The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max all go on sale Sept. 20, bringing faster processors and a wider range of color options to Apple’s iPhone range. What really sets the 2019 iPhones apart from their predecessors, however, is a bevy of new camera improvements, including a three-lens design on the Pro models that some say resembles a fidget spinner.
Twitter memes aside, this year’s upgrades to the camera hardware and software are no joke. The two lenses on the back of the iPhone 11 and the three on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max combine with a whole slew of software tweaks to bring you what is, at least on paper, the most impressive camera performance in an iPhone to date.
So while you’re waiting for preorders to begin Friday, September 13, here are the five new iPhone 11 camera features you can anticipate the most.
Now playing: Watch this: iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are packed with camera features 2:42
A new ultrawide-angle lens to up-level your landscape shots
As an addition to the standard wide-angle lens, Apple’s new ultrawide lens provides a 120-degree field of view, capturing four times more area than previous models. That means those sweeping, dramatic landscape photos should no longer require the many third-party clip-on gadgets that achieve the same thing.
High-end smartphones from Samsung, Huawei and LG have used an ultrawide-angle lens for years. Still, this marks the first generation of iPhone to pair such hardware with iOS, and that’s something that iPhone fans can get excited about.
iPhone 11 and 11 Pro in all their new, vibrant colors 20 Photos
Night Mode plays catch-up
The iPhone was originally the champ of taking great low-light photos in dim conditions, but over the years, Android phones have dashed past, with a standalone night mode to bring out details and brightness. Now, all three new iPhone 11 models bring night mode on board.
In theory, night mode brightens photos and, more importantly, reduces noise, resulting in crisp, colorful photos in low-light conditions. Apple hasn’t said exactly how its version works, but we’re hoping it’ll be much the same way that standalone night mode operates on the Google Pixel 3 ($813 at Walmart), Huawei P30 ($535 at Amazon) and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 — by compiling multiple photos taken with different exposures into one.
We’re hoping Apple’s night mode will be a welcome improvement for those dark, grainy photos that the Photo app’s magic editing wand just can’t fix.
QuickTake launches video when you need it most
Sometimes it’s the simple things that really get us, and that’s why we’re excited about Apple’s new QuickTake feature. Many other camera apps, including the iPhone’s native app, take still photos while shooting video, but QuickTake works the other way around, letting you start a video while taking stills.
That means no more fumbling through the dial in the camera app while your subject gets away from you. Just point and click to take a still, and hold to shoot video. It’ll work with all of the new iPhone 11 models.
Deep Fusion is promising, but you’ll have to wait
It won’t be available when the new iPhones hit stores on September 20, but later this fall, Apple plans to introduce Deep Fusion, its photo-processing software designed to pluck as much detail out of every picture you take. Google has used AI-based photo processing in its line of Pixel ($218 at Amazon) phones for years, but Deep Fusion marks Apple’s first major play in such a field.
The software will activate as soon as you open the camera app. While you’re framing your subject, your iPhone will take a series of long and short exposure shots. When you finally press the shutter button, the Deep Fusion algorithm will combine a total of nine images to produce a master image with as little noise and as sharp detail as possible.
It sounds a lot like the standalone night mode on Android phones, only for daylight shots as well as dim conditions.
Finally, some love for the selfie
Historically, the iPhone front-facing camera has always lagged considerably behind in specs compared to the rear camera array, but this year Apple has bumped it up to nearly match the iPhone’s primary lens.
For still photos, the selfie camera jumped up in resolution from 7- to 12-megapixels. You can now also record video in 4K, at the same 60FPS maximum as the rear camera. Rotating the phone into portrait mode unlocks the selfie camera’s wide-angle mode, allowing you to fit more people into your snapshots, selfie videos and FaceTime calls.
Finally, the selfie camera can now take slow-motion selfies, or, as Apple dubbed them, “slofies,” by capturing 1,080p at up to 240 frames per second (fps).
More from the Apple event iPhone 11: New wide-angle camera, 6 colors, faster Face ID for $699 Apple Arcade, iPad 2019 and everything announced Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad starts at $329 Watch Series 5: Always-On display, price, specs, compass and more Apple iPhone 11 event photos See all our event coverage
Now playing: Watch this: Hands-on with the iPhone 11’s ultra-wide-angle camera 4:56
Other new iPhone 11, Pro and Pro Max camera tools
- Monochrome portrait lighting mode
- Portrait mode can now detect pet faces
- Faster Face ID unlocking
- Brighter true-tone flash
- Higher contrast ratio HDR
Check out our hands-on review of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max to learn more about Apple’s latest handsets. If you’re ready to buy, here’s how to preorder the new iPhones beginning Friday. If you’re on the fence between an iPhone or an Android, we compare the specs among high-end smartphones here to help you decide.
Apple Event: See the iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 47 Photos
Apple reading • iPhone 11: Apple’s 5 flashiest new camera features to get excited about Sep 12 • iPhone 11 Pro versus Samsung Galaxy phones: What a $1,000 phone buys you Sep 12 • Apple iPhone Upgrade Program: Here’s how it works with iPhone 11 Sep 12 • iPhone 11 Pro vs. iPhone XS: Flagship phones compared Sep 11 • How to preorder the new 2019 10.2-inch iPad • See All