This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


It's been almost two weeks since the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro went on sale. The iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for pre-order in a few days, and we're wondering about the small size of the iPhone 12 mini and the camera performance of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, as well as its size and weight.

So many of you are still trying to decide which model to choose. In this article, we compare the camera performance of the iPhone 12, the most basic model in the range, to the iPhone 11 Pro, and help you decide whether you don't need the Pro if it can take such good photos, or whether you'd still want the Pro.

First up, let's try out the enhanced dark-field photography feature: the iPhone 12 doesn't have the LiDAR scanner that's found on the Pro series. However, the wide-angle camera has been brightened from the iPhone 11 Pro's f/1.8 to f/1.6, and "computational photography" is said to improve the results of photos.

Taken with the iPhone 12.
Taken with the iPhone 11 Pro.

This is a comparison of the night station building taken with both models with the night mode on. I think the iPhone 12 is clearer with a tighter color overall. As for the bank signboard on the upper left, the iPhone 12 looks much clearer than the iPhone 11 Pro when zoomed in.

Here's a photo I took with my iPhone 12 with night mode turned off. The photo is still good enough here.
Taken in night mode on the iPhone 12. Even in night mode, you can see the benefits of being more durable in the dark, with only 2 seconds where it would take 3 seconds on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. If the time required is shortened, the photos will be more shake-free and better.

The actual view is similar to that of a photo with night mode off. Night mode is also available on the iPhone 12 for the ultra-wide-angle camera and front-facing camera, which wasn't available on the iPhone 11, giving you a greater range of expression.

Taken with the iPhone 12 (night mode off)
Taken with the iPhone 12 (night mode on)

It's true that the iPhone 12 doesn't have a LiDAR scanner, but if you're not using it for landscapes and other scenes, the iPhone 12 should be enough.

On the other hand, the enhanced night shooting mode has not improved the "ghosting" effect, which is the reflection of the light source in the lens.

Ghosting is not limited to night photography, but it is much more likely to occur at night than during the day, and it is a shame that ghosting occurs at a higher frequency. It's a shame to have ghosting in your photos when you're trying to enjoy the iPhone 12's enhanced night photography.

Thanks to the ever-improving camera features, there are more and more opportunities to complete interviews and other work using only the iPhone. Depending on the subject, it may take better photos than using a mirrorless camera or DSLR. Apple's launch event and website also emphasize the camera feature, so I'd like to see a better anti-ghosting solution if that's the case.

Some people analyze that the iPhone and other smartphone cameras have eradicated the use of compact digital cameras, but if there are problems such as ghosting that did not occur in the case of compact digital cameras, it may have narrowed down the choices for users.

The iPhone 12's camera is noticeably flawed in some situations (a common flaw in the iPhone 12 series), but after using it in conjunction with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max for about two weeks, I still felt that the iPhone 12 was better for me if I was going to be taking a lot of photos in the dark and at night.

The LiDAR scanner can only be utilized with the rear camera, so it's not a must-have feature for people who use the front-facing camera a lot for selfies, or for people who don't have many opportunities to take pictures with the rear camera in close and severe focusing situations.

Unless you like new things, want to use a top-of-the-line model, or need to take telephoto shots with your phone, the iPhone 12 may be enough for you. You have the option of not choosing the iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max and allocating your budget to storage capacity. In fact, if you have small hands, you may be better off with the iPhone 12 mini to hold them securely.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the highest performing and the largest screen in the series, so it's heavy for that, and you won't realize how much it affects you when you put it in your pocket and carry it around with you at all times, unless you actually hold it in your hands. You should check it out before you buy it.


Related Articles:

How to choose the best iPhone 12 for you: Depends on whether you value the camera features

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro cameras that have defied expectations in a good way

What is the LiDAR Scanner only available on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max?


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.