If there’s anything that we’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s that smartphone cameras – especially those found in flagships – are at a much higher level in terms of performance and image quality, often proving good enough to be a user’s default point-and-shoot device. As such, phones like Apple’s newest iPhone 15 Pro Max promise to give folks the best possible smartphone photos ever, but how does it stack up against the competition?
Like the 15 Pro Max, phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Pixel 7 Pro have made a big deal of their respective imaging capabilities. Each of the three devices undoubtedly delivers great-looking photos, although there are some differences in terms of software processing and hardware. As such, we decided to take out the three handsets for a spin on the streets of London, and see how they differ in camera performance.
Needless to say, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was more than able to hold its own against the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro. For example, the 15 Pro Max managed to take more natural-looking photos compared to the more saturated tones on Samsung’s premium flagship, and more detailed shots against the Pixel 7 Pro. There were moments however when dynamic range proved to be a challenge for the 15 Pro Max, especially when shooting on the device’s ultra-wide sensor. Additionally, the 5 Pro Max occasionally produced darker-toned images, although it was able to nail highlights when taking shots of low-light scenarios. Be sure to check out the video above, which also includes samples of video and audio recordings.
Launched this September, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is one of several new phones from Apple, which includes the “regular” iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, and iPhone 15 Pro. While the regular and plus models use last year’s A16 Bionic chip, this year’s Pro Models come packed with the more powerful A17 Bionic Pro, which Apple says is designed for more resource-hungry and intensive tasks and apps. Other exclusive new features include the USB-C charging port, as well as a snazzy-looking Titanium frame that wraps around the phone.
In terms of imaging hardware however, Apple has decided to play it safe, and stick with last year’s specs. As such, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with the following:
- 48-megapixel main sensor, 24mm f/1.78-aperture lens, 2.44µm quad pixels, Dual-Pixel autofocus, optical image stabilisation
- 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 13mm f/2.2-aperture lens, Dual-Pixel autofocus
- 12-megapixel 5x telephoto camera, 120 mm f/2.8-aperture lens, 1.12µm pixels, Dual-Pixel autofocus
- 12-megapixel front facing camera, 23mm f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilisation
Apple claims that it has also added some new features for photography, including improvements to Portrait mode, “spatial video” for use with the upcoming Vision Pro headset, as well as 5x telephoto zoom, although the latter is exclusive to the 15 Pro Max. Of course, you do get the usual suite of Apple’s other camera features, such as Photographic styles, cinematic video, and a maximum of 4K video resolution, with up to 60 fps.
Let us know your thoughts on the iPhone 15 Pro Max – will you be getting one for its camera performance? Don’t forget to check out our accessory roundup for the iPhone 15 Pro.