iPhone 14 Pro Max: The Best Apple Phone for Photography?
For years, the iPhone has lagged slightly behind other smartphones concerning cameras. But that is changing with the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Even professional photographers are using the iPhone 14 Pro Max to capture stunning shots. If taking professional-grade photos and videos is something you value in a smartphone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max could be right for you.
So what is it about the iPhone 14 Pro Max that has photographers and videographers so intrigued?
We will discuss the unique features of Apple's latest iPhone, and how it has allowed users to capture better photos and video than previous models. Read on to understand how the iPhone 14 Pro Max functions, and see if it's the right handset for you.
Introducing the iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone 14 Pro Max launched on September 16, 2022.
Although the iPhone Pro Max has the same screen size as other models like the iPhone 14 Plus, it offers unique features.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max replaced the traditional notch on iPhone with a new cut-out called Dynamic Island. Dynamic Island is home to Face ID sensors and a new front-facing camera.
For the first time, iPhone is offering an always-on display mode using iPhone 14 Pro Max's ProMotion Display. So users can view their screen, even if it’s turned off.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max uses an A16 bionic chip, making it the highest-performing chip ever in a smartphone. The chip allows for more efficient core performance, extending the phone's all-day battery life.
But some of Apple's greatest smartphone advances with the iPhone 14 Pro Max lie in its camera technology. Its photo and video technology are ideal for casual users and professional photographers and videographers.
iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Upgrades
Apple has introduced the upgraded 48MP camera. The iPhone 14 Pro Max also has a new 12MP ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree view. It’s much sharper than previous iPhone iterations.
The handset has a new front-facing TrueDepth camera with an aperture that allows for improved light performance. It also uses autofocus. This upgrade is great for low-light settings and will help make group shots appear sharper.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max uses adaptive True Tone for a flash. Apple created the flash with nine LEDs that alter their arrangement to respond to focal length.
The new action mode adjusts to: vibrations, shaky hands, and motion so users can film professional high-action videos with minimal distractions.
The iPhone Pro Max also offers:
- • Night mode
- • Smart HDR4
- • Portrait mode with portrait lighting
- • Night mode portrait photos
- • ProRAW and ProRes
- • Several photographic styles
48MP Primary Camera
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has hardware upgrades supporting a 48MP primary camera, the first ever in an iPhone. This upgrade is huge. The previous iPhone used a 12MP lens.
The 48MP camera is the iPhone 14 Pro Max's primary camera. It uses a quad-pixel sensor and Photonic Engine.
Megapixels measure the detail a camera sensor can detect. When megapixels increase, so does the amount of detail the camera captures in a photo or video.
The new 48MP camera uses quad-pixel technology where 4 pixels are grouped with the same color filters. This structure multiplies the amount of image signal being captured by four times, compared to that of a single pixel.
This new technology is particularly beneficial for images you capture in low-light scenarios. It allows you to capture high sensitivity and light.
The tech also increases resolution and reduces the amount of noise in a low-light photo.
The results are a dramatic improvement for iPhone users shooting images at night. But it will also help photography in high-illuminate settings. It The 48MP camera will increase resolution and sharpen cropped images.
By clustering 4 pixels together for increased light, iPhone 14 Pro Max allows users to take stunning high-detail photos and store them at a 12MP size.
The new 48MP camera also uses Photonic Engine technology. This tech allows for Apple's previous Deep Fusion technology to begin earlier in the imaging process. Deep Fusion is similar to HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.
During HDR, the camera captures multiple images quickly at varying exposures, then blends them through software.
The software pulls the best elements from the multiple shots to create a final image with the optimum exposure and contrast levels. Ultimately, HDR provides a greater range between the darkest blacks and brightest whites.
With Deep Fusion, the process is similar. In addition to exposure and contrast, however, Apple works to improve elements like:
- • Detail
- • Sharpness
- • Color
The new Photonic Engine began this process earlier, to store more information from the image. Photonic engine technology helps users create images with vibrant colors and mind-blowing detail.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max integrates hardware and software to provide new upgrades to its cameras. Not only does the new technology improve low-light photos, but it also offers increased optical zoom.
Apple has increased the quality of low-light photos by 3x on the ultra-wide camera, 2x better on the main camera, and 2x better on the Telephoto camera.
Apple's new Adaptive TrueTone flash technology alters the pattern of 9 LEDs depending on the focal length between the camera and the subject.
This feature ensures that photos are always captured in the best lighting. The camera also has 1.4 µm pixels, allowing it to deliver sharper images than ever before.
The technology helps create sharp images regardless of the lighting scenario. It also allows for quality images after cropping.
The 12MP ultra-wide camera also provides a view of 120 degrees, so it can capture and store more information.
The ultra-wide camera limits the amount of noise in a photo.
48MP Primary Camera
The main camera has the most impressive upgrades. In addition to the 48MP camera technology, it also uses a 24mm f/1.78 lens.
Binning describes the process in which pixels are grouped to create sharper images. The main camera offers a 1.22µm pixel size before binning, and 2.44µm after binning.
Where a traditional DSLR camera generally performs worse in low-light scenarios, the iPhone 14 Pro Max camera increases its quality using the 48MP sensor.
The Telephoto camera offers an additional 2x zoom, increasing the zoom options to 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x.
Telephoto works in various modes:
- • Pano
- • Time lapse
- • Portrait
It uses quad-pixel technology to deliver high-resolution images. Telephoto is perfect for capturing portrait photos.
It also allows users to record 4K videos with no digital zoom. Cinematic mode records video in 4K at 30fps and 4K at 24fps.
The upgraded front-facing TrueDepth camera uses 3D sensors to capture face ID measurements. The technology is extremely smart and responds to changes in physical appearance.
Apple has pivoted to respond easier to face masks—an issue that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It works by projecting thousands of invisible dots on the face. The technology maps the features of the face to store accurate facial data. This process uses top-end security technology to mathematically, match up with the face and unlock the phone.
Additional features like Memoji and Animoji use the TrueDepth camera to record accurate facial expressions. The camera will also capture when users turn away, signaling the phone to dim to preserve power.
Users can also use this camera with Apple's portrait mode when they photograph from the front. This is the first time iPhone has had autofocus for selfies.
The biggest change Apple made to the TrueDepth camera is the addition of autofocus and increased aperture.
When it comes to photography, this upgraded camera technology allows for dramatic improvements to image quality and resolution. It is perfect for:
- • Selfies
- • Close ups
- • Group shots
ProRes and ProRAW Settings
The iPhone 14 Pro Max gives users the option to shoot using ProRes and ProRAW settings.
These options add additional creative control to the photography and videography process. It’s one of the many reasons professional photographers use the iPhone 14 Pro Max phone to shoot images.
ProRes and ProRAW are essentially professional formats that Apple created to maximize the amount of data stored in an image.
The new 48MP sensor technology makes these new options possible.
These features store additional data providing a wider range of options during the editing process. Essentially, it provides more flexibility when adjusting photo values like:
- • Highlights
- • Contrast
- • Balance
- • Exposure
You can switch on ProRes and ProRAW settings by changing the formats option in the camera menu under settings in the phone.
These options are ideal for those iPhone 14 users trying to mimic the use of a DSLR camera, or anyone who wants extra HDR capabilities for post-production. But it is not always user-friendly for everyday photography and video shoots.
To use ProRes, enable its toggle switch under the formats section of the camera menu listed under settings. ProRes records video footage up to 1080p at 30fps.
Once users switch on the toggle, they can select their preferred resolution and fps where "Record Video" is listed in the menu.
Users can then open up the camera, select video, and then click where it says ProRes. They can then record video as on any other iPhone, but it will store it as a ProRes file.
ProRes settings store each frame of video separately. This process allows users to isolate individual frames and decode them during the editing process.
It is one of the most sophisticated video editing tools, and compatible with all of the cameras on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with cinematic mode, time-lapse, or videos recorded in slo-mo mode.
By using the ProRes function, iPhone 14 Pro Max can compress a high-quality video into a small user-friendly format, while offering professional-grade editing processes.
ProRAW settings are enabled by toggling on the switch listed under formats in the camera menu under the iPhone settings. By changing the ProRAW resolution to 48MP, users can capture raw images without binning them down.
This option is ideal for those photographers who would prefer to shoot with a DSLR camera. It provides more creative control in the editing process.
ProRAW provides flexibility and the freedom to choose how photo values like balance, contrast, exposure, and color are edited, rather than having the iPhone do it for them.
This choice is ideal for anyone who would like more control over the editing process or plans to complete post-production using programs like Lightroom or Photos. Unfortunately, it does not work well in low-light scenarios.
ProRAW files take up a fair amount of space on a phone. Individual files users shoot in 48MP are roughly 75MB large. So, it is important to delete the raw images from the iPhone following the editing process.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max also offers Action Mode, which is built-in to its stock camera app.
Action Mode records footage up to 2.8K at 60 fps. It also allows for Dolby Vision HDR.
This mode allows users to capture professional-grade footage that adjusts to motion, vibrations, and shaky hands. This factor is true, even when the footage the handset captured is of quick action or motion.
Action Mode also works indoors or in low-light settings. To maximize its efficiency in such situations, users can toggle on Action Mode Lower Light under the Record Video section of the camera menu.
The smartphone optimizes low-light scenarios by decreasing the amount of stabilization to adjust to less brightness.
Super Retina XDR
The iPhone 14 Pro Max uses Apple's Super Retina XDR technology. Super Retina XDR is enhanced technology that follows Apple's previous Super Retina HD and Retina display.
These terms are essentially Apple lingo used to describe high pixel density and its impact on display panels in a smartphone. Here is a bit more background on retina display technology related to Apple.
Apple's History of High Pixel Density Technology
In 2010, Apple launched the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 was the first handset to use high pixel density technology. Apple coined the technological advancement as Retina display.
The technology impacts the clarity of a smartphone’s display panel. The advent of Apple's Retina display meant that users could not distinguish individual pixels displayed on a phone handset when they were using it at a standard operational distance.
The iPhone X marked the debut of Apple's Super Retina HD technology. At that time, Apple started to use OLED technology instead of the traditional LED standard. OLED used organic compounds to transmit light.
However, Apple's first OLED technology did not advance, and handsets prior to the iPhone 14 used LED technology.
iPhone 14 Pro Max's Super Retina XDR Display
The iPhone 14 Pro Max returns to OLED display with the new Super Retina XDR display.
The technology increases the brightness of a display by increasing HDR. The phone reaches 2000 nits outdoors, making it the highest peak brightness of any smartphone ever created—twice as bright as previous iPhones.
How Does This Tech Impact Photography and Videography?
Apple's Super Retina XDR display directly affects the photography and videography experience on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
You can view photos and HDR videos in up to 1600 nits. The videos and photography users shoot will look better than ever before. The increased HDR allows for more range between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.
Ultimately, photographers and videographers will be able to view and frame their shots with jaw-dropping detail and exceptional clarity.
Apple's ProMotion Display
The iPhone 14 Pro Max also offers Apple's ProMotion display.
ProMotion display allows the iPhone screen to refresh up to 120Hz, increasing the scrolling and video experience. It also goes as low as 10Hz depending on the content on the screen.
For example, the display ramps up to maximize the performance of intricate detailed graphics, but ramps down when that level of display is no longer needed.
ProMotion display helps preserve and extend the iPhone 14 Pro Max battery life.
How Does ProMotion Help Photographers and Videographers?
Using this feature helps users view videos with extreme precision and clarity. It also helps those users who want to edit footage on the go.
However, ProMotion prolongs the iPhone 14 Pro Max battery life. This is great news for anyone who is out for extended times shooting with their iPhone.
Photographers Love the iPhone 14 Max Pro
Ultimately the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers photography and videography technology that few smartphones and no other iPhones have ever offered before. With the right settings, this phone can shoot on par with a DSLR camera, with better light performance.
While the 48MP primary camera outperforms for low-lighting compared to previous iPhones by more than 60%, it seems to perform best using ProRAW settings.
While this setting is best suited to outdoor scenarios, it produces high-resolution images like never before. Images captured in this setting create files as high as 70-80MB large—that is unheard of for a phone.
ProRAW and ProRes features provide photographers and videographers with more control over the creative post-production process than any previous iPhone.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max's A16 bionic chip technology increases efficiency and prolongs the battery life of the phone to increase workflow.
The improved Telephoto camera uses Apple's quad-pixel technology to create flawless lighting in portrait mode. And the new Adaptive True Tone Flash technology changes the LED arrangement in response to the focal length.
The Super Retina XDR display allows creators to view and playback the files they capture with dynamic display and mind-blowing clarity.
It provides peak brightness outdoors that surpasses any other smartphone in history. This is the perfect phone for any photographer or videographer looking for professional-quality images and video.
Finding an Appropriate iPhone 14 Pro Max Case
The cost of an iPhone 14 Pro Max phone is roughly $1000 before factoring in a trade-in. When compared to the cost of a new camera, that may seem reasonable. But users will no doubt want to make sure to protect their new phone and its lenses.
It is important to find a phone case that has a built-in screen protector. It should be scratch resistant. This feature will minimize damage to the display so that users can view and edit what they shoot with ease.
Users should also consider wireless compatibility when the phone is inside the case, as this feature will impact the ease of saving and editing files. It prevents impacting workflow.
An appropriate iPhone case will also have precise cutouts for buttons and ports.
A reliable iPhone case should be drop-tested to protect camera lenses from shattering on impact if the user drops the handset accidentally.
The case should be easy to keep clean so fingerprints and smudges on the outside do not interfere with the quality of the images being photographed.
If possible, purchase a case with elevated bezels. This feature adds extra protection around the camera lenses to help them avoid contact with rough surfaces.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max Is a Photographer's Dream
For years, Apple users have complained about one feature on the beloved smartphone: the camera quality. The launch of the iPhone 14 Pro Max changed that situation.
Its groundbreaking features like the A16 bionic chip, a 48MP Camera that uses quad-pixel and Photonic Engine technology, the new Adaptive True Tone flash its Action Mode, and the highly anticipated Super Retina XDR display make this the ultimate phone for photographers and videographers alike. It’s picture-perfect.
You can protect your iPhone 14 Pro Max phone with one of these quality cases.
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