We took out the new iPhone 11 Pro Max (that’s a mouthful, right?) for a spin on the first day of availability (delivered on time via online pre-order from Sept. 13th). Here are some of the results. Naturally these are all 100% “raw” in the sense that we used only the built-in apple camera app (third party camera and video apps are not yet functioning) and we did no post processing whatsoever.
The first thing that was noticeable was how the software adjusted for the light much more than in the previous combination of software (camera app) and hardware, and on last year’s XS Max. Well before “magic hour” would naturally turn everything golden, the sun gleaming off the ocean (see above) was already looking very stylized. With some very slight Photoshop or Lightroom adjustments this would “pop” for certain.
Without more time with the machine and post production software etc. (not to mention the 3rd party apps which do make a huge difference) it is hard to say what the ultimate verdict is on how much better the output is compared to last year’s model. However, the first reaction is: wow. Also it should be noted that the very, very best place to view iPhone 11 Pro photos… is on an iPhone 11 pro (!). The screen resolution improvements are part of the immediate and obvious reaction if you are shooting and viewing the work on the same device. That’s is a little odd, but this is part of an overall disconnect that will be present during the ultra-early times in the Second Wave.
For video we got similar, if somewhat less dramatic results. Bear in mind that 4k over YouTube can only be seen if you are using a chrome browser and you may need to manually dial up the setting. If you are looking at this for pro-test footage research you know what I am saying. Mostly you would be seeing this in 1080p and that does still look pretty luscious.
Above you can see the same general scene using the ultra wide angle lens (equivalent to a 13mm) which is very wide and does create some distortion and enhancement of perspective – which always looks “cool” in music videos and some landscape settings.
The option to switch (without image degradation) between the three cameras / lenses: the ultra-wide 13mm, the wide 26mm and the 52mm “tele” is very handy, and having the ultra-wide angle will produce some great images not previously seen in iPhone photography. However, as a pro in “real life” with a full set up prime lenses there would definitely need to be an 80mm or 100mm for greater production of depth of field (bokeh and portrait styles) and to capture closer framing without resorting to digital zoom degradation. Also if they would have asked me I would have suggested something like 13mm, 40mm and 80mm. The 80mm is probably not possible due to the fact that it would be very thick (!) but the 26mm is a bit of an orphan getting skipped over, in many situations when looking for dramatic shots. But, hey ! It’s a smart phone!
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