Apple used all-new image sensors for the iPhone 13 Pro duo, with a noticeably larger sensor in the main camera. Especially for the smaller Pro, since the 12 Pro missed out on the upgrades that were exclusive to the 12 Pro Max.
Said upgrades have been transferred over to the vanilla versions for 2021, however, so even the iPhone 13 mini has a sensor with 1.7 µm pixels and sensor-shift stabilization.
The Pro Max is better at zooming, of course, it has a 2.5x telephoto lens to work with. However, the new Apple A15 chipset is better at processing video, more on that in a second.
The iPhone 13 mini was praised for its reliable exposure, good color rendering and consistent, accurate autofocus.
This is only a couple of points lower than the 13 Pro received, meaning it is one of the best phones for shooting video (the mini is tied with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra).
Moving on to the iPhone 13 Pro, its overall score of 137 currently places it in fourth place, behind the Huawei P50 Pro, Mi 11 Ultra and Mate 40 Pro+.
The performance is like the iPhone 12 Pro, though with a few notable improvements. Images have more detail, the new 3x lens offers more magnification than the 2.5x lens on the 2020 model, color and contrast have been improved in some tricky areas like backlit portraits.
The Zoom score improved (both for the ultra-wide and tele cameras), however, it just can’t compete at longer focal lengths with phones that are equipped with periscopes.
The iPhone 13 Pro is the second model from the top in Apple’s 2021 smartphone line-up. The main difference to the top-of-the-line iPhone 13 Pro Max is the smaller 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display (versus 6.7-inch on the Max).
However, both models are powered by Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chipset and come with up to 1TB of internal storage. They also share the same camera which has been improved in several areas compared to last year’s iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models.
The primary camera module features a larger sensor and faster aperture than on the 2020 models. It also uses sensor shift OIS which last year was exclusive to the Pro Max device.
The ultra-wide camera comes with a same-size sensor as last year but has gained a faster aperture and a PDAF autofocus versus the fixed-focus lens on the iPhone 12 series.
Sensor size remains unchanged in the tele module, but Apple has increased the focal length and the tele now offers a 3x optical magnification compared to the primary cam.
Key camera specifications:
- Primary: 12 MP sensor, 1.9µm pixels, 26 mm equivalent f/1.5-aperture lens, sensor-shift OIS, Dual Pixel AF
- Ultra-wide: 12MP sensor, 13mm equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF, 2cm macro
- Tele: 12 MP sensor, 77mm equivalent f/2.8-aperture lens, OIS
- 3D sensor
- 4K at 24/25/30/60 fps, 1080p at 25/30/60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision
- Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)
The videos have a very wide dynamic range, tone mapping instabilities of the previous generation are gone and autofocus has been improved.