iPhone 11 Pro camera beat by Huawei and Xiaomi’s new phones

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iPhone-11-Pro-cameras
Still a top-five smartphone camera.
Photo: Apple

The camera on the iPhone 11 Pro Max received high marks for performance from the independent testing lab DxOMark. It is one of the best smartphones for photo and video.

It’s just not the very best smartphone camera.

DxOMark, which has tested all digital cameras and lenses for 10 years, released its findings this morning with a lengthy detailed report that reveals one thing possibly standing in the iPhone’s way from the very top of the mountain – the size of its image sensor.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max scored a 117, putting it in a three-way tie with two Samsung handsets, but short of the 121 score of the Huawei Mate Pro 30 and Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro.

“Overall, the iPhone is among the very best for exposure,” DxO Mark wrote. “(It’s) only in very low light when it can’t keep up with devices with larger image sensors, such as the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.”

iPhone 11 Pro camera score explained

What does this mean to the iPhone shooter? Nothing. It’s a four-point difference. The iPhone 11 Pro camera is not going to disappoint.

Even when a competitor out scores a new iPhone, it is generally by a handful of points based on the slightest of variations in color rendering, detail and texture in low light, dynamic range and autofocus. It is not enough to sway a devoted user of Apple devices (even if it did with U.S. users, they won’t find Huawei and Xiaomi their local smartphone store).

Just keep making your pictures and videos. Creativity trumps gear anyway. If anything, Apple deserves credit for starting the whole craze and continually raising the bar it set. Among some very good smartphone cameras, the iPhone 11 Pro is top-five.

If you’re a pixel peeper, you may find DxO Mark’s point-by-point technical explanations interesting. The report offers side-by-side comparisons to make its case.

iPhone 11 Pro camera: the great and room to grow

Technicians said it remains a top choice for the video shooter. The positives for video including a wide dynamic range, good detail and well-controlled noise in both outdoor and indoor footage, vivid colors and good stabilization. The few negatives regarding video, include a jello effect when recording while walking.

iPhone-11-Pro-camera

For a still camera, the iPhone 11 Pro received its highest marks for fast, accurate autofocus, zoom performance at close and media range, vivid and “pleasant” colors and exposure and wide dynamic range in most situations.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max was “not far from the best” in the night shooting category, thanks to Apple’s new Night Mode.

“Thanks to Apple’s new Deep Fusion that uses machine learning and image stacking, the new iPhone is noticeably improved for detail and textures. It renders fine details such as freckles, hair on pets, and distant foliage very well, making the phone a great option for landscape and portrait photography alike,” DxO said. “Only in low light is a drop-off in detail quite evident, with the iPhone unable to keep up with the very best in class. Noise is also improved over the XS Max, but it is still visible in almost all light conditions. Image artifacts are very well under control, though, with only some flare very occasionally visible.

“When shooting in bokeh simulation mode, the new iPhone achieves good results but is not among the best. Slight depth estimation errors are visible in all conditions, but noise on subjects and in the background is improved compared to the XS Max.”