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The newest pack of iPhones hit the market with an array of new features, including improved cameras with super-wide and wide-angle lenses and an f/1.6 aperture for a focal length of 26 mm. The iPhone Pro and Pro Max have a three-lens camera system with a 77 mm telephoto lens, a 26 mm wide lens, and a 13 mm ultra-wide lens.
Learn more about the new features and capabilities of the iPhone 13 and why they matter.
Focal length is typically represented in millimeters and describes a photographic lens. It’s not a measurement of the lens itself but a calculation of the distance from the point where the light rays converge to form an image to the digital sensor at the focal plane of the camera.
The focal length shows the angle of view, or how much of the subject can be captured, and the magnification, or how big the individual elements can be. The longer the focal length (70 mm), the narrower the view and the higher the magnification. Conversely, the shorter the focal length (28 mm), the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification.
Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, and zoom lenses have variable focal lengths. Focal length impacts the composition and quality of a photograph in many ways:
Crop sensor cameras, such as those in smartphones, have smaller sensors and smaller lenses. Their focal length can seem far off from that of a full-frame camera, but they’re equivalent. For example, a full-frame camera may have a prime lens with a focal length of 50 mm, which is roughly the same as the human eye’s field of view. The equivalent on a crop sensor camera is 35 mm.
Telephoto lenses are around 70 mm focal length, which is roughly 45 mm on a crop sensor camera. For a wide-angle lens, the focal length is around 28 mm or shorter, which is about 18 mm on a crop sensor camera.
The iPhone has a focal length of 26 mm, while the iPhone Pro and Pro Max have a three-lens camera system with a 77 mm telephoto lens, a 26 mm wide lens, and a 13 mm ultra-wide lens. These are the full-camera equivalents, not the true focal length of the crop sensor camera.
2022 brought two new editions of the iPhone: the iPhone 13 and the third edition of the iPhone SE. The 13 comes in several models: the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Along with the lenses, Apple added new sensors in the 13 model, though they’re 12 megapixels in resolution like the iPhone 12. It also comes with additional photography features, including sensor-shift optical image stabilization, Picture Styles for stills, Cinematic Mode for video, and the new A15 Bionic chip for improved speed.
Several new specifications expand on the previous generation as well, including Night Mode, Portrait Mode, and 4K video recording capabilities.
We’ve all seen the spectacular “Shot on iPhone” ads that showcase what the average person can accomplish with the smartphone’s camera and video features, including the iPhone 13’s three-camera system. Thanks to this technology, everyone from amateurs to professional photographers can use their iPhones to create polished, portfolio-quality images and videos.
Featured Image Credit: TheRegisti, Unsplash
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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