iPhone 7 Plus

It's incredible the amount of resolution available by using the simple Panoramic feature on iOS. Take a look at this photo on top of Table Mountain. To do this with my A7Rii, I would need to work on some pretty heavy stitching in post. Obviously, I would gain even more resolution, but for online delivery you wouldn't be able to notice the difference.

It's fascinating to see how the iPhone has quickly become the go-to camera for millions of people around the world. We've always been a bit dubious about being able to use it for client work, but for the first time ever it seems that the iPhone 7 Plus could potentially become another option in our arsenal of tools.

And sometimes, isn't the camera you always have in your pocket the best one to capture stories?

We'll be updating this post with more iPhone photos over the next week. Keep checking for more.

Taken at the Kirtenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. The dynamic range I captured in this image is pretty great, considering it was taken with the iPhone Camera app, and not the RAW options.

This is not an official review – more of a collection of thoughts from using the iPhone 7 Plus camera now that the Portrait mode has been ignited to the public through the latest iOS update. Granted, the Portrait mode is still in Beta, so things are bound to improve, but I'm highly impressed by the quality of the results already.

So our first initial thoughts:

Using the new Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus camera. It really creates a much more cinematic and engaging portrait easily, and it's pretty stunning to realize this is taken with just a camera phone.

Another example of a portrait taken in South Africa using the new Portrait mode of the iPhone 7 Plus. Worked really well here.

  • You need a lot more light. Not only the Portrait mode will always use the telephoto lens of the iPhone 7 Plus, this lens is also f2.8 which allows way less light to come in.
  • I think the algorithm right now is tailored to having people look straight into the camera. It possibly does some kind of facial recognition when someone is looking at the camera.
  • That said, it also can create some interesting results when taking photos of objects, or people sideways. But it's more random. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it works "good enough", even though if you pixel peep you'll clearly notice some edge artifacts between the background and the foreground subject.
  • When it works, it looks pretty stunning. The bokeh is not as good as using a professional lens by any means, but that's to be expected. To be honest, the vast majority of the population wouldn't be able to notice the difference unless seeing the two images side by side. That's the nature of the current state of photography.

Using the Portrait mode to take a photo of an object, shows the limitations of the iPhone camera compared to a standard professional SLR. It looks great and sharp at first look, with a nice bokeh effect on the table, but take a closer look at the sunglasses. Look at the edge of the sunglasses and you'll see where it bleeds with the laptop. Hopefully the Portrait mode, since it's still in Beta, will improve in future updates.

Another example of the Portrait mode being used with objects. Notice how the bottle edge bleeds a bit with the background towards the top. Otherwise it looks pretty good.

We could definitely see ourselves using the iPhone 7 Plus, portrait or not, more and more in future shoots. When most of the images we create are for online delivery, the resolution of the iPhone is already large enough for this purpose. Of course, for print or larger-format distribution, we'd need to use our standard professional equipment, but I don't think mixing some of the iPhone photos with professional equipment would create a problem for clients.

For travel photography for example, the iPhone could be particularly useful. Nature, landscapes, could all be captured pretty stunningly with this new camera on the iPhone 7 Plus. And it's great to have the new Portrait mode, for more specific usage scenarios, which as long as we are conscious about how we utilize it we can still get pretty amazing results.

Like we always say, it's the story that matters – the image, the moment, the capture. The tool is the least important thing, as long as we convey the meaning and emotion of the moment, and we make our clients happy. And that's the beauty of having the iPhone always in a pocket, with the professional gear nearby.

And finally another standard iPhone 7 Plus shot. So sharp. Love that I can do these kind of shots easily and quickly.

Using the iPhone 7 Plus Portrait mode again, look how remarkable we can create a much more moody photo. The fact that we can use the phone to create these tones in photography is simply mind-blowing.

More Portrait love shooting some close up beer tastings.

Sunset scene captured using the telephoto lens of the iPhone 7 Plus in the waterfront of Cape Town.