iPhone 13 camera: The specs and features the rumors say we’ll see

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The iPhone 12 Pro Max greatly impressed us with its camera quality, being able to take professional-standard photos with its multiple lens setup. Its superb night mode is great as well, as is Apple’s new ProRaw image format that allows professional shooters more flexibility for editing images in apps such as Adobe Lightroom. Even the cheaper base iPhone 12 can take beautiful pictures and shows Apple’s commitment to providing excellent imaging capabilities across its whole range. So what can we expect from the cameras on Apple’s next phone, the iPhone 13

Read moreiPhone 13’s juiciest rumors: 120Hz always-on display, smaller notch, lidar and more

Improved wide angle

The biggest rumor right now is an improvement to the super wide-angle lens. At the moment the aperture of the super wide on the iPhone 12 is f2.4, but a report seen by MacRumors suggests that aperture will be f1.8 on the next model. The smaller the aperture number, the more light the lens lets in, resulting in better-looking images, particularly in low light. The report also suggests that this upgrade will be common across all iPhone 13 models, not just the more expensive Pro line.

The night mode is already superb on the iPhone 12 with its regular lens, but as we found out in our test against the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 5, the iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn’t do well at taking super-wide night shots. Hopefully this boost would let that wide lens keep pace with the others. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

12 Pro Max specs on cheaper phones

The above report also suggested that some of the specs of the current top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max would move down the range onto the regular iPhone 13 and Pro. In particular, the longer 2.5x telephoto zoom. 

It’s also possible that the lidar feature for improved depth sensing — currently only available on the 12 Pro models — would be available on the entire iPhone 13 range.

A larger camera bump

Schematics seen by MacRumors suggest that the camera “bump” that surrounds the lenses on the current iPhone 12 lineup will be thicker. This would allow the lenses to sit flush with the surface, rather than protruding out as they currently do. While this may be purely for aesthetic reasons it may be in part to allow for the wider aperture and sensor-shift stabilisation that may be added to the super-wide lens.


iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12 camera bumps


The schematics also suggest that the increase in size will be common on both the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max which may indicate that the two phones will feature an identical camera setup, giving top photography performance, regardless of which size you go for. This would be a welcome change to photographers — myself included — who want the best image quality possible, but would rather have a smaller phone in their pocket.

No big surprises

There are no credible rumors right now that speak of any drastic changes to the camera, so it’s safe to assume that the overall triple-lens setup will remain much the same. That’s no surprise really; Apple has only just refined its telephoto lens on the 12 Pro Max, so it’s unlikely to replace it straight away with, say, a 10x zoom (despite Samsung’s S21 Ultra kicking the iPhone’s ass at zooming in). That said, an early rumor did suggest that we may see a longer “periscope zoom” on the iPhone, but that this may not appear, if at all, until 2022. 

But we’ll be keeping our eye on the rumor mill and will be updating this article with the most credible reports as they appear.

Read more: 5 tips for better night photos with iPhone 12, Galaxy S21 or other phone cameras

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