What many folks are calling a slow year of advancements in the iPhone 15 lineup is far from true for the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera. Willy-nilly use of the word “lenses” aside, there are more framing options this year thanks to extra digital lenses and a dedicated 5x telephoto lens. The video quality is now the best you can get on a smartphone and even offers a ProRes log output. Photos of people at night have improved dramatically. And a software trick allows you to add a portrait mode blur effect after a photo is taken. These are some of the small changes that make for a better experience, but as a professional photographer, there is still a missing piece.
Every year, I set out to take 1,000 photos with the newest smartphone camera systems. And this year, I got to take my YouTube series “Full Frame” on the road to Southern California, where I put the iPhone 15 Pro Max to the test. I did everything they tell you not to do in the desert, including off-roading in a rental car, hiking in the middle of the day, and climbing sand dunes at night. But I came home with over 1,500 photos and videos from what is certainly Apple’s best camera system to date.
Above are my 10 favorite photos I took with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but check out the video for more samples and to learn about the one thing Apple wrongfully left out of this system.