Travel photographer Austin Mann praises iPhone 11 Pro camera performance

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 19
Famed travel photographer Austin Mann has shared his thoughts, and heaped praise, on the new tri-camera setup found on the new iPhone 11 Pro ahead of its official release.

Night mode shot by Austin Mann
Night mode shot by Austin Mann


As it has done over the past couple years, Apple granted Mann the chance to try out its latest iPhone model before launch. For 2019, the noted travel photographer took iPhone 11 Pro along during a trip through China, where he is documenting The Bach Project featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Mann was eager to try the new ultra wide lens, Night mode and minor system improvements. Also of interest was "Capture Outside the Frame," a camera app option that allows users to see the scene outside the frame as they shoot with the standard wide lens.

"One of the most interesting camera features introduced this year is 'Capture Outside the Frame,'" Mann writes. "Basically, if I'm shooting with the Wide (26 mm), the iPhone 11 Pro is also capturing with the Ultra Wide (13 mm) so I can decide later about my framing. If the software detects a human on the edge of your frame, a little icon pops up to indicate you might want to crop out, which is pretty cool. As part of this feature, I can see what's just outside of my frame (a preview of what would be included in my shot if I switched to the Ultra Wide 13 mm)."

Ultra wide shot on the iPhone 11 Pro by Austin Mann
Ultra wide shot on the iPhone 11 Pro by Austin Mann


Shooting with the ultra wide went well and Mann was glad he had the new lens in his pocket, though he noted it performed best in well-lit situations. As the environment gets dim, users will likely switch back to the wide lens with its faster aperture and Night mode capabilities.

Speaking of Night mode, Mann was blown away by Apple's new technology.

"One thing I love about Apple's approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression," Mann writes. "When you look at the image above, it's clear their team didn't take the let's-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?'"

Showing the Night mode capabilities while shooting on a tripod
Showing the Night mode capabilities while shooting on a tripod. Source: Austin Mann


Mann delves deeper into what makes the iPhone's Night mode stand out, particularly when compared to traditional cameras.

When shooting long exposure shots on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, an exposure of three seconds is a single shot, keeping the sensor exposed for that length of time. It allows more light in to better expose the shot and can capture light trails. On iPhone, Night mode captures a series of shots -- over-exposed, under-exposed, long exposure shots, all captured together. The iPhone, powered by the A13 Bionic, then stitches all these together combine different aspects to create a well-balanced image.

This method allows users to shoot handheld and still pull off a sharp image. Shooting a long exposure handheld with a traditional camera would be a blurry mess.

Night mode on the new iPhone 11 Pro
Source: Austin Mann


Light trails on iPhone are still possible though, notes Mann, as the device is able to detect when it is placed on a tripod versus handheld and adjusts so that light trails are still captured.

Overall, Mann seems keen on the new iPhone 11 Pro as well as the ultra wide angle lens and new Night mode capabilities.

"I think I can say this is easily the most dramatic leap forward we've seen since the introduction of panorama mode on the iPhone 5 in 2012," says Mann. "It's the first time in a long time I've looked at an image and said to myself wow, I can't believe I shot this with my phone.'"
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Apple blew it out of the park with the 11 & 11 Pro. It’s biggest competition is the still excellent iPhone XR.
    StrangeDaysyojimbo007tmaySoundJudgment
  • Reply 2 of 36
    iPhone 11 Pro Night Mode certainly beats Pixel hand down on details and colour balance from some video I saw. Unfortunately my wife doesn't want to upgrade her 6 this year (It's 6 years now for crying out loud! Why Apple had to make their phone too reliable???) and my friend just upgraded her 7 Plus to X so I have to wait another year to upgrade ugrrrr....
    lolliverSoundJudgmentStrangeDaysjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 36
    The picture of the fisherman with the lantern is STUNNING!!!

    I have never been this excited about iPhones camera as in this years  iteration.. simply amazing. 
    kevin keelolliverh2pSoundJudgmentbigtdsmjtomlinStrangeDaysjbdragonmejsricpscooter63
  • Reply 4 of 36
    "Light trails on iPhone are still possible though, notes Mann, as the device is able to detect when it is placed on a tripod versus handheld and adjusts so that light trails are still captured."

    I suppose it's the gyroscope and motion sensor to detect whether the phone is on tripod or on hand?


    And yes, I agree, that fisherman pic is just beyond any phone camera capability until 11 Pro. Any competitor night mode would just make it like a photo of "bright day" instead of capturing the night mood.
    caladanianlolliverSoundJudgmentStrangeDaysSpamSandwichapplesnorangeswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 36
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,360member
    The fisherman pic is magical.
    edited September 19 lollivermwhiteh2pcincymacStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    da Hollandda Holland Posts: 8unconfirmed, member
    and was paid how much by Apple ??????????
    chemengin1
  • Reply 7 of 36
    and was paid how much by Apple ??????????
    Apple doesn’t pay to get good reviews. Their devices are already some of the best in the world, and they know it. Tell me, how much is China or Samsung paying you to sow distrust in this photographer’s abilities?
    edited September 19 mwhiteequality72521shark5150razorpitSoundJudgmentkuraiStrangeDayszoetmbpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 36
    This is the reason I’m upgrading from my Xs Max. The revamped lenses and the updated camera app. I have been using a lot of 3rd party apps for my photography but I’m definitely going to give the stock app another shot, 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 36

    The night shot is just phenomenal!


    For 2019, the noted travel photographer took iPhone 11 Pro along during a trip through China, where he is documenting The Bach Project featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma.


    Shouldn't that be Yo Ma Ma?

    bigtds
  • Reply 10 of 36
    Great about computational photography is that we can look forward some more improvements in time with iOS updates.in future. :-)
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 36
    I have an 11 Pro and my photos don't look anywhere near as good as Austin Mann's photos.  Are we sure Apple didn't give him a 'special' phone.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    kevin kee said:
    "Light trails on iPhone are still possible though, notes Mann, as the device is able to detect when it is placed on a tripod versus handheld and adjusts so that light trails are still captured."

    I suppose it's the gyroscope and motion sensor to detect whether the phone is on tripod or on hand?


    And yes, I agree, that fisherman pic is just beyond any phone camera capability until 11 Pro. Any competitor night mode would just make it like a photo of "bright day" instead of capturing the night mood.
    Exactly. Even Austin Mann himself admitted as much in the review. ;)

    "One thing I love about Apple’s approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression. When you look at the image above, it’s clear their team didn’t take the let’s-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, “How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?”"
    kevin keewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    He does use a pro, but for me it sounds like a iPhone 11 would work just as fine? I want the Pro as it weights less, but if you want that amazing night mode I guess this would be fine too?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 36
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,980member
    avon b7 said:
    kevin kee said:
    "Light trails on iPhone are still possible though, notes Mann, as the device is able to detect when it is placed on a tripod versus handheld and adjusts so that light trails are still captured."

    I suppose it's the gyroscope and motion sensor to detect whether the phone is on tripod or on hand?


    And yes, I agree, that fisherman pic is just beyond any phone camera capability until 11 Pro.

    Any competitor night mode would just make it like a photo of "bright day" instead of capturing the night mood.
    This isn't true. Take a look a some of the photos taken by those competitors. 

    The photo looks great btw.

    This is what the author said regarding Night Mode:

    "Many of us iPhone photographers have watched as other phones like the Pixel and the Huawei P30 have passed us in low light. It feels so good to see the iPhone 11 Pro has caught up in low light performance."
    "Speaking of Night mode, Mann was blown away by Apple's new technology. 

    "One thing I love about Apple's approach to Night mode is the strategic balance of solving a technical problem while also caring deeply about artistic expression," Mann writes. "When you look at the image above, it's clear their team didn't take the let's-make-night-look-like-day approach, as some of their competitors have. Instead, it feels more like an embrace of what it actually is (night) while asking, How do we capture the feel of this scene in a beautiful way?"
    razorpitStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    and was paid how much by Apple ??????????
    Apple doesn’t pay to get good reviews. Their devices are already some of the best in the world, and they know it. Tell me, how much is China or Samsung paying you to sow distrust in this photographer’s abilities?
    Common, da Holland has 5 whole posts, what would ever give you that idea?
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,980member
    Just a bit of back of the envelope.

    assumptions:

    200 million iPhone sales

    70% are iPhone 11 /  11 Pro / 11 Pro Max

    60% iPhone 11 / 40% iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max

    Apple needs somewhere on the order of 140 Million Tele, 140 Million Wide, and 56 Million Ultrawide camera modules just for all of the iPhone 11 models for this year; 336 million in all.

    edited September 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    For those coming back to the iPhone to get the benefit of these improvements: "Welcome home, welcome home. This way to debriefing..."
    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 36
    I have an 11 Pro and my photos don't look anywhere near as good as Austin Mann's photos.  Are we sure Apple didn't give him a 'special' phone.
    So, I take it you are one of the few people that Apple gave review units to, considering iPhone 11 doesn’t get released to the public until tomorrow. Can you provide a link to the review you’ve done with some sample photos?
    tmayradarthekatStrangeDayskevin keepscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 36
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,148moderator
    matrix077 said:
    iPhone 11 Pro Night Mode certainly beats Pixel hand down on details and colour balance from some video I saw. Unfortunately my wife doesn't want to upgrade her 6 this year (It's 6 years now for crying out loud! Why Apple had to make their phone too reliable???) and my friend just upgraded her 7 Plus to X so I have to wait another year to upgrade ugrrrr....
    It’s five years since the introduction of the iPhone 6.  
    edited September 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 36
    It'll be interesting to see how Google's new phone stacks up to Apple's. Apple seriously upped the cell phone camera game. The night shot photo is beautiful. You would never know this was taken with a cell phone camera.
    watto_cobra
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