I thought I’d take a few minutes to take a closer look at the iPhone 13 Pro macro as it compares to shots taken using the Sony a7r II using a macro extension on an f2.0 28mm lens. I’ve been using the iPhone 13 Pro for about three weeks now and have been impressed by how the Macro shots look on the phone screen. They really are quite impressive when viewed on the phone.
However, when I pulled the photos onto my desktop, it was evident that a tremendous amount of detail is getting lost. The photo above is from the iPhone 13 Pro using the 1x lens. The photo below is from the Sony a7r II. (It’s almost impossible without being in a studio to get the shot to align perfectly, but you’ll see the point I’m making in a moment.
Many of the macro images from the iPhone 13 Pro have a sort of “painterly” feel. The pixels seem blended to together. On the iPhone screen, it’s difficult to see this. And I suppose if all you are doing is posting photos to Instagram, it really is an amazing achievement. However, take a look at the comparison below. This is the iPhone 13 image (left) at 100% view on my Macbook Pro compared to the Sony a7r II shot (right) at roughly the same size comparison.
I will admit I’m a bit of a pixel peeper. Though I’d say that in macro photography specifically, details matter. And they matter quite a bit. You can see pretty clearly in the comparison above that the details (small particles of pollen for example) in the Sony a7rii shot end up being blended together in the iPhone 13 Pro version of this shot. This is consistent across all images.
So, is it amazing? Yes. If I didn’t have a camera with a better sensor and lenses specifically built to do this job, I’d be blown away with the possibilities that exist in this phone. But I do. And I certainly won’t be giving that up in favor of shooting my macro photos with the iPhone 13 pro.
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