iPhone 16 Pro rumored to get hugely better ultra-wide sensor & optical zoom

Posted:
in iPhone

Rumors of major camera changes to the iPhone 16 Pro lineup continue, with a leaker insisting there will be an ultra-wide sensor update and one for the telephoto's zoom.

Rear cameras of the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max
Rear cameras of the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max



Apple regularly makes updates to the camera system on the iPhone, with the Tetraprism lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max getting a lot of attention. Rumors claim more are on the way, and a Tuesday leaker post seems to agree.

The post from leaker "Baby Sauce" on Weibo refers to the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. The first of the two claims is that there will be an upgrade of the ultra-wide angle camera to 48-megapixels.

If true, this would mean Apple will include two 48-megapixel cameras on the rear. The telephoto camera would therefore become the last remaining camera using a 12-megapixel sensor.

Baby Sauce claims the sensor upgrade will happen to both the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.

The second claim is specific to the iPhone 16 Pro, in that it would get the zoom upgrade to 5x. This would match the 5x zoom of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which was facilitated by the Tetraprism lens.

While the Pro model will get the zoom update, the leaker says there won't be a change to the iPhone 16 Pro Max's telephoto zoom level.

The leaker does not have much of a track record when it comes to Apple leaks. Their most recent significant posting was a collection of images of cases, supposedly intended for an iPhone SE 4.

There have been previous rumors discussing the outlined camera changes. Another leaker, "Setsuna Digital" and multiple analysts proposed the 48-megapixel sensor upgrade in 2023.

There has also been analyst speculation that the Tetraprism lens would spread from the Pro Max to the Pro model.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    This would be nice. I don’t need a bigger screen. I just want the 5X. Going with the Pro and not the Pro Max would also save me a few bucks.
    edited May 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table

    RonnyDaddynetroxLettucexelareihted
  • Reply 3 of 20
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 550member
    Should note note that the "zoom" isn't really an optical zoom from my perspective. It's either at one end of the range or the other. There's no optical in-between.
    DAalsethAlex1NsloaahLettucewatto_cobraxelareihted
  • Reply 4 of 20
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    hmlongco said:
    Should note note that the "zoom" isn't really an optical zoom from my perspective. It's either at one end of the range or the other. There's no optical in-between.
    I don't know why AppleInsider--which knows better--and many others in the tech press keep referring to iPhone Pro lenses as "optical zoom." They are not. Each iPhone Pro model contains three FIXED FOCAL LENGTH LENSES. Their focal lengths, as full-frame equivalents, are 13mm for the ultrawide, 24mm for the main/wide and 77mm for the telephoto on the iPhone Pro and 120mm for the tetraprism telephoto on the 15 Pro Max. Each lens covers a range of focal lengths through sensor cropping and computational photography--there is no optical zoom capability in any iPhone lens. The ultrawide lens covers the 13mm-23mm range. The main lens kicks in at 24mm and then covers up to 76mm on the Pro and 119mm on the Pro Max. The telephoto lens covers 77mm and up on the Pro and 120mm and up on the Pro Max. 

    Optical zoom lenses, as the name clearly states, change their focal lengths and achieve zoom capability through optics -- i.e., a variety of precise optical elements within the lens that move with great precision to provide the "equivalent" of many fixed focal length lenses in a single lens. In actual practice, an optical zoom lens will not achieve the same quality as a fixed focal length "prime" lens because optical zoom requires optical compromises, but the convenience of zoom sure beats toting a trunk full of prime lenses. 


    edited May 21 DAalsethAlex1NradarthekatsloaahbeowulfschmidtRonnyDaddyxelareihted
  • Reply 5 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,313member
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table


    Good that you don't need to upgrade then. For many of us, the camera is the single most important feature and a core function of the phone. And yes. We look at photos on screens far larger than an iPad and sometimes want to high-quality prints. In addition, any improvement to the optical zoom would be greatly appreciated.
    StrangeDaysAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,829member
    charlesn said:
    hmlongco said:
    Should note note that the "zoom" isn't really an optical zoom from my perspective. It's either at one end of the range or the other. There's no optical in-between.
    I don't know why AppleInsider--which should know better--and many others in the tech press keep referring to iPhone Pro lenses as "optical zoom." They are not. Each iPhone Pro model contains three FIXED FOCAL LENGTH LENSES. Their focal lengths, as full-frame equivalents, are 13mm for the ultrawide, 24mm for the main/wide and 77mm for the telephoto on the iPhone Pro and 120mm for the tetraprism telephoto on the Pro Max. Each lens covers a range of focal lengths through sensor cropping and computational photography--there is no optical zoom capability in any iPhone lens. The ultrawide lens covers the 13mm-23mm range. The main lens kicks in at 24mm and then covers up to 76mm on the Pro and 119mm on the Pro Max. The telephoto lens covers 77mm and up on the Pro and 120mm and up on the Pro Max. 
    A good point. For me I’ll likely either shoot at 1x and crop the 48MP image to what I need, or at 5x and then 12MP is good enough for my purposes. That I can’t actually shoot at 3.5x without a lot of computer interpolation is not a big deal. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,930member
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table
    Yeah nah yeah, I’d rather have better pictures that look better on very large displays (think AVP resolutions) than nurture OCD about the phone not laying perfectly flat on a table. The use case of better photos far outweighs the “lay flat on table” use case, any day of the week. 
    edited May 21 muthuk_vanalingamAlex1NradarthekatRonnyDaddywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,776member
    I keep hoping for longer optical focal length lens to be added, I am very happy with the wide end as is. 
    edited May 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table
    Yeah nah yeah, I’d rather have better pictures that look better on very large displays (think AVP resolutions) than nurture OCD about the phone not laying perfectly flat on a table. The use case of better photos far outweighs the “lay flat on table” use case, any day of the week. 
    The part I don't get is, for the users that really need 48 megapixels and above.
    and need the highest quality possible 
    why not get a real camera with real optical  lenses ?
    a tiny sensor on an iPhone will NEVER give you the same quality as a full size sensor 
    no matter how many cameras they add to the back of the iPhone

    just like if audio is your greatest feature, you don't use an iphone
    You get a high end high res audio player


    mrstepRonnyDaddy
  • Reply 10 of 20
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member
    mike1 said:
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table


    Good that you don't need to upgrade then. For many of us, the camera is the single most important feature and a core function of the phone. And yes. We look at photos on screens far larger than an iPad and sometimes want to high-quality prints. In addition, any improvement to the optical zoom would be greatly appreciated.
    I highly doubt the number of people that need top quality pictures, AND insist on using an iPhone as opposed to a proper camera, is not higher than 10% tops, and I'm being generous.
    for the other 90% they couldn't care less, and would much rather have a thicker phone with a 2-3 day battery, and no fugly hump on the back.
    I would be interested if there was ever a survey that showed what the highest requested features are on smart phones 

  • Reply 11 of 20
    kmarei said:
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table
    Yeah nah yeah, I’d rather have better pictures that look better on very large displays (think AVP resolutions) than nurture OCD about the phone not laying perfectly flat on a table. The use case of better photos far outweighs the “lay flat on table” use case, any day of the week. 
    The part I don't get is, for the users that really need 48 megapixels and above.
    and need the highest quality possible 
    why not get a real camera with real optical  lenses ?
    a tiny sensor on an iPhone will NEVER give you the same quality as a full size sensor 
    no matter how many cameras they add to the back of the iPhone

    just like if audio is your greatest feature, you don't use an iphone
    You get a high end high res audio player


    May be, you have forgotten the phrase "The best camera is the one that you have on your person". We all carry the smartphones with us, whereever we go. Carrying a real camera (Point and shoot, DSLR, whatever that is) is NOT practical for most of the occasions. Hence the need for improving the camera in the smartphones to the maximum extent possible, including design choices/compromises w.r.t. camera bumps.

    kmarei said:
    mike1 said:
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table


    Good that you don't need to upgrade then. For many of us, the camera is the single most important feature and a core function of the phone. And yes. We look at photos on screens far larger than an iPad and sometimes want to high-quality prints. In addition, any improvement to the optical zoom would be greatly appreciated.
    I highly doubt the number of people that need top quality pictures, AND insist on using an iPhone as opposed to a proper camera, is not higher than 10% tops, and I'm being generous.
    for the other 90% they couldn't care less, and would much rather have a thicker phone with a 2-3 day battery, and no fugly hump on the back.
    I would be interested if there was ever a survey that showed what the highest requested features are on smart phones 

    I don't agree with the first line of your post, but I agree with the rest of your post. People do want lots of battery endurance for their smartphones. That is one of the key reasons (probably the second in order of priority, first being cameras) for Pro Max being the most popular option among the iPhones.
    tmay
  • Reply 12 of 20
    I’m hugely impressed.  Hugely.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    sloaahsloaah Posts: 26member
    The fixation on the 120mm equivalent is a bit of a shame. 77mm is a much more useful lens - it sits within the classic 70-90mm range of portrait lenses. 
    muthuk_vanalingamRonnyDaddywatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    kmareikmarei Posts: 193member

    I highly doubt the number of people that need top quality pictures, AND insist on using an iPhone as opposed to a proper camera, is not higher than 10% tops, and I'm being generous.
    for the other 90% they couldn't care less, and would much rather have a thicker phone with a 2-3 day battery, and no fugly hump on the back.
    I would be interested if there was ever a survey that showed what the highest requested features are on smart phones 

    I don't agree with the first line of your post, but I agree with the rest of your post. People do want lots of battery endurance for their smartphones. That is one of the key reasons (probably the second in order of priority, first being cameras) for Pro Max being the most popular option among the iPhones.


    i found this from 2018, but i don't think its as high now as it was then
    since cameras are already pretty darn good now. we didn't have 48 megapixel cameras in 2018
    battery life has pretty much stayed the same, yes they are a lot more efficient, but we also keep adding features so the usage/capacity has stayed the same
    and i can tell you durability has not really changed since iphone 4ish
    you drop any gen phone from the iphone 4 on to iphone 15 on the ground and you are cracking front glass or back glass (we didn't need to worry about back glass in the early gens since it was plastic)
    yeah yeah they use gorrila glass 18 now, but it still breaks. 

    so my point is why do they only focus on the camera (s)? 


    edited May 22 RonnyDaddy
  • Reply 15 of 20
    puiz666puiz666 Posts: 22unconfirmed, member
    Why is everything "hugely" something today? Do you mean "bigly"?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 906member
    kmarei said:
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table
    Yeah nah yeah, I’d rather have better pictures that look better on very large displays (think AVP resolutions) than nurture OCD about the phone not laying perfectly flat on a table. The use case of better photos far outweighs the “lay flat on table” use case, any day of the week. 
    The part I don't get is, for the users that really need 48 megapixels and above.
    and need the highest quality possible 
    why not get a real camera with real optical  lenses ?
    a tiny sensor on an iPhone will NEVER give you the same quality as a full size sensor 
    no matter how many cameras they add to the back of the iPhone

    just like if audio is your greatest feature, you don't use an iphone
    You get a high end high res audio player


    Truer words about a camera were never spoken than the ones coined by photographer Chase Jarvis: "The best camera is the one you have with you." Those words were the ethos of his book, "Best Camera," which may have been the first published collection of exclusively iPhone photographs (the iPhone 4, I believe) by a major photographer to showcase the creative possibilities. With Chase's guiding thought in mind, I decided to sell off all of my pro, full-frame equipment and switch to iPhone photography full time about 8-9 years ago. I had a Nikon D3s, a full set of Nikon's best "gold circle" ED zoom lenses, an 85mm 1.2 prime and a 300mm 2.8 prime. But after two trips aboard when I left this equipment home because I didn't want to lug "the camera trunk" with me, I decided that the quality advantage of pro full frame equipment meant nothing if I didn't have it with me. After selling it off and switching to iPhone photography full-time, I never looked back and have never regretted it. 

    Is full-frame quality better? Of course it is. But better is meaningless if you don't have your camera with you when the opportunity for a great shot appears. Even more importantly, in my opinion: the quality of which current iPhone Pro cameras are capable exceeds what most people who aren't shooting photos for a living will ever need. I currently have a 24" x 36" color print hanging in my living room from an uncropped, no filters image taken with a 13 Pro that sparked a call from the lab which printed it for me, inquiring about the equipment I used to get the shot. No "equipment" -- just my phone. I routinely print 13x19 photos of flower close-ups shot with my iPhone and they are stunning. Would pixel-peeping reveal better quality if I had shot them with my Nikon full-frame equipment? Sure. Providing I had lugged my Nikon equipment along for a walk in the park that day. 
    muthuk_vanalingamRonnyDaddytmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,151member
    I recall a photo contest that limited hardware to a Kodak Instamatic and some amazing work came from limiting the hardware...

    That said I do hope the UW optics are improved - last time I checked edge softness was visible on the iPhone screen - can a bigger sensor help with that...?
    This review spells it out: www.lux.camera/iphone-14-pro-camera-review-a-small-step-a-huge-leap/ (no noticable difference with the 15 to me)

    13 mm eq also seems impossibly wide and if less wide to gain sharpness I would be OK with that.

    I use the ProCamera app which helps, and a Zeiss ExoLens on an older iPhone - remarkably sharp using the highest quality prime lens...

    edited May 22 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    LettuceLettuce Posts: 8member
    mike1 said:
    kmarei said:
    just please give me anything that is not camera related.
    it seems that's the only thing they keep focusing on
    2 cameras. now 3 cameras, now 4 cameras
    we are not all professional photographers. 
    i take pics i usually see on my iphone screen or on my ipad
    i don't need terrapixel quality with 99x optical zoom , and carl zeis diamond quartz lens
     with a huge camera bump on the back that makes the phone rock when i put it on a table


    Good that you don't need to upgrade then. For many of us, the camera is the single most important feature and a core function of the phone. And yes. We look at photos on screens far larger than an iPad and sometimes want to high-quality prints. In addition, any improvement to the optical zoom would be greatly appreciated.
    For most of us, the ability to run messaging apps is the core function of the iPhone. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 516member
    charlesn said:
    kmarei said:
    kmarei said:
    ...
    The part I don't get is, for the users that really need 48 megapixels and above.
    and need the highest quality possible 
    why not get a real camera with real optical  lenses ?
    a tiny sensor on an iPhone will NEVER give you the same quality as a full size sensor 
    no matter how many cameras they add to the back of the iPhone

    just like if audio is your greatest feature, you don't use an iphone
    You get a high end high res audio player


    Truer words about a camera were never spoken than the ones coined by photographer Chase Jarvis: "The best camera is the one you have with you." Those words were the ethos of his book, "Best Camera," which may have been the first published collection of exclusively iPhone photographs (the iPhone 4, I believe) by a major photographer to showcase the creative possibilities. With Chase's guiding thought in mind, I decided to sell off all of my pro, full-frame equipment and switch to iPhone photography full time about 8-9 years ago. I had a Nikon D3s, a full set of Nikon's best "gold circle" ED zoom lenses, an 85mm 1.2 prime and a 300mm 2.8 prime. But after two trips aboard when I left this equipment home because I didn't want to lug "the camera trunk" with me, I decided that the quality advantage of pro full frame equipment meant nothing if I didn't have it with me. After selling it off and switching to iPhone photography full-time, I never looked back and have never regretted it. 

    Is full-frame quality better? Of course it is. But better is meaningless if you don't have your camera with you when the opportunity for a great shot appears. Even more importantly, in my opinion: the quality of which current iPhone Pro cameras are capable exceeds what most people who aren't shooting photos for a living will ever need. I currently have a 24" x 36" color print hanging in my living room from an uncropped, no filters image taken with a 13 Pro that sparked a call from the lab which printed it for me, inquiring about the equipment I used to get the shot. No "equipment" -- just my phone. I routinely print 13x19 photos of flower close-ups shot with my iPhone and they are stunning. Would pixel-peeping reveal better quality if I had shot them with my Nikon full-frame equipment? Sure. Providing I had lugged my Nikon equipment along for a walk in the park that day. 
    I agree that most people taking pics don't need higher res to capture duck-face and a throwing a peace sign ( :wink: ), also that the phones are amazing for what they are, but there are enormous quality differences - particularly with low-light and macro shots, where the heavy processing is just terribly visible.  Even for 'normal' shots, a new full-frame + nice glass will handily outperform the phones if you ever pixel-peep or crop.

    There was a point quite a few years back where phones + computational photography had achieved 'close enough' - or in some cases better than what 'real' cameras were doing (e.g. computational low-light performance was better due to image stacking than what cameras were doing) - and hell, even today I'd rather let the phone deal with a backlit person for a media post vs. try to deal with that in some post-processing myself - but between large sensor improvements, lens improvements, and phones increasingly over-processing (mangling) the data even before the 'raw' stage...

    Don't look at a newer mirrorless Nikon/Sony/etc. if you want to save money and be happy with the phone, but the current cameras are *not* what a D3 was.   For telephoto (moon/wildlife) - and macro in particular - there's *no* comparison between the two, for control (real aperture options), quality optics, and for much more natural colors and detail, hands-down.  (I say all of this as a hobbyist.). So like someone mentioned above, it's like audio equipment. :smile: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    As a photographer, it’s a big pet peeve when authors of these articles equate zoom with telephoto. They are not the same thing.
    watto_cobra
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