Apple is adding an extra layer of differentiation to its 2016 iPhone 7 Plus model with the introduction of a brand new dual-camera system. Revealed a little early by Apple's tweets, all we know of it so far is that there are indeed two lenses sitting side by side, and that's distinct from the regular iPhone 7's single camera lens. One of Apple's (now retracted) tweets explains further: "Two all-new cameras that shoot as one for high-res optical zoom at 2x."
Before diving into the full details of Apple's new iPhone 7 cameras, you should read up on our earlier coverage of the two most prominent dual-camera phone systems to date, the LG G5 and Huawei P9:
So what's new with the new iPhones? Here's Apple's quick-fire list for mobile photographers:
- Optical image stabilization is now on both new iPhones, whereas it was only on the larger Plus model previously. Apple says it allows for up to 3x longer exposures.
- The aperture on the iPhone 7 camera is wider, at f/1.8, letting in up to 50 percent more light.
- The front-facing camera is an upgraded 7-megapixel sensor with "auto image stabilization."
- You can shoot RAW DNG photos.
- Quad-LED True Tone flash on both new iPhones.
- The iPhone 7 Plus has the same 28mm-equivalent, 12-megapixel lens as the iPhone 7, but it adds a second 12-megapixel telephoto lens. This allows for up to 2x optical zoom, though Apple expands it all the way up to 10x via software — if you're okay with the image degradation that would result in those cases.
- Bokeh! The iPhone 7 Plus uses machine learning to recognize people's faces, do a depth-map of their position, and then artfully blur out the background behind the people you're photographing. This feature, called Depth (because it simulates extra shallow depth), will be available as a software update and won't ship immediately with the phone.
- Apple has overhauled the iPhone's Image Signal Processor in order to facilitate all of the above.