Differences in photos taken by the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max — 2022
The big question that many users are asking after the launch of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is, is it worth changing from the iPhone 12 Pro Max to the iPhone 13 Pro Max for its cameras? Well, in this post we are going to put one in front of the other and compare the results that these two devices are capable of providing so that you are the one who decides whether or not it is worth it and if there has been a great evolution of a generation to another.
What difference is there in the cameras?
Before going fully into comparing the images that both the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro Max have captured, let's go with the differences that exist on paper, that is, the technical specifications of both cameras and that, in theory, they must be translated into results once we put them in front of each other.
Improvement in the lenses of the iPhone 13 Pro Max
The first thing you can see is that both devices have the same number of lenses , one in the part frontal Y three in the rear camera module . Inside this camera module you can find a lens telephoto, a lens wide angle and a lens ultra wide angle . These last three have been subject to change from one generation to another, in fact if you compare them aesthetically it is already obvious that the lenses of the iPhone 13 Pro Max are considerably larger, since their opening has improved significantly, except in the telephoto.
Also, if we talk about telephoto, in it iPhone 13 Pro Max you enjoy a lens 77mm equivalent , now being a x3 instead of x2,5 which has the iPhone 12 Pro Max . This has made the aperture on the iPhone 13 Pro Max f/2.8 while on the iPhone 12 Pro Max it is f/2.2. In this case, brightness has been sacrificed to have a greater optical zoom.
As for the lens wide angle, which is the main and brightest of all, the differences we find are really small. In the iPhone 13 Pro Max the opening becomes f/1.5 by f/1.6 that the iPhone 12 Pro Max has, which already had a really wonderful wide-angle lens and now, with version 13, Apple has added a little more luminosity to this lens.
Finally we go with the lens that has undergone the most changes, and for the better, it is the ultra wide angle . In the iPhone 12 Pro Max it has an opening of f/2.4 , while the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a f/1.8 , which is a pretty significant improvement in how much light this lens is going to let in and how much brightness and detail users will gain when using this camera in conditions where the light is starting to get dim.
Another detail that must be commented is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has an improved HDR, which Apple has called HDR 4 , while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has HDR 3. In the rest of the features, both devices have the same features such as Depp Fusion, Apple ProRAW, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh effect and depth control and a long list of fantastic features.
The photographic styles arrive
Another big difference between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the photographic styles. If we seek to define them in a quick and vulgar way, we can say that they are filters that you can establish to take one type of photograph or another, although there is really much more behind this new functionality that Apple has introduced. First of all we leave you what are the available styles.
These five photographic styles respond to the different styles that most photographers have when it comes to post-editing their captures. However, Apple has not done it in any way, that is, its operation is not to apply a series of values in a general way to the entire photograph so that it has tones marked by the style, but rather it does so in a intelligent. So much so that skin tones will never be affected by choosing one style or another, and the same goes for the color of the sky.
Therefore, if you are one of those people who prefer a colder, warmer, brighter type of photography or one with a more marked contrast, you can select one of these styles and take all your photographs with it. In addition, the way to apply it or rather, select it is very simple, you can do it from the iPhone camera app , or in the camera app settings .
Once you know what the differences are in terms of technical specifications that exist between the cameras of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it is time to check if these differences translate into unequal results on the part of both devices. In addition, you should know that in order to offer you a faster loading speed for this page, we have had to compress all the photographs shown in the following sections. In any case, all of them have the same compression percentage so that the least possible quality is lost and the differences can be clearly seen.
As we have mentioned before, the telephoto lens has undergone a variation in its focal length, going from x2.5 on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, to x3 on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This makes images look closer. However, this has also made the lens aperture f/2.8 on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, while it's f/2.2 on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Let's see the results.
As you can see, in good light conditions, the change in aperture is not appreciable, so in that aspect the user will not have to worry about that loss. However, what is clearly appreciated is the change in the focal length, especially in the image of the church where this considerable increase is evident.
Wide Angle Lens
This is the main lens of both devices, the one that is used the most and we can also affirm without fear of being wrong that the one that offers the most optimal results, the images that it is capable of capturing being of fantastic quality. As we said, in this case the difference between the wide-angle lens of one device and another is minimal, the opening of the iPhone 13 Pro Max being f / 1.5 while that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is f / 1.6.
That little difference at the level of specifications is clearly reflected in the photographic results of the images you have just seen. Really, if we told you that they are the same photograph, you would believe it because they are two images with identical results, that is, identical but of fantastic quality.
Ultra Wide Angle Lens
The ultra wide angle lens is, without a doubt, the one that most users enjoy the most thanks to the very different results that it is capable of generating. In good light conditions, since the iPhone 11 Pro Max included it, the rear module has always given very good results. Now, it has also improved remarkably in the aperture, going from f/2.4 to f/1.8, but it will be necessary to check if this improvement in the aperture translates into better results in good lighting conditions.
As you have been able to verify, the reality is that despite the fact that there is a considerable difference in aperture, in daytime conditions, with enough sunlight, the results are, again, traced and both devices offer very high quality photographs. Personally, it is my favorite lens and, without a doubt, the one I enjoy the most when I leave the house to take pictures.
Fortunately for all iPhone users, this one has one of the best selfies on the market, if not the best, and surely Apple has thought that if something works so well, it is better not to touch it. What we can expect are two traced images since, in terms of technical differences, both devices have the same camera, same aperture, although in the case of the iPhone 13 Pro Max it has HDR 4, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max with HDR 3.
As we expected, we would have two practically identical images again if it weren't for the model. It is true that the red tone of the sweatshirt may vary slightly, but in any case, the difference between the two photographs is practically non-existent, offering a very high quality selfie to all users of these two devices.
And if until now we had not appreciated differences between the two devices, there comes a point where we will obviously find differences, and it is time to talk about macro photography. The main and very important difference is that with the iPhone 12 Pro Max users do not have the possibility of taking this type of photography, while with the iPhone 13 Pro Max they do, and the results speak for themselves.
To take this type of photography there is no macro mode as such that users can select, but as you get closer to an object with your iPhone's camera, given a limited distance, it will automatically switch to macro mode and pass to use the ultra wide angle lens for it. This is one of the points where the difference in aperture in the ultra wide-angle lens translates into new functionality, despite the fact that in good light conditions photography with this lens does not differ much from that obtained with the iPhone 12 ProMax.
One of the shooting modes that users enjoy the most since it arrived on the iPhone in version 7 Plus is the portrait mode. In the case of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it takes advantage of the wide angle lens, that is, the x1, and the telephoto lens, which is x2.5, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max uses the wide angle, which maintains the x1, and the telephoto lens. , which changes to a x3, the latter being the main difference.
The tone of the entire comparison is also maintained in this section, although if we look carefully at the photograph of the hedge, we can see how HDR 4 comes into play in the part of the image where the sunlight is entering from the side, providing a little more detail in the image of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Obviously, portrait mode is not only available on the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, but also on the front camera. In this case we see again how HDR 4 makes an appearance and gives the photograph of the iPhone 13 Pro Max a slightly lighter sweatshirt tone, just as it happens with the skin tone of the protagonist.
We have already verified that daytime photography between both devices, leaving aside the macro mode, is practically traced except when HDR 4 enters the scene considerably. However, and based on the wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lens aperture improvements, it has to be in the night section when we really appreciate these differences. It should be mentioned that in this case what we have done are three different photographs in which the first two have the night mode activated automatically, and the third without night mode, which will surely be where we can most appreciate the differences. Let's check it out.
When we told you about the technical differences that the telephoto lenses of both devices have, the point where you will be able to notice it the most will be in this one, where the aperture of the lens does come into play when having less light. However, both have night mode, which undoubtedly makes a difference compared to previous iPhone models that do not enjoy it.
In this case, we do see slightly different results, and despite the fact that due to the opening we could expect a lower quality image on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the truth is that, again, HDR 4 makes a difference, especially if we look in the trunk of the palm tree that appears in the first image, where we also observe a notable difference in the colors of both images.
Wide Angle Lens
In the night section, this is surely the lens in which we can find the fewest differences between one device and another given the little difference in aperture between the wide-angle lens of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, it will be interesting to see if HDR 4 makes an appearance as noticeably as it did in the telephoto lens.
The forecasts are confirmed and the photographs taken with the wide-angle lens at night, both using the night mode and without it, are really similar. If you look closely you can see very slight differences produced by HDR 4, especially in the image of the palm tree, but the reality is that they are fantastic results in both cases.
Ultra Wide Angle Lens
We have reached one of the surely most anticipated moments, and that is that we are going to check how the wide-angle lens of the iPhone 13 Pro Max behaves after having been improved by providing it with an f/1.8 aperture, while that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max remains at f/2.4. Surely with the night mode activated, this difference cannot be appreciated, but without it, it should be noticeable.
The reality is that the differences between the results of one and the other follow the trend marked throughout the comparison. Thanks to HDR 4 there are tiny details where the image of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is slightly better, however, in the photo taken without night mode, which is the third, there are differences, a little more noise at some points in the image of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but at first glance they are two really similar images.
Obviously, we could not stop testing the performance offered by the two devices with their front camera in the night section. On paper, we comment again that, except for the inclusion of HDR 4, both iPhones have the same camera and the same aperture, so the results should not be different at all. Let's see them.
Against all odds, we do notice differences in both devices. The trend is that in the iPhone 13 Pro Max the skin tone is somewhat brighter than in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has more to darken it. The best example of this is the first of the photographs, where we can also see a little more detail.
The larger aperture of the ultra wide angle lens serves, among other things, to give users the possibility to perform or use this macro mode also in low light conditions, something that makes a lot of sense to be able to obtain such tiny details also in the night. Let's see an example of it.
The work that Apple has done with this lens is fantastic, which is why, despite being in unfavorable light conditions, it is still capable of capturing that spectacular degree of detail that characterizes macro photography. In fact, if you look at this photograph you can appreciate the different cracks in the wood.
Let's go with the last batch of photographs, and we finish with the night portrait mode. Usually this type of photography with bokeh is usually taken during the day, however, Apple also gives users the opportunity to take advantage of it even if the light is poor. Let's see if there is any difference between both devices in this shooting mode.
The photographs taken by both devices are very similar, however, a slight variation in color interpretation can be seen, obtaining more vivid tones in the case of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and slightly duller in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. . In terms of blurring, both devices do really well, obtaining a practically perfect image in that sense.
If we move the portrait mode to the front camera you will also be able to see that the trend is the same, a slight variation in the way the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max interpret color, being mainly evident in the tone of the skin. Other than that the picture is pretty much the same.
These are my conclusions
The results that we have obtained in this comparison are, honestly, the expected since, despite the fact that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has an improvement in the opening of its wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses, the points where we can notice that difference are very specific and at very precise times of the day where even night mode is not recommended but the light is not so present.
Really what differentiates it, at the level of cameras of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the macro mode, photo styles and the possibility of, in video, using the cinema mode , although it is true that the HDR 4 as we have been able to verify there are situations in which it clearly marks the difference. However, if you have entered this comparison to see if it is really worth going from the iPhone 12 Pro Max to the iPhone 13 Pro Max for its camera, for 99.9% of users the answer is no, since as you have been able to verify with With your own eyes, the differences are practically negligible, even more so if you are not going to use the device's camera for professional work.
Even so, my assessment is that the evolution is positive, since Apple has touched the points where the iPhone 12 Pro Max did not perform at such a good level. That added to the options of macro photography, HDR 4 and the cinema mode in video, make the iPhone 13 Pro Max the best device for all those who use their iPhone for photography and video on an almost daily basis.