On the third day of our iPhone 13 Pro Max Diary, we are going to be continuing our examination of its most talked-about feature – the cameras. As we had pointed out on day two of the diary, the change in image quality between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will not be very apparent when you look at the images taken by the phones. However, there are clear enhancements in the camera’s performance and well, in my opinion, two features really make it worth upgrading to the iPhone 13 Pro Max for those into serious phone photography.
The first of these is the macro mode. iPhones have not had a proper macro mode on their cameras and well, at first glance, you might not realise there is a macro mode on the 13 Pro Max either because it is not written anywhere. So do not go looking for a macro mode on the cameras or in the app. No, what is going to happen is that when you start getting closer to a subject, the cameras will switch automatically to the ultra-wide sensor and you will be able to get snaps from almost an inch and sometimes even less, of the subject.
And as this is taken by a proper 12-megapixel sensor and without cropping, you actually end up with a sensationally good close up snaps. I would say these are among the best I have seen from a phone. The only problem is keeping your hands steady – a bit of shake does come in as you get closer, but the results are amazing. Personally speaking, I would have loved a dedicated macro button – you sort of stumble across this mode unless you know it already exists.
I had spoken of Cinematic Video in our iPhone 13 mini diary. And while it works exactly on the iPhone 13 Pro Max as it did on the iPhone 13 mini, it seems a little faster, although it might just be an illusion fueled by the “Pro is better” perception that Apple pushes – editing certainly seems swifter. While the background blurring is very impressive, the focus does not always shift from one person to another as claimed. But well, you can actually edit all of this in the Gallery App itself, which is amazing. Incidentally, Apple implementing Cinematic video on the front-facing camera shows the intent of the brand with the mode – it is clearly for content creators.
Low light photography is not perfect – you still get flare – but remains realistic and a far cry from the yellow-ish attempts to brighten up the darkness that we get from some other devices. Speaking of which, Night mode has been toned down a little, which is good for those who love realism. Overall the levels of clarity and detail remain top-notch. This is an iPhone after all, and a Pro at that.
As I wrote earlier, nothing will leap out at you and scream “sensational,” apart from the Macro mode, perhaps. But the sheer extent of what you can do and the speed at which you can do it is what makes these devices super special. You might get better snaps and videos from other devices, but none so far have the sheer ease of operation and consistency that the iPhone 13 Pro Max delivers – the only time I encountered a slight lag was in editing slightly longer Cinematic Videos. A final point – if the iPhone 13 mini was the most fun camera to use because of its incredibly small size, the 13 Pro Max was the most powerful to use simply because that large, brilliant display lets you do so much more in terms of edits and effects.
All in all, the iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras are a significant step ahead of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Not purely in terms of results, but in terms of what you can do with them! So, where does that leave the iPhone 13 Pro Max? We will let you know our take based on our usage in the final page of our iPhone 13 Pro Max Diary. Stay tuned.