The brand new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models have had some major camera upgrades – which is great news if you’re a mobile photographer as you’ll now be able to take better photos than ever before. The iPhone 7 Plus has an incredible dual lens which allows you to create stunning DSLR-like photos with a shallow depth of field. And the iPhone 7 has some fantastic new features too. Read on to discover more about the new iPhone 7 camera features, as well as the amazing photographic capability of the iPhone 7 Plus.
Some years the iPhone camera doesn’t change much, but this year both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models have had significant camera updates that will have a big effect on the kind of photos you can shoot.
Before we delve into how these new iPhone camera features will work, here’s a quick summary of the camera specifications of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:
iPhone 7 Camera Features
- f/1.8 aperture lens
- Optical image stabilization
- Six-element lens providing even better sharpness and image quality
- “Wide color” capability achieving cinema standard color
- 4-LED True Tone flash
- Anti-flicker sensor
- High-speed image sensor
- 12 mega-pixel rear-facing camera (same as iPhone 6s and 6s Plus)
- 7 mega-pixel FaceTime HD front-facing camera (increased from 5MP)
Some other great new iPhone 7 features include:
- Increased processor power with new 4-core A10 chip
- Extra two hours battery life
- Retina HD display is 25% brighter (same resolution as 6s and 6s Plus)
- Water and dust resistant
- Memory capacity doubled with no increase in price (32GB, 128GB, 256GB)
iPhone 7 Plus Camera Features
The iPhone 7 Plus has all of the above features (although it only has one extra hour of battery life), but it also has the following additional exciting camera features:
- Dual lens system with two 12 mega-pixel cameras side-by side
- One camera is identical to the iPhone 7 camera (the standard wide-angle lens)
- The other camera is a 2x telephoto lens
Not only does the 2x telephoto lens mean that you now have 2x optical zoom on the iPhone, but the dual lens system means you can now take stunning shallow depth of field photos that you could typically only create with a DSLR camera.
You can learn how to use the incredible new camera features of the iPhone 7 Plus in our in-depth tutorial.
Let’s now take a more detailed look at these new and improved iPhone 7 camera features, and how they make the iPhone camera more powerful than ever before.
iPhone 7 Camera Improvements
The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models bring us much closer to the photography normally associated with more expensive DSLR cameras.
The camera has a new six-element lens which improves image sharpness and minimizes distortion.
The new f/1.8 aperture lens has the ability to capture 50% more light than the smaller f/2.2 aperture of the iPhone 6s models. This means improved low-light capability when shooting photos and video at night or indoors.
The iPhone 7 gets the sought-after optical image stabilization feature first seen in the iPhone 6s Plus. This should result in sharper images in low light and hand-held shots, allowing up to three times longer exposures compared to the iPhone 6s.
Both new iPhone models feature a 4-LED flash which kicks out 50% more light than the 6s models. Flash can be useful for reducing hard shadows when shooting portraits in bright sunlight, and for reducing the exposure time and freezing the action when shooting in low light.
An anti-flicker feature has also been developed which is supposed to counteract the effects of flickering fluorescent lights. And with advanced new features like wide color capture, your photos and Live Photos will look even more vibrant.
The improved image signal processor and image sensor will result in faster operation and lower power consumption – meaning you can take more photos on a single charge.
Dual Lens System On iPhone 7 Plus
The dual lens system on the iPhone 7 Plus is one of the biggest camera upgrades ever. So what is a dual lens system, and what effect will it have on your photography?
The dual lens system means that the iPhone has two camera lenses, rather than one, that sit side by side on the rear of the phone.
The first lens is the same 12 mega-pixel wide-angle lens that’s found on the iPhone 7 model. The second lens is a 12 mega-pixel 2x telephoto lens.
2x Telephoto Lens For Optical Zoom
The iPhone is known for having a fairly wide angle lens, which is great for shooting landscape photos. But the additional 2x telephoto lens means that you can now shoot high quality zoomed in photos with your iPhone, allowing you to get a closer view of your subject without compromising quality.
With all other iPhone models, the only option for zooming in is to use the digital zoom feature. But digital zoom creates poorer quality images because it’s only using software to do the zooming in. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using digital zoom when taking photos.
With the built-in 2x telephoto lens of the iPhone 7 Plus, you now essentially have a 2x optical zoom feature. Optical zoom means that it’s the lens, rather than software, that’s zooming in. And this results in much higher quality zoomed in images.
Of course, with other iPhone models you can use a third-party add on telephoto lens to get closer to the subject. However, these lenses often suffer with image distortion and quality issues, so the built-in telephoto lens is a fantastic addition to the iPhone.
Perhaps even more exciting, the dual lens system on the iPhone 7 Plus allows for a brand new camera shooting mode: Portrait mode.
Portrait mode allows you to shoot stunning photos with a shallow depth field, where the subject is sharp and the background appears blurred. These are the kind of photos that could normally only be created with a DSLR camera.
A shallow depth of field is perfect for shooting portrait photos where you want to keep faces sharp while creating a blurred effect in the background.
To create this effect, the iPhone uses both lenses and advanced machine learning to shoot an image where the subject is in focus but the background appears blurred – know as the “bokeh” effect. This effect will be visible in real-time, so you can see the effect before you take the shot.
To create a photo with a shallow depth of field, you’ll simply need to select the “Portrait” option in the list of shooting modes in the iPhone’s native camera app (this mode will be available soon in a new camera app update for the iPhone 7 Plus).
Click here to learn more about how to blur background on iPhone camera.
Other Improved iPhone 7 Features
In addition to the specific camera features that we’ve talked about, there are some other new iPhone improvements that will benefit you as an iPhone photographer.
The screen is now 25% brighter (great for viewing images in bright daylight) and a wider range of colors can be captured resulting in more vivid colored images.
The new shell with improved seals means that the iPhone 7 is water and dust resistant. This makes it an even more useful camera, capable of being used in harsher conditions such as in the rain or in a dusty environment.
If you’re used to working with RAW image files from a DSLR, you’ll be pleased to know that the iPhone 7 now has the ability to store RAW files which compatible apps offering RAW capabilities (such as Snapseed) will be able to make use of.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will have a new generation chip called the A10 Fusion. This A10 processor runs 40% faster than the A9 chip in the 6s and 6s Plus models, which should mean camera apps and photo editing apps will perform better and faster.
Due to the increased efficiency of the processor, battery life on the new iPhones should be extended, resulting in an extra two hours run-time for the iPhone 7 and an extra one hour for the iPhone 7 Plus.
Physical & Aesthetic Design Changes
It should come as no surprise that the new models aren’t hugely different from last year’s offerings. Apple favors small, incremental improvements, so it’s not a big shock to see that the new iPhone 7 is the same size as the 6s (4.7” screen), and the 7 Plus the same size as the 6s Plus (5.5” screen) – albeit slightly thinner.
Aesthetically there’s very little difference. The most noticeable visual change is that there are two new colors – a high gloss “Jet Black” and a matt “Black.” They’re also available in Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.
The rumors that Apple were going to ditch the 3.5mm headphone socket have proved true. Apple headphones are actually really useful for iPhone photographers as they allow you to remotely trigger the camera’s shutter using the volume controls on the headphones.
From now on, the Apple headphones that you get in the box with your iPhone will have a Lightning adapter (shown on the left in the picture below), meaning that you plug it into the same port as your iPhone charger cable.
If you prefer to use older style 3.5mm headphones, Apple conveniently provide a Lightning adapter with your iPhone (shown on the right in the picture above).
The other headphone option will be to purchase the new wireless Apple AirPod earbuds. But these aren’t cheap at $159 and we’re not sure whether you’d be able to use them to trigger the camera’s shutter.
iPhone Pricing & Release Dates
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be available to pre-order from September 9, 2016, and will be in stores on September 16.
The iPhone 7 costs $649 for the 32GB model, $749 for 128GB, and $849 for 256GB.
The iPhone 7 Plus costs $769 for the 32GB model, $869 for 128GB, and $969 for 256GB.
For more information about the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, visit the Apple website.
It’s fair to say that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have had impressive camera updates, offering mobile photographers even more iPhone camera features and tools for taking great photos.
So if you’re due for an upgrade, or you simply want to have the latest and best iPhone camera, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are certainly worth investing in.
Emil Pakarklis says
Are you upgrading? If so, why? Please let everyone know!
No. I will wait for iPhone10.
Ateesh Tankha says
That booked looks so artificial. Like using a blur background app. Let’s see how good the lenses really are when they come out. And I’m really peeved that Apple is promoting these phones as splash proof but take no responsibility for water damage. So no plans of upgrading just yet.
Ateesh Tankha says
I meant bokeh.
James Toal says
I have the 6s. With 2 moment lenses and the Ztylus primes.
Moment and stylus will figure it out, but tye road to a great image is through the iPhone. The 256G. It’s a no brainer
Hi Emil & Rob – Has anyone seen anything from the lensmakers – Moment, Olliclip, Ztylus, etc. – about how or whether they’ll be supporting the dual camera on the 7+? Thanks.
Kate Wesson says
It will be very interesting to see what these lens developers come up with for the new dual lens camera on the 7 Plus. Here’s what I found for Olloclip and Moment: https://www.olloclip.com/iphone7/
You can sign up with both of these to receive updates about their progress. Hope that helps.
Thanks, Kate. Right now, I’m thinking I will take a leap and upgrade to the 7+. Have every confidence in the lens makers’ ingenuity. I can always use my current lenses on my 6+ if I need them.
Thomas Golding says
The feature that seems to be missing is the ability to take pictures with a large depth of field that we do using a small f-stop on a wide angle lens on a regular camara.
Rob Dunsford says
Hi Thomas – the trick here is to focus on a far away subject (e.g. the horizon or some other distant subject). This should result in a large depth of field.
I shoot video with my 6s+ so the camera upgrades in iPhone 7 are very tempting. BUT I made a vow to myself to not buy another phone until they make shatterproof (or resistant) screens. I feel a little unsure of that vow at the moment, lol, but I can’t bring myself to upgrade until Apple upgrades the screen.
I don’t know much about i-phones but when I had purchased mine I told him I carry my phone clipped on my back waist when I am road biking and needed a sturdy case. I have a sturdy UAG case and have dropped my phone dozens of times and even dropped it on pavement and on a tile floor where it bounced around and nothing ever happened to it and I’ve had it for years. Perhaps you just need a case specifically to withstand breakage.
I have a pretty nice case already from Verus. I’ve also dropped my phone a few times and it’s still intact. I know there are great accessories that can protect the phone.
My point is that Apple (imo) has the technology and know-how to give the iPhone a shatter-resistant screen and for the price of the phone, it should come with one.
Barry Doucette says
After buying the iPhone 6+ I am going back to Samsung. More user friendly and less costly to buy and install apps.
Francois Jacquier says
Hi, I was wondering what is the equivalent of f/1.8 on iphone versus a dslr, does anyone know how this can be compared?
Rob Dunsford says
Hi Francois – the value f/1.8 is the ratio of the focal length to the aperture diameter – so f/1.8 on an iPhone *means* the same thing as it does on a dSLR. In reality the iPhone’s f/1.8 aperture is physically far smaller – but that’s because the focal length is far smaller too – so for an identical exposure time, much less light will reach the iPhone’s image sensor than on a dSLR.
Unfortunately it doesn’t mean the iPhone will be able to create the gorgeous bokeh / blurring we often see with dSLR images (unless you get the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus and use its new “Portrait” shooting mode).
Hope this explanation helps.
George Greer says
Yeah. Sounds great but I think I’ll wait until the 7 is an also run.
Eva Gustafsson says
“Unfortunately” I bought a 6s plus 128 GB just a couple of months ago. It’s a great phone but now I wish I had waited until the iPhone 7 release ?
ROHITH NARAYAN says
I am ready to buy your 6s 128 GB phone if you are willing to sell 🙂
Eva Gustafsson says
I don’t think I will sell it. And if I do I think the easiest way is to take a trip to the Apple Store and see how much they are willing to pay for the 6splus if I buy the 7 plus. But the best solution would be to win a lot of money at the lottery ?
Gary Knowles says
Wasn’t planning to, until I read this review! Now….???… Very tempted.
kalpesh purohit says
Cant charge and listen to music at same time!!?
JF Purcell says
Excellent reviews of the new phones Emil.
Phillipa Frederiksen says
This info was very helpful! Thank you!
My main reason for considering this phone is that it mentioned being water resistant. They just mention rain and dust proof but do not go into any details about that. Who cares about dust proof? Other camera company’s show pictures of dropping their phone into puddles, an aquarium, a pool, etc. Too much details about the camera lens and functions but not enough about being water resistant. ( Not one photo of the camera with so much as a drop of water on it!) I’m looking to buy a phone, not just a camera. Another reader stated that they are peeved that Apple will take no responsibility for water damage. I’m not happy about that either!
Evelyn Salvador says
Awesome information! Thanks for sharing it. Now want my 7+!
Kerry Mitchell says
I watched the press conference, Emil, but this helped put things into better focus. The press conference got boring before they got to the camera. I was practically asleep and missed some parts. Thanks for straightening out the parts I missed. I can hardly wait until I get my new 7 Plus. Unfortunately, I just bought an Olloclip this summer. I will hopefully be able to sell it.
Kate Wesson says
Glad you found this information helpful Kerry. Great to hear that you’ll be getting the 7 Plus. It’s a shame that your old lenses won’t fit, but I’m sure the dual camera will make up for it 🙂
Cecilia D. Waikoko-Whipple says
I pre-ordered the iPhone 7 Plus because of the dual lenses. My current iPhone is 6S and I have 3 Moment lenses–tele, wide, and macro.
how will you do with the moments? they don’t work with iphone 7 plus.
Cecilia D. Waikoko-Whipple says
Sadly, I will have to sell them.
Gail Mcleod says
Emil ur information is so helpful, I have a 5s and bypassed the 6 and waited for the 7, so excited after reading all your info, I think I will be happy with the 7 plus! I also feel more confident having u there to solve any questions I might have! how much GB should a person have, 128 for sure or should I go for broke and get the largest 256! have been a little slack with photos as so wanted the plus for a long time.
Kate Wesson says
Hi Gail. That’s great news that you’re getting the 7 Plus – I’m sure it will be amazing! Regarding storage, it all depends on whether you use iCloud to back up your photos, therefore freeing up more space on your phone, or whether you regularly transfer your images to a computer and delete them from your phone. If you don’t do either of these, or if you like to keep high resolution versions of all of your images on your phone, then you’ll want as much storage as you can afford. But 128GB is still a lot of storage space, so that will probably be adequate for your needs. My advice is always to get the maximum amount of storage that your budget allows 🙂
Maria Parenti-Baldey says
New Telephoto lense and depth of field sound great.
I'm Justice says
I’ll receive my iPhone 7 tomorrow. I have the 6 and held out for this upgrade as I knew it would have some important camera upgrades which is proven to be true. I just cannot get past the size of the 7 Plus so I bypassed the dual camera due to the large size. If I’m going to carry a 7 Plus around I may as well have an iPad Mini! Nice review by the way!
varun palaniappan says
I have bought a 7 Plus and have been using it for the past week and my impressions are that the phone as a whole is flawless and the fact that the this device does not have a headphone jack doesn’t bother me as much. I still do not know why people are complaining about it. The camera is unbelievably good. The speed of the device is incredibly fast. Also, the 3D Touch is very useful. The home button being a solid state is easy to use and more responsive now. The screen being 25% brighter helps when you are using your phone in direct sunlight. The phone being water and dust resistant is incredible and reduces the worry about it getting spoilt if you use it in the rain or shower. I definitely do not worry about it getting spoilt when I use it in the rain! Battery life is really the main issue I had with my 6 Plus and I heard that Apple has improved it with their new devices so I bought one and it has been lasting for the longer period of time compared to my old 6 Plus which I am happy with. I am in love with the phone and the raise to wake feature comes in really handy at times. The overall deign of the phone is pretty nice and even though it is similar to Apple’s previous devices such as the 6S and 6S Plus, it looks beautiful and lovely. Lastly, I am waiting to download the 10.1 update soon so I can start using the new Portrait Mode in Camera which looks really cool and interesting.
Kate Wesson says
Great to hear your positive feedback about the 7 Plus 🙂
Shawn Michael Greener says
I just upgraded from an iPhone 6S. I had no issue with the 6S other than it suddenly would shut off black screen and would only recover after 5-20 minutes being plugged in. The battery was always fully charged and it always happened when I was shooting photographs. After a slight upgrade fee, I have my 256GB iPhone 7… I really like it.
Is there iphone 7 is planing for any software to over come the bokeh effect….