Apple iPhone 8 Camera Review

 
 

The new iPhone 8+ camera is great. I have never been as impressed with mobile photography as I have with this phone. 

To be a top premium mobile camera there is as much a need for computational power as there is a requirement for a good lens and sensor. When I take photos with the new iPhone 8+ I am able to edit, add effects, and share, all within the Photos app. This is all due to the hardware and software that Apple makes. I think this excellence in pairing is why Apple is always the standard for mobile photography. You can't read a review of an Android phone without a comparison to Apple's iPhone. 

This page might take a while to load, so many photos so little bandwidth. I wanted to use full size images and the GIFs are pretty large as well. 

I was fortunate to grab an iPhone 8+ on the release day. After I set it up I drove out for a weekend in the mountains. I usually bring a a couple film cameras and just meander and shoot what looks nice. On this trip I was eager to see what my new phone would do. 

 
 

One feature that many are talking about is the Portrait mode. You can select what appears to be live filters to change the type of lighting in the photo. Apple says they are not filters, and I don't care to be pedantic. None the less, you can see in real time and switch between these lighting modes. You can preview what it looks like before you press the shutter button. This is rather cool. As I didn't have any friends with me I had to makes some. Here is my chipmink model as a regular photo and with Portrait Mode - Natural Light effect.  All of the editing was either in the Apple Photos app on the phone or in the Apple Photos app on my MacBook. I didn't use any third party apps.  The new Photos app on MacOS had some huge updates. Well worth checking out. 

The final image on the right has the editing applied and the image on the left has no editing applied. 

Portrait mode makes me want to make friends so I can take their picture. 

I typically shoot one focal length, 50mm. Many photographers see 50mm as a natural lens and things appear similar through the camera lens as they do through our own eyes. Where wide angles can distort images and flatten them, long telephoto lenses can compresses scenes unnaturally. I used the tele lens on the iPhone the most. Sure, there are some photographers that would only shot the wide angle lens which is approximately 28mm. And good for them. Really. We should shoot how we feel, and how we feel is best for getting a nice photo. Seeing how much I used the 50mm tele lens made me realize I probably will order the new iPhone X. One of the key differences besides the screen is the tele lens has a wider aperture and is image stabilized. This is good. 

Here is a scene with the wide angle and the same scene with the tele lens. Choose your own adventure. 

The phone itself is nice. I don't understand why people are so critical. Some very popular news blogs are upset that it was called the iPhone 8 and not the iPhone 7s. wow. Another often criticized item is the price. I bought the iPhone 7+ 256 GB last year and I bought the iPhone 8+ 256 GB this year. Guess which one cost me more money? Thats right, the 7+.  The price went down for me. This could be due to our currency exchange up here in Canada. Whenever I read someone complaining about the price they are comparing different storage sizes. But enough about whiney people. Lets talk more about the camera.

 

How good is the camera though? How much detail can you see? Well, turns out I have some comparison shots. Below is the iPhone 8+ on the left and a Leica S digital camera on the right. 

Clearly, an unfair comparison. I am really surprised that it didn't do more poorly though. So you may not be able to crop and adjust every pixel as nicely as a multiple thousand dollar digital camera. As I write this I am curious, will the differences appear as large as they really are when viewed on a mobile phone. Phones have such small screens... This begs the question - Why do we use huge expensive digital cameras when all we do is view them on tiny little screens? 

That was a rhetorical question to make us think. Please don't write me to tell me I am dumb. 

 

There are a few other effects available to use. When you use them it crops the image slightly and some of the detail will be missing. This is probably due to the wind moving trees, or my arms just not being as stable as a tripod.  

 

Loop - this uh loops the photo into a GIF. Really, this is so cool. I cant believe how well it turned out. 

 
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Bounce makes the image move back and forth.

 
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Long Exposure creates the effect as if you kept the exposure for a long time. I am horrible at explaining things. Basically anything that moves becomes blurred. In this image the wind was a bit breezy and you can see the loss detail in the trees as they moved.

 
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Buying advice? Not sure I am qualified to give any as I am crazy enough to have bought this one while I had the 7+.