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Apple iPhone 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max Review - Performance

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Apple iPhone 12 Pro / Max Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Sample Photos


As we’ve seen from pretty much every generation of iPhone to date, images directly from the iPhone 12 Pro series phones are excellent. They show off great colours, a good level of detail and display a good sense of realism.

Portrait Mode does a good job of creating impressive shallow depth of field images. It works better with people and subjects with a clearly defined outline (such as pets), but it puts in a decent effort with other subjects, like flowers and so on.

Despite there being differences between the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, in practice, you’d be hard pushed to spot much of a difference between the two. In darker conditions, the larger phone (with its larger sensor) appears to shoot for a little less time when Night Mode engages, than the small phone. However, the resulting images look pretty much identical when viewed side by side.

Night Mode itself is an impressive performer, coping very well with low light conditions - especially when viewed on the screen of the phone.


Apple iPhone 12 Pro Lens test images


Lens Performance - The wide lens performs the best out of the three available on either phone - as we’d expect. The ultra-wide lens is the same on both models and works well when the light is good. It’s less impressive when light levels are low, but for landscape shots and the like taken in bright light, it’s ideal. The telephoto lens on both models performs very well, including in lower light. With the iPhone 12 Pro Max you can get closer to your subject, which you might consider to be “better”, depending on the subjects you like to shoot - though there’s not a whole lot in it. Digital zoom is reasonable if you really do need to get closer, but is probably best avoided on the whole.


ISO Noise Performance - You don’t have any direct control over the ISO speed used by the camera, but low light performance is good enough to not feel like you’re missing out too much. When light levels are low, Night Mode will kick in. As you’d expect, there is more noise when higher ISOs are used. You can apply noise reduction settings if you shoot in raw format and edit.


Apple iPhone 12 Pro Scene modes


White Balance Performance - Again, you don’t have any control over white balance settings, but like with ISO, there’s no reason to be concerned in the majority of cases, where colours are represented fairly even when shooting under artificial lights and so on.


Apple iPhone 12 Pro Digital filters


Digital Filters - There is a selection of Digital Filters which you can apply either at the point of capture, or afterwards. If you decide you don’t like a filter, you can change it. The filters are shown above.


12 Pro Max - Panorama | 1/3257 sec | f/1.6 | 5.1 mm | ISO 32

Panorama mode - Panoramas are generally stitched quite well, though you can sometimes see some anomalies if you look closely.


Video - The iPhone 12 Pro series captures video, with the rear camera(s), with the following options: 4K @ 24/30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps, 1080p Slow Mo @120/240fps, 720p Slow Mo @ 240fps. Footage is smooth, with accurate colours. The video mode is very simple to use, and footage from the iPhone 12 Pro Max is perhaps ever so slightly smoother if you’re walking / moving while recording. You can see a difference if you shoot with HDR enabled, but this is only viewable if you have a compatible device - such as the phone itself. Colours tend to “pop” a little more from the screen, although non-HDR videos are also very good.



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