Try Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max: the Pro range in a whole new dynamic

Try Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max: the Pro range in a whole new dynamic

Apple changes its formula this year and abandons its 12-megapixel wide-angle module to go to 48 Mpx. The lens opens at f/1.8 with a 24mm equivalence, but mostly smaller pixels of 1.22μm. It is always accompanied by a 12 Mpx ultra wide angle (f / 2.2) and a 12 Mpx 3x telephoto lens as well. As in 2021, the ultra wide angle doubles as a macro lens, but it’s been improved on the 14 Pro models, allowing you to get even closer to a subject in greater detail.

Main module: 48 MP, f/1.8, eq. 24mm

As we usually explain about Android smartphones, the change in definition in the wide-angle module is accompanied this year by the arrival of the pixel bonding on the iPhone This means that by default the smartphone will shoot at 12 Mpx, but it is possible to go to full definition to obtain better image quality. We have detailed this process in detail in a dedicated 48MP ProRAW mode article.

For this test, therefore, we will analyze the 12 Mpx shots of the iPhone 14 Pro Max against those of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Note that unlike the iPhone, which uses a grouping by 4, Samsung takes advantage of a grouping by 9. So South Korean merges 9 pixels to form 1.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12MP, 23mm equivalent, f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/50s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12 MP, 24mm equivalent, f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/234 s)

If the iPhone 14 Pro Max in general offers a more neutral and closer to reality image, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra perhaps offers a slightly more pleasing result to the eye. Despite a slightly strong exposure, the latter benefits from better sharpness. The micro-contrast present in the iPhone image may well accentuate details, but the South Korean smartphone does a little better here.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12 MP, 23 mm equivalent, f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/0 s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12MP, 24mm equivalent, f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/25s)

In low light conditions, the iPhone 14 Pro Max does not overexpose its shot, unlike Samsung, which offers an orange image with a very warm tone. Once again, we note the presence of microcontrast in the photo captured by the Apple model, which accentuates the details. Perhaps even a bit too much given the white edges that appear in certain areas of our photographic scene. But in the end, the two shots are just as detailed, and it’s the post-processing that sets them apart. The iPhone prefers to turn to something more natural, unlike the Samsung.

Ultra wide angle module: 12 Mpx, f/2.2, eq. 14mm

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12MP, 13mm equivalent, f/2.2, ISO 80, 1/100s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12MP, 14mm equivalent, f/2.2, ISO 40, 1/99s)

At the ultra wide angle, our analyzes could be the same as those done at the wide angle. With this module, the iPhone 14 Pro Max goes up less in sensitivity than its opponent, allowing it to maintain a “clean” image where the S22 sees the appearance of digital noise (visible on the black background). Again, Apple’s software micro-contrast enhancement plays a bit with the sharpness of the image, which can therefore appear less detailed than Samsung’s. In an attempt to raise the level of detail, the South Korean model plays with the exposure of the image.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12 MP, 13mm equivalent, f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/16s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12MP, 14mm equivalent, f/2.2, ISO 2000, 1/25s)

However, at night, the rendering of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is superior. The one on the iPhone suffers from overly aggressive software processing, which is unfortunate. Overall, the smartphone photo provided by Samsung is more flattering.

3x telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.8, eq. 77mm

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (10 MP, 230 mm equivalent, f/2.4, ISO 800, 1/33 s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12 MP, 77mm equivalent, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/100s)

The iPhone 14 Pro Max manages to catch up with the telephoto lens. The result it offers during the day is much better than that of the Samsung. Both terminals offer 3x optical magnification, but the image of the Galaxy S22 Ultra lacks sharpness. Apple’s model is clearly superior here, with good colorimetry and an acceptable level of sharpness for this type of lens.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (10 MP, 230 mm equivalent, f/2.4, ISO 800, 1/33 s)

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max (12 MP, 77mm equivalent, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 1/20s)

At night, it’s always a bit tricky. Few smartphones can boast of a decent result with their telephoto lens. Most often it is because it is just a crop in the image taken with the wide angle module. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for either challenger, and even if the iPhone tends to offer a more qualitative photo than the Samsung, it’s just as hard to really exploit.

Front module, portrait and video mode

At the front, there is also change. Apple maintains a 12 Mpx module, but gives it a better aperture (f/1.9) and, above all, adds autofocus. As a result, selfies are much brighter, better exposed and above all sharper. The autofocus contribution is really felt and it’s a shame Apple had to wait this long before integrating one into its front end module.

These additions also benefit portrait mode. If the iPhone is not yet the king of this function, it must be recognized that the company has been able to improve on the ground over time. The cut is still not perfect and you may encounter problems when faced with curly, loose hair or an unstructured cut. On the other hand, with the rear modules, the portrait mode produces small wonders. Cropping is very good, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max even manages to blur a foreground object to leave only the face revealed (a hand upstream of the face, for example). By default, portrait mode on the back is based on the x2 zoom that Apple reintroduced this year, but it’s possible to switch to x3.

True portable cameras, the iPhone has established itself as a benchmark in this field. Obviously, the 14 Pro Max model was not going to be a game changer. We start with the cinematic mode introduced last year, which now allows shooting up to 4K HDR at 30fps. Another novelty, the Action mode that transforms this iPhone into an action camera. So the tremors are very limited, nowhere near a live action camera. That said, the option does the job well. For all other video, the iPhone 14 Pro Max can record 4K up to 60fps or 1080p up to 60fps. Recording can also be done in Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60fps. Finally, let’s finish with the possibility of filming in macro, slow motion or accelerated.

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