First off, apologies for the day-long break in the iPhone 13 mini dairies – we were just caught up with far too many events and briefings to do justice to any day with the tiniest iPhone of them all. But well, we are back today and discussing one of the most talked-about features of the phone – the camera.
Now, on paper, the iPhone 13 mini seems to come with a similar dual camera set up on the back and front as the iPhone 12 mini – two 12 Megapixel dual cameras at the back and a 12-megapixel True Depth camera in front. Apple claims to have improved these from last year and also added some neat camera touches in shooting video like Cinematic video in which the background defocuses and the focus shifts smartly from one person to another.
After using the phone for about two days, I can say the iPhone 13 mini is perhaps the most fun camera to use out there. The small form factor makes it super easy to carry and whip out take snaps. And well, image quality is excellent too, as always.
No, we have not been able to see a HUGE difference between the cameras of the iPhone 12 mini and the 13 mini in still shots, but I think we get to see a little more detail and the colours seem a little more punchy, although still broadly realistic. We kept the settings that way – the option to choose from standard, rich contrast, vibrant, warm and cool is a great touch for those who love to experiment with different colour settings (although human subjects will not be affected by these, we are told), but we prefer regular and keeping things realistic. That is the Apple way.
Low light performance remains super, although we prefer turning off nightscape. It is great for static images but can mess up images that have movement in them. Portrait mode remains slightly hit and miss but frankly, we are happier getting closer to the subject and letting bokeh float in naturally than depend on software for it.
What of videos? Well, the iPhone (even the SE) is in a zone of its own. The Cinematic mode is fascinating as it does blur out the background but the intelligent movement from one face to another does not always work. That said, video on the phone is high quality and again the super-compact form factor is going to make it very popular among action camera users, simply because you can do so much of the editing on the device itself (again as we observed on day two, that display can seem a little small, but it is bigger than most viewfinders on DSLRs and GoPros). And yes, a quick note – the Cinematic mode is very impressive even in selfie videos when it comes to blurring out the background. Selfies are as good as ever – not for those who like super smooth “gora chitta” shots though.
So what can we say about the cameras about the iPhone 13 mini? I think they are very very good, extremely consistent, and realistic. Mind you, for the first time, you can play around with that realistic feel (although we preferred not to).
There will be Android phones which will take better pictures, but within three days, I find myself reaching out for the 13 mini again and again. It just seems to capture what I see. And I am going to stress this again, its form factor makes it super easy to use. This is the most fun camera to use out there, thanks to its size.
What of battery life, though? Stay tuned to the iPhone 13 mini diary for more.