iPhone 13: The Best iPhone Camera Yet?

Leighton Emmons

Wed Sep 22 2021

iPhone 13: The Best iPhone Camera Yet?

New year, new iPhone 13 model – as it always seems to be. Whether this is simply a marketing ploy by Apple to create everchanging versions of the same product to keep you buying, we can’t tell. But what we can do is try to breakdown how the new models size up to previous versions to know if purchasing the news ones is justified.

One specification we always like to pay close attention to, for obvious reasons, is the camera.

To try and determine whether the iPhone 13 is a sensible purchase for your photography needs, we’ll be breaking down how the iPhone 13 has been upgraded from its predecessor, and identifying where the real benefits lie.

Video, video, video upgrades…

iPhone 12 vs 13 infographic. iPhone 12 vs 13 infographic.

As you can tell, the dimensions, screen size and resolution between the 12 and 13 versions have been relatively untouched (it’s easy enough to mistake one model for the other as they’re virtually identical aesthetically). Similarly with its camera specifications, you’re getting just about the exact same features as well. A 12-megapixel camera on both the front and rear part of the camera with frame lens of 2.2.

While you might be asking yourself at this point – why not just get the iPhone 12? What does separate the iPhone 13 from the 12 most distinctively is in the software, video capture and video playback capabilities. You’ll find big upgrades in this department as the iPhone 13 is now equipped with HDR video recording up to 4k at 60FPS in addition to 120HZ adaptive refresh (for the Pro and Max versions). Thus, video capture appears to be Apple’s emphasis for upgrading the camera between the 12 and 13 versions.

As an extension of this, while the iPhone 13 is an improvement from the 12, you’re going to have to shell out the extra cash for the Pro and Max versions if you really want to see the biggest functional upgrades to the camera.

The Pro and Max versions of the iPhone 13 come with a 12-megapixel wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens with up to 3x zoom. This is also comparable to the iPhone 12 Pro and Max versions, though the 13 comes with enhanced zoom.

The iPhone 13 Pro + Max as a camera for professional photographers

As previously stated, if you aren’t shelling out the extra cash for the pro or max versions, the range of functionality in the camera is going to be limited – and you’re probably better off just getting the iPhone 12. But let’s presume you are willing to spend a little extra, here’s what you are you going to get:

  • Super-wide lens: If you’re the kind of photographer who needs super wide aperture, this new iPhone 13 Pro version packs a punch.
  • Improved night mode: If you enjoy shooting in either low light or at night, the improved night mode makes this camera phone model impressive.
  • Macro photography function: The iPhone 13 comes with a unique macro photography function that lets you shoot objects as close as 2 cm.
  • Cinematic mode: In cinematic mode, the camera dynamically holds focus on a single subject’s face as they move throughout a scene. As the subject gazes away from the camera, the focus shifts. You can easily lock focus or shift it away with the tap of a finger. Most impressively, the focus and depth isn’t engrained into the video clip, meaning you can still go back to edit the bokeh and focus points even after you’re done shooting.

In conclusion, the iPhone 13 Pro and Max versions are going to provide more marginal benefit to videographers than they will photographers. Having said that, we don’t want to knock the quality of a 12-megapixel camera – this can go a long way. But, if you’re not willing to pay the extra cost for the Pro or Max version, the camera quality in the iPhone 13 is just as good as that of the iPhone 12, so you might be better off saving a few dollars by going with the ‘older’ version.

Written by Leighton Emmons.

All featured images all by Martin Sanchez

To read more helpful articles on photography, check out our blog page.

Join our growing photographer community at LightRocket and get powerful archive management and website building tools for free!

Previous Post

What qualifications do you need to be a professional photographer?

What qualifications do you need to be a professional photographer?

Thu Sep 23 2021

Join LightRocket

Join LightRocket

Sign up with a free Launchpad account to join our community, create your own portfolio website, get 5GB of secure storage and more!





File Organisation

File Delivery


Storage & Security


LightRocket logo

An all-in-one platform for managing your photos, creating beautiful websites, and safely storing your photos online.

Visit LightRocket's Facebook page
Visit LightRocket's Twitter page
Visit LightRocket's LinkedIn page
Visit LightRocket's Instagram page