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Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review

We review the new Apple iPhone 7 Plus with a new dual camera setup for 2x optical zoom.

| Apple iPhone 7 Plus in Camera Phones
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Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (1)

The iPhone 7 Plus is the latest iOS smartphone from Apple. It features two 12MP sensor cameras, with each having a different focal length lens. This means that you effectively have a 2x optical zoom, compared with the single fixed lens of the standard iPhone 7.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Features

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (6)

Following on from last year’s iPhone 6 Plus, the different camera is one of the main upgrades of this camera from the older version.

One of the cameras is the same as found on the iPhone 7, that is to say it is 12 megapixels and has a fixed lens of 28mm, with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. The second lens is also 12 megapixels, but the lens is 56mm (twice the focal length) and has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. You can also use a digital zoom up to 10x.

There’s also lots of other features which are likely to be of interest to photographers. Those include a display which is capable of showing a wider colour gamut, 4K video recording, optical image stabilisation (on the wide-angle lens), and the ability to capture panoramic images.

Apple also promises that battery life has been improved, and the phone is now waterproof down to one metre for up to an hour at a time.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Iphone7 Plus Cameras

Key Features

  • 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras
  • 28mm f/1.8 lens and 56mm f/2.8 lens
  • Optical image stabilisation (wide-angle lens)
  • 5.5 inch Retina HD Multi-touch display 1920x1080 pixel, 401ppi wide colour display (DCI-P3)
  • Waterproof (IP67 standard)
  • 4K video recording at 30fps, 1080p HD video recording at 30 or 60fps
  • Slow-mo video recording, Time-lapse video
  • Front facing 7 megapixel camera, f/2.2 lens
  • HDR, panoramic, burst mode, Live Photos
  • Colours - Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, Jet Black 

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Handling

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (5)

Apple has kept the design almost the same as the iPhone 6 Plus, with the headline change being the lack of a headphone jack. That shouldn’t present much of an issue for most photographers, unless they are using accessories which require the headphone jack - an adaptor is provided in the box to allow you to attach any headphones / accessories as you choose.

The phone is pretty large, and although you can use it with just one hand, it’s not the most comfortable if you do that. This large size facilitates a very large screen, which is great for looking at your images in playback, if a little unpractical the rest of the time.

Buttons are very few and far between on the iPhone 7 Plus, as is usual for iPhones. The home button on the front of the camera is no longer a “real” button, but rather a haptic touch area which mimics the feel of a real button. You press this to be taken back to the home screen, or as a back button. It can also be used if you hold it down to activate Siri, while double tapping it allows you to move between any apps you’ve got open.

In order to use the camera, you don’t actually need to press any buttons if the phone is locked. iOS 10 means that you can lift the phone and the display will automatically switch on. From here, just swipe left and you’ll be taken into the camera app. You’ll be able to take photos, but you’ll only be able to look at those that you have taken in this session, rather than anything you’ve taken in sessions gone by.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (8)

To take a picture you can use either a virtual on screen button, or one of the volume buttons on the side of the phone - it doesn’t matter whether you press volume up or volume down, both will have the same end result. If you hold down either the physical button or the virtual button, you’ll take a burst of images.

The native camera app hasn’t changed a great deal since that found on the iPhone 6 Plus (or any other iPhone). However, there are a couple of small, but important, changes because this phone has the dual camera set up. Along the bottom of the screen, with all the shooting modes that the iPhone’s native camera app offers, you’ll see the new Portrait mode is now visible. This will only appear if you have the public beta of iOS 10.1 installed - it’s available for free for anyone to try, but may not work in the exact same way that the finished software will work.

If you’re in the normal Photo shooting mode, you’ll also see a small 1x in a circle on screen. Tap this and it will then display 2x. This essentially is switching between the two different lenses, rather than zooming as we may ordinarily think of it. From the 2x screen you can also digitally zoom up to 10x.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (4)

Portrait mode is designed to create the look of using a DSLR or CSC. It uses both the lenses to create a “depth map”, but it has some limitations to how it works. If you’re not close enough to the subject, the phone will prompt a warning to move closer. If you’re trying to use it in low light, you’ll also be out of luck as a warning that “more light required” will be displayed if so. Assuming you’ve got close enough and there’s enough light, then the phone will display “Depth Effect” and you should see that the background is now blurred.

You won’t find any advanced settings in the native camera app, such as you’ll find on many Android phones. However, there are plenty of apps you can download from the App Store which give you manual control, and a new feature of iOS 10, is that you can now shoot in raw format through third party applications.

Although the camera can shoot in 4K video, it won’t do that automatically through the native camera app - first you need to change the settings in the main settings area from HD to 4K. Remember that you can’t increase the capacity of memory with an iPhone, so if you’ve gone for one of the smaller storage sizes, you may want to stick to shooting HD video.

Overall, the iPhone is a very simple to use phone, with reasonably obvious menus and operation. That’s especially true if you’ve used an iPhone before, but even Android users should find it not too difficult to get to grips with how it works.

The screen looks great, and although it’s not the highest resolution on the market, thanks to a retina design it looks very crisp and sharp. Colours are also very well rendered, and although perhaps whites can look a little duller than other phones, it’s only really when comparing side by side that you may notice this.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (10)

Battery life - Although Apple has improved the battery life of the phone, it’s worth noting that you can’t access the battery to charge it separately from the phone. We’ve been able to get at least a full day’s worth of charge when using the phone - however, that’s with a pretty big caveat that we have only been using it as a camera, rather than using other applications such as maps which are likely to drain the battery. You may want to consider a portable battery charger if you want to ensure the phone lasts all day and you won’t have access to a wall charger.

Speed - Thanks to the lift to wake function, getting from screen off to picture taking mode is ver quick. Focusing is also very quick in good light, as well as the shutter response. In general use the phone is very quick, with the latest processor ensuring a fast performance. Additionally, from being switched off altogether, the phone can start up in less than 30 seconds. Holding down the shutter release means the phone can record stills at 12fps.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review: Apple IPhone 7 Plus White (7)

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Photographs taken using the Apple iPhone 7 Plus

A place to reflectThat's VegasDaiquiri barVegas, looking SWCaliforniaWitty urban signageBuying plastic pumpkins"If you need a hand..."'Addicted to social media...'FordHoghton TowerHoghton TowerLook at the View

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themak Avatar
themak 10 1.1k Scotland
11 Oct 2016 3:56PM
Surprising Apple doesn't market it as 'non-incendiary'.
AlexandraSD Avatar
AlexandraSD 12 773 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2016 1:02AM
Initially i was excited by this phone, but now i have gotten over the hype, its just another smartphone that takes photos at the end of the day, no tripod bush, no hotshoe, only shoots raw through apps...

Sure the slow motion looks cool, but there is no way i would get one, the dynamic range does not look like it has barely improved since the iphone 4s, and the noise is actually pretty bad. Expected more from this product but hey, it will keep the hipsters happy until the iphone 8 comes out next year, which will probably have 3 lenses and a flash sync cable...

FredDee Avatar
FredDee 10 78 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2016 1:36PM
1000 + for a telephone !!
The world has gone mad !!
I paid 7.99 for my telephone . and it makes great calls !!
For my picture taking I use a camera ! Makes great pictures (when I get it right !)

Maybe I'm just old fashioned (or just getting old !)
MUSTDOS 9 16 Lebanon
16 Oct 2016 1:55PM

Quote:1000 + for a telephone !!
The world has gone mad !!
I paid 7.99 for my telephone . and it makes great calls !!
For my picture taking I use a camera ! Makes great pictures (when I get it right !)

Maybe I'm just old fashioned (or just getting old !)

No, you just have common sense.

Want a better camera? Get one, not a phone.

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