iPhone 13 Pro – It’s OK

By | 2021-11-21

Quick post. My phone was up for renewal so I went large with an iPhone 13 Pro. This was an acceptance that I take more photos on my phone than any ‘real’ camera so made sense to spend the money.

After a few weeks my opinion is basically that’s it’s fine, but not miraculous, and it does have some flaws.

Here are a few photos from the park, standing under a railway bridge. iPhone vs Canon G9X II vs Lumix G80 with 12-35/2.8. All photos around ~70mm equivalent. Shot RAW (not ProRAW on the phone) and edited in RawTherapee with light noise reduction, shadow lifting and common white balance.

iPhone 13 Pro – 3x lens
Canon G9X II
Panasonic Lumix G80

There’s not much between the phone and the G9X. I think the G9X is slightly sharper but there’s not much in it really and they’re in the same weight class. The G80 is clearly better.

So that’s good for the phone. But… the jpeg version of this photo is terrible.

iPhone 13 Pro – Internal JPEG

The colours on the wall are very impressive, but the problems are in the central tree. The noise reduction has smeared the bark so much it looks like it was painted on afterwards. The leaves look smudgy as well.

And now at wide angle.

iPhone 13 Pro – 1x lens
Canon G9X II
Panasonic Lumix G80

iPhone 13 Pro – Internal JPEG

For me, I think the G9X has it, just from having those extra 4MP. The iPhone JPEG was better behaved this time but still a bit more smeary than necessary, especially as this was in good light.

I also think the tone curve is a little weird with highlights. Bright areas tend to end up as large white blocks. For example, on the dogs face here:

So final thoughts. I think the iPhone 13 Pro can take decent pictures – for a phone. It looks like I have to shoot in RAW to get decent results which is a bit annoying. But if I only have a phone and take what should be a decent picture and the JPEG engine ruins it I at least have the option of fixing later.

It seems like the G9X II still has the edge on quality, and the files are easier to edit (DxO support vs not) so it still has a place for photos. For video the iPhone is miles ahead, it’s not even worth comparing.