Is the iPhone 12 Cameras for Videography?
Hey guys, how are you all doing? Really? That’s just great. You know, I’m doing pretty great today too, because the iPhone 12 is official. It’s been announced and yes, these are still the dummy models I’ve had for a while but they’ll help me illustrate my point. So all of the new features are really fricking cool but every reviewer and their hamster is talking about that stuff. We’re gonna talk today about the camera systems for two reasons. One, it’s important to me, I’m a video and photo guy, right? So I pay attention to those features a lot, but two, I think it’s fair to say the camera is the killer feature. Everybody, mostly everybody pays attention to the camera when they’re looking for a new phone. So let’s talk about that today. And we’ll explore some other avenues.
You know, I use a Blackmagic rig to shoot but how much closer is this new phone getting to be a replacement for it? So we’ll take a look at that too. But then I’m gonna give you a little sneak peek as to what I’m planning next because I want to take my current 11 Pro and pit it against the iPhone 12 Pro. And then when the 12 Pro Max comes out I wanna put those side by side, just the camera systems. There’s a lot of great features, but I just wanna pit the camera systems against each other. So that’ll be coming in the future whenever I can get my hands on the models. (whooshing) Okay. So features, what do we get? We have Dolby Vision, 10bit HDR, more optical zoom a LiDAR sensor, ProRAW, whichI’m pretty excited about. And probably what I’m most excited about is the sensor-shift optical image stabilization. So those are the features we’ll take a look at. Now, keep in mind, some of these features are exclusive to the 12 Pro Max. So that’s the one I’m thinking of getting, but the 12 Pro still has plenty of features, and the regular 12 has even fewer features but it’s cheaper. So you get what you pay for. So the first question, is it acceptable to use an iPhone for pro work? Absolutely. I know some people diss it, but people have been doing it for a long time. And in fact, people are doing it even more now during COVID. You can turn the iPhone into almost anything, and it has a great camera system built-in. So it absolutely can work for pro work. And if you need a great example, yes, of course, Apple’s gonna use other equipment with an iPhone to shoot with it.
I mean, I would too but they released this film called “Vertical Cinema,” something like that. I don’t exactly remember but it was all shot on the iPhone and it was really good. So if you need some examples of cool stuff shot on iPhone, go check that out. Or if you have a lot of time on your plate, there’s this five-hour video shot on iPhone. Anyone who says you can’t an iPhone for pro work, frankly, I think they’re wrong because it comes down to the skills. It’s not the tools, its the person using the tools. In fact, one of the things the iPhone has done is its liberated people. You know, people aren’t tied down to big, expensive, heavy rigs. You know, you can do so much, especially as a beginner filmmaker or photographer with the iPhone. So Apple has liberated people from being stuck in those traps of expensive gear and it sets the bar even higher, not just for other smartphones to build better camera systems into their phones but it also kind of builds some competition in the actual camera space. We may see prices come down. We may see more features come out, you know, just so that stuff can compete with an iPhone. Because these camera systems are getting pretty sophisticated. And let’s be honest, Apple has a ginormous influence on the industry. They took the headphone jack off the iPhone. Many people ridiculed them, but guess what? Pretty much every other phone following that doesn’t have a headphone jack on it now. So influence. Or as Phil Schiller says – Courage. – Now would I replace my Blackmagic rig with an iPhone 12 Pro Max? Well, I haven’t tested the 12 Pro Max yet. Again, this is just a piece of plastic, but odds are no. My Blackmagic rig does a lot of things that an iPhone can’t do very easily especially out of the box. However, I absolutely see myself using an iPhone 12 Pro Max as a, like a quick at the moment, kind of B roll camera. Like if I’m doing something and I don’t have my rig with me and maybe I want to capture it quickly, you know, I’ll use my iPhone 11 Pro no problem. So I would use it not in lieu of my Blackmagic rig but as a complement to my Blackmagic rig. But here’s where things get interesting.
Can the iPhone 12 ProMax do things on paper that my Blackmagic can’t do? Yeah. Two of them being DolbyVision HDR, HDR in general, and sensor-shift optical image stabilization. I love my Blackmagic rig but it does not have any capabilities built-in. nor does it have any kind of stabilization built-in. So let’s talk about Dolby Vision for a while, ’cause that’s kind of a big deal. It’s in the iPhone 12sacross the whole line and it’s been around. You know, Dolby Vision isn’t anything new but it’s resurging because again, Apple influences. It’s now in the iPhone 12 line all the way from the Mini to the ProMax and you can shoot, view, and edit 10 bitHDR Dolby Vision footage all on the phone. There’s no other phone that can do that. So that’s pretty insane. And we’re gonna see that roll out into more devices. Everything’s going to be getting these HDR displays and it’s gonna spread like wildfire. Trust me, it’s coming. So what’s with all this dynamic range stuff? So going from 8-bit to 10-bit but essentially gives you more luminance values per color channel, which means it can have more smooth gradients and better-looking color. You go from 256 values per each channel to 1,024. So you get a lot more color. And that’s 10-bit, high dynamic range or HDR10. That’s a standard, but Dolby Vision is built on top of that standard, and Dolby Vision is a kind of like dynamic, dynamic range. This is a general synopsis, by the way, I’m not gonna go too down the rabbit hole. Dolby Vision video contains instructions on how the picture should look. So if there are different objects moving through the scene, or as the scene changes, the dynamic range can adjust to make the picture look as best as it can.
Whereas HDR10 is more fixed and not as dynamic as Dolby Vision. And you can edit this stuff, not just shoot it on your phone, but edit it on your phone in the Photos app and in iMovie. And later you’re gonna be able to edit this stuff directly in Final Cut Pro on your Mac. This is gonna be interesting because to the best of my knowledge, the only display Apple sells that could actually let you view this stuff is the Pro Display XDR. There’s no laptop or iMac that can do that, but I’m sure that’ll be changing in the not too distant future. So those features sound amazing. And on paper, you know, my Blackmagic can’t even do that stuff. But the main sticking point for me is, well, the sensor is still tiny. The optics are still tiny. You can’t get the same type of optical effects you can with the lenses of a regular camera. You can’t get as much depth of field and low-light performance as you can with a regular camera because those cameras have much bigger sensors and these are small, but again, there are trade-offs. This fits in your fricking pocket. That’s pretty phenomenal. Because I’ve looked at computational photography and it’s come a long way but you’ll still sometimes see splotchiness as it tries to remove noise and stuff like that. And I’m not a huge fan of that, but it is getting better. So with every year, new iPhones come out, like this stuff is getting closer to being suitable replacements for actual camera rigs, like the Blackmagic I’m using. But regarding that progression and sensor size, the Pro Max has a bigger sensor in the wide camera. It’s 47% bigger than the other sensors. So the pixels are now 1.7 microns big. And again, the overall sensors bigger because of that. And you can get about 87%better low light performance because you have that bigger sensor. And that’s an exclusive feature that’s in the Pro Max that’s not in the other models of the iPhone 12. And here’s another cool thing, LiDAR.
So in the iPhone 12 Pro and the Pro Max, you have that LiDAR scanner which can help you with augmented reality experiences depending on what software you use. Now, LIDAR can do things like help the camera auto-focus in the dark because it can see in the dark. So your auto-focus speed can improve. But I’m very curious to see how other apps let you layer things in real-time especially with video. Because if you’re looking at all this depth data, the image of the room, the environment can be on the phone and you can move layers behind people and do all this cool stuff. And I’m wondering, maybe through a third-party solution or maybe built-in in the future if we can have a super realistic and super accurate simulated depth of field. So you know how you have portrait mode if you take a picture and you can blur out the background for a photo, imagine being able to do that for a video. And I know there are other people working on this, but it’s not perfect yet. And I wonder if the LIDAR scanner can help us get there more. Maybe Apple hasn’t built in that software feature yet because they’re still trying to master it and make it a little more perfect before they do so. So LIDAR opens up a lot of possibilities for video and this next one, which I was not expecting, Apple ProRAW. So when you shoot a photo on your phone, the image signal processor is doing a crap ton of operations especially with deep fusion make it look great. Because again, small lenses, small apertures small sensors, the picture may be that great but with deep fusion and the chips inside, all the cameras can work together at once with the brain and just combine the exposures and reduce noise and the picture you’re looking at is immensely post-processed when you take a photo. And I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever shot RAW photo on an iPhone with an app like Lightroom, it’s usually very noisy because none of the computational photography stuff is taking place. Apple is introducing ProRAW. What it does is it offers you the flexibility of RAW, but with the benefits of Apple’s computational photography. I think I’m gonna be shooting on my iPhone more with photos if I can have all that data to work with. That’s incredible. And if you’re not sure exactly what RAW photos are, I did do a separate video a long time ago about the subject, comparing them to JPEGs.
Definitely check that out. But in short, a raw photo just gives you a lot more data to work with. So if you wanna bring down exposures or pump-up shadows you can do that without the photo looking like crap because there’s no compression or post-processing happening. So that’s gonna be cool to see on the iPhone. So back to sensor-shift quickly, that’s a pretty cool feature. Again, it’s in the wide lens on the Pro Max. So currently the lenses move inside the cameras to help you stabilize your video. And it actually works pretty freaking well on the 11 Pro. But for even better and morefine cinematic stabilization, what they do know is they have the sensor move which can be moved a lot more finely than the lenses because it less heavy, it’s less big. So the sensor moves to help stabilize the image. So coming up in future episodes, I wanna do two camera comparison to the 11 Pro. Again, the 12 Pro versus the 11 Pro and the 12 Pro Max versus the 11 Pro. But in the end, I’m probably gonna stick with the Pro Max just because it has more features in the camera system. It’s probably gonna win me over. So what are some of thosefeatures, just to sum up? (whooshing) The 12 Pro Max exclusive features are the larger sensor in the wide camera with that better low light performance. Sensor-shift optical image stabilization in the wide camera. And you get a lot more optical zoom range from the widest to the tightest lens, it’s a 5x optical zoom range compared to the 4x. The iPhone 12, however, now we’re getting away from the Pro lines, doesn’t have night mode portraits no ProRAW, even though it’s the same A14 processor, I’m not sure why it can’t handle ProRAW. It’s probably just a software feature lockout. So Apple gives you another reason to upgrade to the more expensive phone, but that aside, there’s also no LIDAR scanner no sensor-shift optical image stabilization, no larger sensor, only 2x optical zoom range but it still has Dolby Vision but it’s at 30 FPS, not 60 FPS. So if you think you’re gonna use camera features, video, and photo more seriously on the iPhone, do not get the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 mini, get the iPhone 12 Pro.
And do I dare say, go for the 12 Pro Max that’s going to give you a huge bang for your buck because you get those extra camera features, plus, you know, a slightly bigger screen, longer-lasting battery too? So I say, go for the 12 Pro Max because that’s the one that’s gonna win me over. I can already see it happening. What’s your favorite finish, by the way? I think the Pacific blue is just, noice. So I have a lot of other cool episodes coming but definitely stay tuned for the two part-er where I do those camera comparisons with the 12s and the 11 Pro. That’s gonna be a lot of fun. And we’ll also see how much closer these phones are to replacing other cameras, like my Blackmagic. I might be surprised and you might too. It’s gonna be cool. Let me know what you think about the new iPhones. Let me know what model you think you’re gonna get. And I can’t wait to read all those comments. Just drop them down below and, hey, if you like this episode you know what to do. And if you wanna help fund the future of the Computer Clan plus get some awesome perks along the way, feel free to pledge to us on Patreon. Thank you in advance for your support. In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me. Catch the crazy and pass it on. (upbeat music) (logo dings)