhone 7

Goodbye Summer 2016

Goodbye Summer 2016