Apple focused a lot on pro camera features in the new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max during this week’s launch event.
In fact, Apple eliminated so many concepts, terms, and acronyms in such a short time that it might have left your head spinning.
Fear not, now that we have time to breathe, we can go over these characteristics and explain their meaning.
Let’s start with the info dump on this slide:
Focal length is an abbreviation to explain how wide the image the camera lens will capture. The lower the number, the wider the capture.
Technically here, the lens is not a 24 millimeter lens, but a 24 millimeter equivalent lens, but we’ll skip over that.
2.44 microns (micron) is the size of the pixels that capture light on the sensor, and quad pixel refers to how four pixels are grouped together to act as a larger 2.44 micron pixel.
Each 2 × 2 group of pixels is assigned a single color, and four of these pixel packets are grouped into two green packets and one blue and red packet. Green gets more pixels because the human eye is the most sensitive to that color.
100% focus pixels It means that all pixels are used to focus the image. In the past, only some of the pixels were used, but now using all the pixels is common in high-end sensors.
Opening refers to the amount of light that the lens lets into the sensor and is measured in stop f numbers. The lower this number, the more light the lens will let in.
OIS stands for Optical Image Stabilization, which is a technique in which the lens or sensor shifts to compensate for camera shake while the photo is being taken.
Other terms eliminated during the event were RAW and ProRAW.
RAW can be thought of as a digital negative (remember film negatives?), which is a file format that saves the raw data captured by the sensor without processing or converting it into a file, such as a JPG. RAW files are larger and contain more detail, but require editing before printing or posting to social media.
ProRAW is a file format from Apple that uses the industry-standard digital negative (DNG) file format to allow the file to be edited with high-end editing tools such as Adobe Lightroom.
Another widely used term was optical zoomwhich is a technique in which the image is magnified by the lens itself, unlike digital zoom, which simply crops into the image and loses detail as a result.
There’s also HDR, which stands for high dynamic range photography. This is a technique that combines multiple images into a single image to get more details in the highlights (bright areas) and shadows (dark areas).
Macro Photography is where you get close to your subject, such as flowers or insects, to take close-ups.
Now, let’s move on to the video, and the first thing I need to explain is ProRes.
Apple talks a lot about ProRes because it is a video codec (short for encoder/decoder or sometimes compressor/decompressor) developed by Apple. ProRes, which dates back to 2007, is special because, while it compresses video (and this compression will invariably result in the loss of some image detail (this is often called “lossy”)), this lost image detail It is not visually noticeable.
To put it another way, ProRes is a visually lossy and lossless video compression format.
The downside to ProRes is that the file sizes are huge, but it makes editing much easier and better.
To mitigate the enormous storage needs that ProRes places on videographers, the iPhone 15 Pro supports recording to external drives, such as the Samsung T7 SSD — meaning you’re not limited to the storage space you have available on your iPhone.
Two other bits of jargon scattered across the camera coverage were Record coding and LUT.
Log encoding is a profile that records video with a flat, dull color profile to capture and maintain more detail in highlights and shadows. The iPhone 15 Pro is the first smartphone to support ACES, the Academy’s color coding system.
The disadvantage is that this format must be edited before use, and one of the editing steps is to apply a LUT or lookup table, which is a file that contains information to remap and transform flat footage into color-enabled video. contrast, which can then be edited further to match your desired style.
Editing video formatted in Log (and working with LUTs) requires professional tools, such as Adobe Premier Pro.
I hope this summary helps those of you who were confused by some of the terminology used, and maybe even encourages you to be a little more creative (or technical) in your photography or videography.