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Apple Ups Its Pro Camera, Video Production Appeal with Launch of iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

(Image credit: Apple)


CUPERTINO, Calif.—Newsrooms and video producers who have long used smartphones to capture video, will be taking a close look at Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, which feature all-new camera hardware and a variety of new photo and video capabilities. 

The phones, which were announced by Apple on September 14 and start shipping on September 24, feature a new pro camera system that Apple is calling “its biggest advancement ever with new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras that capture stunning photos and video, powered by the unmatched performance of A15 Bionic, more powerful than the leading competition.”

The phones are also the first smartphones to offer up to 1TB of internal storage, making them more appealing for video shooting, improved processing power with the A15 Bionic chip, larger sensors with 1.9 µm pixels, and great low light capabilities with up to 2.2x better low-light performance with the new Wide camera. 

Video takes a huge leap forward with Cinematic mode for beautiful depth-of-field transitions, macro video, Time-lapse and Slo-mo, and even better low-light performance, Apple announced. 

Both models also offer end-to-end pro workflows in Dolby Vision, and for the first time, ProRes, only available on iPhone. 

Apple says these new iPhones are the only smartphones in the world to provide an end-to-end workflow — capture, edit, and share in Dolby Vision or ProRes.

“iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max make up our most pro iPhone lineup ever with the biggest advancement for our camera system, the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and the fastest performance of any smartphone, setting a new standard for iPhone and enabling incredible experiences never before possible,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new pro camera system offers even more pro photography capabilities like improved telephoto zoom, macro photography, Photographic Styles, Cinematic mode, as well as ProRes and Dolby Vision video. The Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion is our best display ever; it intelligently responds to the content on your screen, offers fantastic graphics performance, and is perfect for any viewing experience.”

Notable other features include: 

  • New sensors and lenses for all three rear cameras, optimized to work seamlessly with iOS 15 and powered by the new image signal processor (ISP) in A15 Bionic for improved noise reduction and tone mapping.
  • The all-new Wide camera has a larger sensor with 1.9 µm pixels, the largest ever on iPhone, for less noise and faster shutter speeds needed across lighting conditions, producing even more detailed photos.
  • Coupled with the wider ƒ/1.5 aperture, the Wide camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offers a massive improvement in low-light situations, up to 2.2x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro, and nearly 1.5x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro Max.
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) — unique to iPhone — is available on both models, stabilizing the sensor instead of the lens, so images are smooth and video is steady, even when the user is not, Apple said.
  • With a 77 mm focal length, the Telephoto camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max lets users get even closer to their subjects for portraits and video.
  • A faster Neural Engine in A15 Bionic, new ISP, and advancements in computational photography powers the all-new camera features on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
  • Following extensive study of cinematography and the powerful use of rack focus, Cinematic mode on iPhone records videos of people, pets, and objects with a beautiful depth of field effect with automatic focus changes, giving the images a cinematic look.
  • For creative control, the focus can be changed during and after capture, and users can also adjust the level of bokeh in the Photos app and iMovie for iOS, and coming soon to iMovie for macOS and Final Cut Pro. This makes them the only devices able to edit the depth-of-field effect in video even after recording. Enabled by A15 Bionic and advanced machine learning algorithms, Cinematic mode records in Dolby Vision HDR.
  • iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also introduce ProRes, an advanced video codec used widely as the final delivery format for commercials, feature films, and broadcasts, to offer higher color fidelity and less compression, This powerful new pro workflow is enabled by the new camera hardware, advanced video encoders and decoders in A15 Bionic, and flash storage pipeline. iPhone is the only smartphone in the world to provide an end-to-end workflow — capture, edit, and share in Dolby Vision or ProRes.
  • Cinematic mode gives users the ability to add beautiful focus transitions and background bokeh in video, for more dynamic storytelling in creative projects and treasured memories.

More information on pricing, models and other features are available here.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.