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Apple iPhone 11 camera review: better than Android smartphones?

Apple iPhone 11 camera review: better than Android smartphones?

A few years ago, the Apple iPhone was considered the best phone for photos. But that was before. Indeed, the situation has changed a lot recently and the throne of the king of photography often changes every six months. However, with its new iPhone, the Cupertino-based company wants to get things in order. Did it succeed? Is that enough to become the new king of photophones? The answer is in this article!

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Apple iPhone 11: technical features of the camera

The most affordable new iPhone of this 2019 generation is the iPhone 11. Unlike the Pro and Pro Max versions, the iPhone 11 does not have a telephoto lens. The smartphone, therefore, offers two cameras and a flash. The selfies are assigned to a single camera located in the notch of the front screen:

Ultrawide-angle camera:

  • Focal length: 13 mm equivalent 35 mm
  • Opening: fixed f/2.4
  • Exposure time: maximum 1 second, minimum 1/45,000 second
  • Light sensitivity: maximum ISO 2016, minimum ISO 21
  • Image size: 4,032 x 3,024 pixels
  • Sensor: 12 megapixels
  • Focus system: focus by phase comparison
  • Stabilization: electronic

Wide-angle camera:

  • Focal length: 26 mm equivalent 35 mm
  • Opening: fixed f/1.8
  • Exposure time: maximum 1 second, minimum 1/125 000 seconds
  • Light sensitivity: maximum ISO 3072, minimum ISO 32
  • Image size: 4,032 x 3,024 pixels
  • Sensor: 12 megapixels
  • Focus system: phase comparison autofocus and contrast autofocus
  • Stabilization: optical, electronic

Front camera:

  • Focal length: 23 mm equivalent 35 mm
  • Opening: fixed f/2.2
  • Exposure time: maximum 1 second, minimum 1/48,000 second
  • Light sensitivity: ISO 2208 maximum, ISO 23 minimum
  • Image size: 4,032 x 3,024 pixels
  • Sensor: 12 megapixels
  • Focus system: face recognition and face tracking
  • Stabilization: electronic
AndroidPIT iPhone11 vs iphone11pro iphone11promax fullback
Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, the iPhone 11 does not have a telephoto lens / © AndroidPIT / Ben Miller

Photos in good light conditions

Not surprisingly, when the light conditions are right, the quality of the iPhone 11's photos is excellent. For an 800-euro smartphone, the opposite would have been surprising, but it's good to see Apple's progress in this area. If the flagships of Huawei, Google or Samsung do not have to envy Apple's flagship, the iPhone 11 is better than the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro.

Taking pictures is very fast, and unlike the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Note 10, the iPhone 11 displays slightly less vivid but certainly more realistic colors. Exposure, contrasts and light management never disappoint. The only flaw, I find, is the loss of quality in the corners.

iPhone 11 couleurs
The colors of the iPhone 11 are colder than those of the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 / © AndroidPIT

With the iPhone 11, it is also finally possible to take 120-degree wide-angle photos. The addition is very good news, especially since the color calibration is the same on both sensors. The shots are also excellent in this area and the sharpness is there. 2X zoom, on the other hand, is not very useful for taking pictures of objects in the distance, it is more useful for portraits. Clearly, Apple is lagging behind many Android competitors in this area.

iphone 11 grand angle
Finally a wide-angle on the iPhone / © AndroidPIT
iphone 11 zoom x2
The 2x zoom is far from being the best on the market and produces a lot of noise / © AndroidPIT

In close-ups, the iPhone 11 also performs well. The blur that is done optically and not by software offers pretty images. Reality is perfectly respected and Apple avoids falling into the trap of unrealistic photos.

iphone 11 gros plan
The iPhone 11 makes a natural bokeh in close-ups / © AndroidPIT

As for portraits, the iPhone 11 is also a good camera with several different modes to adjust the intensity of the bokeh effect. It works with everything you like to photograph, including pets, which many users are looking for. The colors are also well managed, but it must be noted that sometimes the iPhone 11 can have difficulty delineating the subject. Hair or glasses can sometimes be a problem for me. Huawei, with the P30 Pro, is doing better I think.

iphone 11 portrait
Portraits give a natural look / © AndroidPIT

Another new feature is the iPhone 11, which allows you to capture black and white portraits, is called High Key Mono. It is meant to provide you with "studio photos". I must admit that I really liked this feature even if it sometimes suffers from the same problem to isolate the subject perfectly (still the hair problem). Apple's software is certainly powerful, and it has the advantage of not making itself felt to maintain good processing.

Photos in poor brightness

It is often under these conditions that smartphones encounter difficulties and the iPhone 11 is no exception to the rule. Let's make no mistake about it, the Apple smartphone is very satisfying and I really appreciate the way the pictures are taken at night (because yes, iPhone 11 also offers a night mode).

I find the rendering much more natural than some smartphones like the Pixel 3 or the P30 Pro. So, certainly the iPhone offers less detail than the two Android phones in low light but the result is closer to reality and what the human eye perceives. In use, the night mode is also faster and the iPhone's automatic mode detects immediately when the light conditions are low, activating the night mode.

iphone 11 luminosite faible
The iPhone 11 handles bad lighting situations well / © AndroidPIT
iphone 11 nuit
The final result is realistic. However, some electronic noise is present / © AndroidPIT

Selfies

It's hard not to mention selfies in my photo test because they have become so important in my daily life. The iPhone 11 offers a unique front camera that does not disappoint. The selfies are precise, clean and largely sufficient for all the uses that can be envisaged in 2019 (social networks, messaging...). The colors are once again realistic, the contrasts are good and the iPhone 11 does not force on a possible beauty filter as many Chinese smartphones can sometimes do.

Overall, the iPhone 11 does the job well, especially when the lighting conditions are present. It is not the best in the field, however, and if this aspect is important to you, other devices, such as the ZenFone 6, do better.

iphone 11 selfie
The seflies are good. No more, no less / © AndroidPIT

Videos

I will be rather brief on the subject of video since the iPhone 11 remains one of the best in the field. Only Samsung's flagships can compete in this area, especially in terms of stabilization. On the other hand, color processing and light management is better on Apple's smartphone.

In practice, you can shoot in 2160p at 24/30/60 fps and 1080p at 30/60/120/240 fps. It is possible to record in HDR and with stereo sound. The iPhone also offers an audio zoom that aligns the audio levels with what is being recorded, but this is relatively discreet in my opinion. In any case, it's similar to what Samsung offers.

In any case, YouTubers or budding filmmakers will find this smartphone a great tool to work with. Just a word of advice, opt for the model with at least 128GB of memory, the basic 64GB model being too small in my opinion.

Conclusion

One thing is for sure: Apple is back on the same level of photo quality as Android. The results are generally similar to those of the iPhone 11 Pro and this is a very pleasant surprise. If you want to know the quality of the pictures of the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, I invite you to read our very detailed article on the subject:

In the end, the quality of the images is excellent. The automatic mode is very good and the iPhone 11 is an excellent photophone that can be easily relied on daily and the photo application is pleasant to use.

However, despite the very good quality of the iPhone 11's camera, it is not necessarily the best for a smartphone. The smartphone is still fishing in a few areas, such as zoom, and the miracle Deep Fusion feature is still waiting for you, but on the video side, the iPhone remains the king in this field and the addition of modes like slow-motion selfies will surely help to seduce a large audience.

What do you think of the photo quality of the iPhone 11?

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2 comments

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  • I am still convinced that a real camera is always better


  • I have to honestly say after seeing the many pic examples I am impressed. Apple has brought themselves back in to the camera game. I am truly interested in getting an iPhone 11. It is almost equal to the camera of my Pixel 2.