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Apple iPhone 15 Pro brings pro portrait features to smartphones

Apple unveiled the latest iPhones this week and the new iPhone 15 Pro models offer some compelling features for portrait and volume photographers. While it’s unlikely any volume photographer will be swapping out their fleet of Canons or Sonys for iPhones, the new hardware does provide some interesting capabilities worth noting.

Apple demoed the iPhone 15 Pro in a studio setting

The new iPhone 15 Pro series - available in 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max - includes three individual camera modules, including a

wide-angle main camera, the super-wide camera, and a 120mm equivalent 5x zoom lens. The new enhanced Portrait Mode uses computational photography to automatically detect if there’s a person or an animal in the frame, capturing the depth map of the scene using the LIDAR sensor. As a result, photographers can add simulated blur in post-production or choose what object in the scene should actually appear in focus.

The iPhone 15 Pro zoom lens is relatively paltry, at an equivalent of a 120mm lens, but it maintains a f/2.8 maximum aperture all along. Combined with an improved optical stabilization system, this should make the telephoto lens usable in practical situations.

The main camera gives users a new 24MP super-high-resolution default. An additional 2x Telephoto option gives users three optical-quality zoom levels — 0.5x, 1x, 2x — for the first time on an iPhone dual-camera system.

From a workflow standpoint, the change to a USB-C connection opens a whole host of new accessories, coupled with faster transfer speeds over the optional USB 3 cable. iPhone photographers can now use workflow solutions like Capture One to shoot and instantly transfer 48MP ProRAW images from an iPhone to a Mac. The high-quality ProRes video can be recorded directly to external storage, enabling recording options up to 4K at 60 fps.

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