The iPhone 13 Camera — Our Thoughts & What You Need to Know

An image without an alt, whoops

Ah, big tech. An exciting, fruitful world of neverending upgrades, added features, and stellar bionic chips to impress the intelligently inferior human population. While Apple did debut multiple product drum beats, including the second generation of iPads, AirPods, and Apple watches — we're here for the juicy meat of the event: the long-awaited iPhone 13 and its camera. We're a team full of tech nerds and camera lovers, and our hearts can no longer bear the weight of waiting any longer. After watching the keynote today, here are some of our final thoughts and opinions from creatives working in the tech industry. Take it, or leave it!

Like last year's announcements, the entry-level iPhone 13 comes in two versions (a 6.1-inch base model and the smaller 5.4-inch Mini model). Pricing starts at $799 for the iPhone 13 and $699 for the Mini — both stellar price points for Apple connoisseurs.

While I would argue that this year's 2021 lineup doesn't strike the team with radical changes but instead raises the temperature with high-powered refinements and improvements. Physically speaking, the phone models look strikingly similar to last year's iPhone 12 but boasts a 20% smaller notch to allow for a more accessible display. It's not particularly that noticeable, though, as the cameras have maintained that table-like raise.

At A Glance…

  • A15 Bionic
  • New colors
  • 800 nits XDR display
  • 20% smaller notch
  • New camera array
  • Cinematic video mode
  • Slightly bumped battery life
  • ProRes video, with up to 1TB storage
An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

What You Need to Know About the Camera...

A striking change from last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max to the latest baseline iPhone 13 is its increased sensor size to 47% larger, allowing it to capture more light in low-light conditions and less noise. The Wide sensor comes in at 12-megapixels with an f/1.6 aperture, while the new 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera features a more fast f/2.4 lens with a 120-degree field of view. iPhone 13 additionally boasts a sensor-shift stabilization technology featured in the 12 Pro Max to reduce unwanted vibrations within the sensor.

Overall, this is the most advanced pro camera system ever on an iPhone, boasting a Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion; a massive leap in battery life; A15 Bionic, the fastest chip in a smartphone; an advanced 5G experience; and so much more.

The promotion features an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, making the touch experience faster and more responsive. The pro camera system gets its most significant advancement ever with new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras that capture stunning photos and video, powered by the unmatched performance of A15 Bionic, more powerful than the leading competition. These technologies enable impressive new photo capabilities never before possible on iPhone, like macro photography on the new Ultra-Wide camera and up to 2.2x improved low-light performance on the new Wide camera (Apple, 2021).

Optimized to work seamlessly with the all-new iOS 15 and powered by the new image signal processor (ISP) in the A15 Bionic, Apple's iPhone 13 Pro lineup features the best camera system to bless an iPhone to date. The Wide camera offers a larger sensor with 1.9 µm pixels, far less noise due to faster shutter speeds, and crisp detail that can be seen from a mile away. Paired with a beautiful low aperture of f/1.5, this Wide camera on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max offers excellent improvements to low-light photography.

The latest Ultra-Wide camera features a stellar new f/1.8 aperture and improved autofocus to produce cleaner, brighter images in darker environments. Additionally, and with great excitement, Apple now offers a macro-photography feature using advanced software to magnify objects to appear larger than life. Macro also expands to video mode, including Slo-mo and Timelapse.

An image without an alt, whoops

Photographic Styles

This feature piqued my personal interest during Apple's Keynote, but it struck me as a bit gimmicky. This native app upgrade encourages users to customize the look of their images for more consistency across an array of shots. This would have felt more mesmerizing if the changes didn't initially seem borderline basic and software-heavy, but it does. Though, I'm interested in seeing how this performs against a post-process edit.

An image without an alt, whoops
An image without an alt, whoops

Oh my Gosh, That Cinematic Mode?

If you logged on to our Youtube Live with Caleb and Joshua (before we got kicked out for streaming the live event with real-time audio), we physically gasped at the newest Cinematic Mode feature. This latest Coinstar allows for a rack focus effect to change the focus during the video with a simple finger tap. Apple's "Whodunnit" short film visibly depicted the automatic transitions while filming in real time, robotically shifting focus as new people entered the frame. Seems as though you can track a subject automatically by locking focus or manually changing for more precise control. The front-facing camera also provides cinematic mode support, which seems pretty rad. Cinematic selfies?

Not too much information is shared beyond the basics, so we'll have to eagerly wait until the phone is in our hands like everyone else. Definitely expect an upcoming YouTube video on this, as well as extra-shimmery Moment Invitational Film Festival submissions.

ProRes, Battery Life, and Storage

We're pretty stoked on ProRes being added to the list of video features for the latest iPhone lineup. ProRes video files have significantly lower compression than the more common H.264 and H.265 codecs currently used on previous iPhone models. ProRes protects the image quality of the video while allowing for fast encoding and decoding (CNET, 2021). However, this essentially means gigantic video files and tons of storage easily erased from your device. Look like we'll need to test this out for further use and see if this properly pairs with a 1TB smartphone.

A15 Bionic, more power-efficient components, a larger battery, and power optimizations made possible by the tight integration of hardware and software enable amazing all-day battery life for both Pro models, with iPhone 13 Pro Max offering the most extended battery life ever in an iPhone.

An image without an alt, whoops

Shop Our Accessories!

iPhone 13 Series has been launched — and so are the brand new accessories to go along with the latest devices. To help you select the best ones in the market, we have prepared a list here, including some of the best iPhone 13 Accessories and Daily Essentials from Moment below, or read this article to gather more important information about each one. Happy shopping!

An image without an alt, whoops

Hard Shell Mount for AirTags™


Premium gear is expensive, and now you can track it with our Hard Shell Mount for AirTags. Made from a rugged aramid fiber shell and backed with a super strong adhesive, you can stick an AirTag to any...

Add for $25

Klaviyo Form

Are you on the list? You don’t want to miss our weekly email with fresh, inspiring content.