A new, improved ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 14 Pro models should boost your low-light night photography with a much larger sensor rocking 1.4µm pixels.
- What’s happening? TF International Securities Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will update the iPhone 14 Pro’s ultra-wide camera with a new sensor that’s supposed to increase low-light sensitivity.
- Why care? The ultra-wide camera is Apple’s worst shooter in terms of night photography but enlarging pixel size should result in better light capture.
- What to do? Grab your iPhone and capture some low-light images with an ultra-wide camera to test the limits of night photography. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, that’s yet another reason to consider upgrading to an iPhone 14 Pro.
The iPhone 14 Pro’s ultra-wide camera to get some love, too
Now, Kuo previously said that the iPhone 14 Pros will swap the main rear camera (which Apple calls “wide”) for a new module sporting a 48-megapixel sensor. As a result, Pro-branded models of the iPhone 14 will shoot 8K video and take 48-megapixel photos under good lighting (or 12-megapixel ones in low-light conditions).
But it looks like Apple’s ultra-wide shooter is getting some love this year as well.
According to Kuo’s Twitter, the unannounced iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will use a new sensor with 1.4µm pixels. By comparison, the ultra-wide camera on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro has a pixel size of 1.0µm. The nearly 40 percent bigger pixels can capture more light, reducing noise in low-level shots.
But all that technology will come at a price.
I predict two iPhone 14 Pro models' ultra-wide cameras will upgrade to 1.4µm (vs. iPhone 13 Pro's 1.0µm). CIS (CMOS image sensor), VCM (voice coil motor), and CCM (compact camera module) have a significant unit price increase in this upgrade, with about 70%, 45%, and 40%.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) August 30, 2022
A pricey camera
Kuo thinks the combined component costs, including a camera image sensor, voice coil motor and compact camera module may be up to 70 percent higher than before.
Apple could pass some of the extra cost to the consumer because analysts expect the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to cost an extra $100.
Evolution of the iPhone’s ultra-wide camera
The iPhone’s ultra-wide camera is interesting in many aspects.
For starters, its 120-degree field of view lets you capture much wider scenes with more detail, especially things like landscapes, tall buildings and so on. Apple has been improving the ultra-wide camera since its debut on the iPhone 11 Pros.
While its capabilities didn’t improve much between the iPhone 11 and 12, the iPhone 13 did bring several improvements to the ultra-wide shooter including autofocus, macro photography, a six-element lens, a larger f/1.6 aperture and more.
Those enhancements allow poeple to take clearer night shots taken with the iPhone 13 Pro’s ultra-wide camera. And now, assuming Kuo is right, Apple will make further upgrades to the iPhone 13 Pro’s ultra-wide camera. Read: iPhone photography tips
If you’re coming from the iPhone 12 Pro Max as this author, upgrading to an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max sounds like a reasonable thing to do because it seems like you’ll get to enjoy the biggest jump in iPhone camera performance in years.