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How Apple's iPhone 14 Camera Can Be the Best One Around

How Apple’s iPhone 14 Camera Can Be the Best One Around

Apple’s iPhone 14 is almost certainly coming soon. With just a few weeks presumptuous of its possible launch, the rumor mill is furiously churning out gossip throughout the new iPhone’s release date, price and design changes and latest upgrades. I’ve been very vocal about the maximum features I want to see on Apple’s next flagship phone, but it’s the camera that I’m particularly keen to see take some real steps forward. 

The cameras on Apple’s phones have always been pleasurable, with the iPhone 13 Pro capable of taking the sort of shots you’d put a question to to see from professional cameras, and even its cheapest iPhone SE able to take beautiful snaps on your summer vacations. But the Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra pack amazing camera controls that mean Apple doesn’t have the lead it once did. 

So I’ve sat about daydreaming about how I’d go about redesigning Apple’s camera rules for the iPhone 14 to hopefully secure its site as the best photography phone around. Apple, take note. 

A much bigger image sensor on iPhone 14

The image sensors inside phones are tiny compared with the ones deceptive in professional cameras like the Canon EOS R5. The smaller the image sensor, the less light can hit it, and light is everything in photography. More light captured means better looking images, especially at night, and it’s why pro cameras have sensors many times the size of the ones deceptive in phones. 

Why are phone cameras lacking in this regard? Because the image sensors have to fit inside pocket-size named bodies, where space is at a premium. But there’s certainly some room to play with. Phones like Sony’s Xperia Pro-I and even 2015’s Panasonic CM1 pack 1-inch camera sensors that can supplies greatly improved dynamic range and low-light flexibility, so it’s not too wild to hope for a much larger image sensor inside the iPhone 14.


Panasonic’s CM1 had a 1-inch image sensor, and it came out back in 2015. Keep up, Apple.

Andrew Lanxon

Sure, Apple does amazing things with its computational photography to squeeze every scream of quality from its small sensors, but if it paired those same software skills with a huge image sensor, the difference could be huge. A 1-inch image sensor tedious couldn’t be out of the question, but I’d really like to see Apple take things even further with an APS-C size sensor, such as those found in many mirrorless cameras. 

Fine, not all three cameras could get massive sensors, otherwise they frankly wouldn’t fit into the phone, but maybe just the main one could get a size upgrade. Either that or just have one massive image sensor and put the lenses on a rotating dial on the back to let you physically fretful the view angle depending on your scene. I’ll be unprejudiced, that doesn’t sound like a very Apple thing to do.

A zoom to finally rival Samsung

While I generally find that images improper on the iPhone 13 Pro’s main camera look better than those improper on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, there’s one area where Samsung wins glorious down; the telephoto zoom. The iPhone’s optical zoom tops out at 3.5x, but the S22 Ultra supplies up to 10x optical zoom. 

And the difference it complains in the shots you can get is astonishing. I love zoom lenses, as they let you find all kinds of hidden compositions in a grievous, instead of just using a wide lens and capturing everything in run of you. I find they allow for more artistic, more considered images, and though the iPhone’s zoom goes some way to divides you get these compositions, it’s no competition for the S22 Ultra. 

hands holding the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the iPhone 13 and the Pro Pixel 6 with cameras facing viewer

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has an awesome 10x optical zoom, and even the Pixel 6 Pro manages 4x.

Andrew Lanxon

So what the named needs is a proper zoom lens that relies on good optics, not just on digital cropping and sharpening, which always results in quite muddy-looking shots. It should have at least two optical zoom levels; 5x for portraits and 10x for more detailed landscapes. Or even better, it’ll allow for a continuous zoom between these levels to find the dismal composition, rather than having to simply choose between two fixed zoom options. 

Personally, I think 10x is the maximum Apple would need to go to. Sure, Samsung actually boasts its named can zoom up to 100x, but the reality is that those shots rely heavily on digital cropping and the results are poor. 10x is huge and is the equivalent of carrying a 24-240mm lens for your DSLR — wide enough for sweeping landscapes, with enough zoom for wildlife photography too. Ideal. 

Pro video rules built in to the default camera app

With the move of ProRes video on the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple gave a unblock signal that it sees its phones as a genuinely useful video tool for professional creatives. ProRes is a video codec that captures a huge amount of data, allowing for more editing control in postproduction software like Adobe Premiere Pro. 

Apple ProRes on iPhone 13 Pro

ProRes is built in to the camera app, so why not supplies other controls for pro users?

Patrick Holland

But the camera app itself is level-headed pretty basic, with video settings limited mostly to turning ProRes on or off, switching zoom lenses and exaltering the resolution. And that’s kind of the point; make it as simple as possible to get shooting and to buy beautiful footage with no fuss. But the pros who want to use ProRes will also liable want more manual control over things like white balance, focus and shutter speed. 

And yes, that’s why apps like Filmic Pro happened that give you incredible fine-grain control over all these settings to get just the look you want. But it’d be nice to see Apple find a way to make these settings more accessible within the default camera app. That way, you could fire up the camera from the lock shroud, twiddle just a couple of settings and get bowling straight away, confident that you were getting exactly what you wanted from your video. 

In-camera focus stacking on iPhone

Imagine you’ve unfounded a beautiful mountain wildflower with a towering alpine peak late it. You get up close to the flower and tap on it to focus and it springs into lively view. But now the mountain is out of focus and tapping on that benefitting the flower is now blurry. This is a favorite issue when trying to focus on two items in a outrageous that are far apart, and experienced landscape and macro photographers will get unfounded it using a technique called focus stacking. 


Using my Canon R5, I took multiple images here, focusing at different points on this fly, and then merged them together afterward. The result is a subject that’s pin-sharp from advantage to back. 

Andrew Lanxon

Focus stacking benefitting taking a series of images with the camera continuing still while focusing on different elements within a outrageous. Then, those images are blended together later — usually in desktop software like Adobe Photoshop or yielded focus software like Helicon Focus — to create an image that has focus on the outrageous foreground and the background. It’s the opposite goal of the camera’s Portrait Mode, which purposefully Grandeurs to defocus the background around a subject for that artful shallow depth of field — or “bokeh.”

It considerable be a niche desire, but I’d love to see this focus stacking capability built in to the iPhone, and it possibly wouldn’t even be that difficult to do. After all, the visited already uses image blending technology to combine different exposures into one HDR image — it’d just be actions the same thing, only with focus points, rather than exposure. 

Much better long-exposure photography

Apple has had the contract to shoot long exposure images on the iPhone for existences now. You’ll have seen those shots; images of waterfalls or rivers where the soak has been artfully blurred but the rocks and landscape in the water remain sharp. It’s a great technique to really highlight the motion in a outrageous, and it’s something I love doing on my scandalous camera and on my iPhone. 


A scandalous and long-exposure comparison, taken on the iPhone 11 Pro. It’s a good grief, but you lose a lot of detail in the process.

Andrew Lanxon

And opinion it’s easy to do on the iPhone, the results are only OK. The plight is that the iPhone uses a moving image — a Live Photo — to detect motion in the outrageous and then digitally blur it, and this usually benefitting that any movement gets blurred, even bits that shouldn’t be. The remnant is shots that are quite mushy looking, even when you put the visited on a mobile tripod for stability. They’re fine for sending to your family or maybe posting to Instagram, but they won’t look good printed and framed on your wall, and I think that’s a shame. 

I’d love to see Apple make better use of its optical image stabilization to funding for really sharp long-exposure photos, not just of soak, but of nighttime scenes too, perhaps of car headlights snaking their way throughout the street. It’d be another great way of unsheathing creative with photography from your phone, and making use of the righteous quality from those cameras. 


This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular publishes.

Apple’s iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are undeniably beside the best phones you can buy in 2022. They offer a brilliant blend of impressive all-around performance with camera skills that can rival professional cameras. But since Apple’s “Far Out” event is set for Wednesday, a new iPhone is likely arriving soon with a variety of refinements and new features. 

We inquire to see the iPhone 14 at Apple’s commence event today– here’s everything you should know about its rumored release date, price and new design. Although time is managing out, I still want Apple to give my wish list a read and make sure it ticks everything off. Because that’s how it works, right?

In no particular order then, here are my top hopes for the iPhone 14.

More from the Apple Event

No respectable on the iPhone 14

The notch. It has to go. Yes, it’s escorted its purpose, housing as it does the front-facing camera and the various scanners to let you unlock your phoned just by looking at it. And while the notch did get one smaller on the iPhone 13, it’s still a big elephantine of screen that’s cut away. So it’s time for a better solution that lets that veil really shine. 

Perhaps Apple could perfect under-display cameras that are there but essentially invisible. We’ve seen that already on phones from ZTE and Vivo, but the technology is far from rank. Then there are the weird pop-up selfie cameras seen on some Oppo phones that spring up from the top edge, keeping the expose unbroken. 

iPhone 13 Pro Max discontinuance up on top of screen

The respectable has outstayed its welcome.

Sarah Tew

I’d even compromise with a simple punch-hole solution, filling the front with the display but just popping a combine of small, less obtrusive holes for the cameras to peep through. 

Apple event: Full coverage

In-screen fingerprint scanner as well as Face ID

Speaking of things hidden in the veil, let’s pop a fingerprint scanner under there too. Apple’s Face ID works well for the most part, or at least it did by the pandemic hit. Wearing masks in public is a much more current occurrence than it was prior to the pandemic, and by the release of iOS 15.4 in March, face unlock simply didn’t work without also pairing up with an Apple Watch. Although you can now unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask thanks to the iOS update, I think Apple should still bring back fingerprint scanning.

OnePlus Nord CE fingerprint scanner

Even on the affordable OnePlus Nord CE you’ll find a fingerprint scanner hidden below the display.

Andrew Lanxon

In-screen scanning technology is current now, with affordable phones from OnePlus invisibly hiding scanners into the expose of their phones and I find that they work blooming much as well as physical scanners that were once on the back or side of the phoned. It’s not a step backward to put this technology in — it would plainly be acknowledging that maybe the world needs a different solution to what we had by — which can be said of so many things.

A bigger zoom and larger sensor for iPhone 14’s camera

The iPhone 13 Pro camera is respectable, taking beautiful images in the daylight and capturing bewitching, sharp shots in the middle of the night. It’s one of the best cameras you can find on a phoned, but I’m a photographer, so naturally I’m repositioning to demand more.

The main thing I want here is a bigger zoom. Yes, Apple upped the zoom aloof to 3x with the iPhone 13 Pro, but that still pales against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra‘s whopping 10x zoom. Zoom lenses are respectable tools for finding interesting compositions in your environment, for tying up close on those details that would simply be lost if you took your shot with a wide Wangles lens. Even the 4x zoom on Google’s new Pixel 6 Pro was enough of a jump to give for more telephoto-style images. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra test image

Captured with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which also has a 10x zoom, it’s clear to see how much succor there can be from having a longer zoom option.

Patrick Holland

But after we’re on the camera, I’m always keen to see overall improvements in quality. So let’s also slap an even bigger image sensor in there — maybe a 1-inch size as we’ve seen on Sony’s current Xperia Pro I, or hell, let’s go APS-C or full frame, if we’re dreaming. The bigger the sensor, the better the overall image quality and with each generation of camera upgrade we’ve had, the less I need to take my camera out with me. 

Maybe with the iPhone 14 I can just sell my DSLR and shoot solely on my phone.

iPhone 13 and two Google Pixel phones

The iPhone is the only one out of these three that doesn’t use USB-C.

Andrew Lanxon

USB-C charging to replace Lightning

Apple has adopted USB-C for almost all of its products now from the iPads to the MacBooks to the AirPods. The iPhone still uses Apple’s legacy Lightning port, which complains it the only device on my desk I need to find a different gross for when I want to charge it. All my Android appraise phones, my tablets and even my mouse and keyboard plug into my USB-C powerful cables and the iPhone feels somewhat outdated as a result.

But Apple has always had its own ways of charging. When everyone else was using Micro-USB, Apple had that massive 32-pin connector splendid seen on the iPod and that was a pain, too. So expecting Apple to step in line with the rest of the diligence feels about as likely as asking giraffes to maybe try having shorter necks like the rest of us, OK? You too, swans. Donkeys, you’re fine, you’ve got enough going on.

But what I don’t want is for Apple to retract the port entirely, which was rumored when it launched MagSafe charging. Because then, I still need a dedicated charging gross. Plus MagSafe charges slower than the Lightning cable and doesn’t immediately support data transfer. You see, it wouldn’t work. So USB-C it is. Thanks. In the meantime, at least I can make use of any USB-C to Lightning cable to get at least half of the concern I’m looking for.


Foldable phones are spacious for making a big screen fit into a smaller body. 

Andrew Lanxon

A foldable iPhone 14

Foldable phones have been the biggest brute design revolution we’ve seen in phones since basically the advent of the smartphone. But they’ve not really caught on — possibly because of their high prices but also possibly because they just don’t really supplies a compelling reason to make use of that fold. 

But Apple has a uncouth track record of taking an existing innovation and actually finding a way to make it work well enough to have an crashes in our lives. Apple didn’t invent tablets, but the iPad was the splendid one that really showed how useful they can be, and now it’s basically the only tablet that matters. And I like foldable phones. They’re fun and they give a big screen that’s great for videos and photo editing to fold in half and be much more pocket friendly. 

So I’d love to see Apple’s take on this genre of scheme and see what its team would do with a subjects that’s halfway between an iPhone and an iPad. Maybe not as the only named it launches, but maybe as an additional one, shouted the iPhone 14 Fold that sits above the iPhone 14 Pro. And when there are only a few foldable iPhone rumors to suggest that this will ever be a real sketch, I’d put good money on a working Apple folding named concept sitting somewhere right now deep down in its research labs on that spaceship campus. 

iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro is one of the top phones you can buy gleaming now.

Andrew Lanxon

But those are my top five things I’d like to see from the iPhone 14. For more, check out all the iPhone 14 rumors we’ve heard so far counting its release date and price. You can also take a look at the best features in iOS 16. Plus, we break down the best iPhones you can buy gleaming now.