Apple iPhone 7 Plus Review

October 25, 2016 | Amy Davies | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3Mb.

In bright light, image quality directly from the iPhone 7 Plus is very impressive. Colours are vivid and bold, and especially if you view them on the iPhone 7 Plus screen they are great to look at. They’re also good if you view them on a computer or another device, but the iPhone 7 Plus’ screen really makes them sing.

The amount of detail is also good, but you can see some image smoothing if you examine them at 100% - how often you’re likely to do that with an iPhone image is questionable of course.

When it comes to the second camera, the performance is just as good when the light is bright, but you can really tell that the aperture isn't quite as wide as on the first camera. If the light is a little darker, then the f/2.8 aperture compared with the f/1.8 aperture of the wide angle camera is pretty apparent as the ISO will be ramped right up. Remember that there’s no way to control the ISO from the native camera app, so if you’re finding this particularly problematic, it’s worth using one of the apps which gives you control over settings which you can change.

Still, it’s useful to have the “optical zoom” as it means you don’t have to use the digital zoom - which is still best avoided unless you’re absolutely desperate.

The Portrait mode yields some mixed results. It’s worth remembering that this particular function is only available in Beta right now, so it could be improved. The results tend to be quite impressive on the smalls screen of an iPhone 7 Plus, but if you blow them up to any decent size - even zooming in on the phone screen - you can see areas of the image where it hasn’t quite worked and looks a little fake, a bit like someone has faked the effect in Photoshop. Almost any DSLR or CSC would get you better results, but for something which you can slip in your pocket it’s an interesting development - and, it performs better than some of the other dual camera setup effects we’ve seen on the market lately (such as the Huawei P9).

Exposures are well balanced, and it’s rare you need to touch the exposure compensation, unless the scene that you’re photographing is particularly high contrast. Similarly, automatic white balance is pretty good in a range of conditions, erring slightly towards warmer tones under artificial lights, but nothing too problematic. Again, if you want to change white balance you’ll need a separate app which gives you manual control.

Optical image stabilisation does a good job of keeping shots blur free in most every day situations providing you’re not moving the phone too much, or of course if the subject itself is moving. The flash on the rear of the camera is a little harsh, and is probably best avoided unless the situation is really dark - certainly for portraits it’s a little unnatural looking.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right.

JPEG

RAW

 

ISO 32 (100% Crop)

ISO 32 (100% Crop)

 
iso32.jpg iso32raw.jpg  
     

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

 
iso50.jpg iso50raw.jpg  

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg  

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg  

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg  

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg  

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg  

Focal Range

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus's lens provides 2 fixed focal lengths, 28mm and 56mm, in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

28mm

56mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Macro

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera.

Macro

macro.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus are Off, On and Auto. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Wide Off

Flash Wide On

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Tele Off

Flash Tele On

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots.

Flash Off

Flash On

flash_off.jpg flash_on.jpg

Portrait Mode

The portrait mode uses both lenses to recreate the look of a DSLR or CSC with a wide aperture lens. Even though it’s called Portrait, you can use it with other subjects that you might want to isolate from the background, but it will only work in certain conditions.

Portrait Mode - Off

portraitmodeoff.jpg
 

Portrait Mode - On

porraitmodeon.jpg
 

Portrait Mode - Off

portraitmodeoff2.jpg
 

Portrait Mode - Off

portraitmodeon2.jpg

Filters

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus offers 8 different digital filter effects.

Chrome

Fade

filterchrome.jpg filterfade.jpg
   

Instant

Mono

filterinstant.jpg filtermono.jpg
   

Noir

Process

filternoir.jpg filterprocess.jpg
   

Tonal

Transfer

filtertonal.jpg filtertransfer.jpg

Panorama

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera automatically does all the processing and stitching.

panorama.jpg