Apple’s new iPhones this year might have 5G support as their headlining feature but they might be better remembered for their photography capabilities. At least as far as the biggest and most expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max is concerned, Apple is catching up with the top performers in DxOMark’s benchmarks. Not all 2020 iPhones are created equal and not all of them have the same cameras. While the iPhone 12 Pro models are just two points shy of each other, the non-Pro iPhone 12 might leave some mobile photographers a bit wanting.
Given what it has, the iPhone 12’s less than stellar scores aren’t exactly that surprising. It only has two cameras, both with 12 megapixel sensors, and no dedicated hardware for zooming or 3D perception. In that context, it’s actually impressive that the iPhone 12 would even reach these high scores, a testament to Apple’s efforts in optimizing both hardware and software despite the limitations.
When it comes to stills, the iPhone 12 does quite well, falling within DxOMark’s top 10 for photos. Its biggest strength is the fast and accurate autofocus, which is remarkable when there are no dedicated sensors to help with that. DxOMark notes, however, that the phone falls short when it comes to minimizing noise.
That same flaw appears in video recording but was thankfully not enough to pull it down so low. In fact, the iPhone 12 occupies the third spot in this category, just behind the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Autofocus is again a key strength and accurate exposure and wide dynamic range are attributed to support for Dolby Vision HDR.
The iPhone 12’s biggest weaknesses in DxOMark’s eyes are its bokeh simulation and zoom, both of which have no dedicated hardware for support. That said, the iPhone 12 offers a solid photography experience for those on a tighter budget but consumers who have no platform loyalties might be tempted away by phones from Samsung, OPPO, and even Vivo.