Apple iPhone XS Digital camera Assessment

155UBER-G SCOREIQCAMERACell Excessive Finish2018-09Apple iPhone XS

As Apple’s main smartphone till Fall 2019, the iPhone XS (and XS Max) additionally has one of the best digital camera that iOS customers should buy as we speak. However how good is it on the world stage and in varied conditions similar to low-light and zoom?

Be taught extra: what’s our Digital camera IQ rating?

We’ll dive into the iPhone XS (and iPhone XS Max) digital camera capabilities on this overview. If you wish to know extra about the remainder of the telephone, examine our full iPhone XS/XS Max telephone overview.

Key Digital camera Specs and Uber-G Digital camera HW Rating

  • Rear Digital camera System (2 cameras)
    • Main: 26mm focal size, f/1.eight aperture, 12 Megapixel, Section Detection AF, OIS
    • Secondary: 52mm focal size, f/2.four aperture, 12 Megapixel, Fastened-focus, OIS
    • Ultrawide: N/A

The iPhone XS and XS have an excellent twin lens setup that serves as a high-performance main digital camera system. The hardware has improved barely because the iPhone X, however is unimpressive by 2018 requirements.

The iPhone XS has a sensor measurement which is similar to the Galaxy Be aware 9, however a lot smaller than the Mate 20 Professional (+70%). The small lens aperture of f/1.eight is a bit stunning and can come again to hang-out the iPhone XS in low-light conditions.

100UBER-G SCOREHWCAMERACell Excessive Finish2018-09Apple iPhone XS

Be taught extra: what’s our digital camera hardware rating?

Picture High quality Evaluation

Necessary: let’s make clear some terminology we’ll be utilizing:

  • “picture processing”: software program work that improves the picture information high quality
  • “picture filtering”: software program work that modifications the fashion (aesthetic) of the photograph.
  • context photograph: an excellent approximation of what we see
    • Together with how darkish the scene really is
    • Solely to offer the context of the shot.

Daylight Images: 187

In daylight conditions, the relative weak spot of the iPhone XS digital camera hardware isn’t a problem in any respect, as a result of there’s loads of gentle (picture information) accessible. In reality, we present that the iPhone XS is a frontrunner in daylight pictures.

Context Shot

Context shot, cropped


For instance, on this scene, the iPhone XS does a wonderful job at preserving colours and particulars, and that is consultant of its efficiency in comparable situations. For instance, in case you evaluate it with the Huawei Mate 20 Professional, it’s evident that the XS can seize higher particulars.


The feel within the timber (to the left) is captured significantly better, and the main points from the home’s siding are nonetheless distinguishable, due to Apple’s picture processing nice steadiness between noise discount and element preservation. On this case, the 16MP OnePlus 6T can’t finest the 12MP iPhone XS/XS Max digital camera in what may have simply been a “megapixel contest”.

Generally, the OnePlus 6T captures higher daylight footage than different smartphones, together with the iPhone XS. Generally, its 16 MP sensor provides it a bonus for scenes the place lots of element is comparatively near the digital camera (not like the earlier instance). This one is an efficient illustration of how the OnePlus 6T was capable of seize some colours and particulars significantly better. That stated, the OP6T has noticeable filtering if you already know what to search for:


Each the iPhone XS and the OnePlus 6T dominated the latest daylight digital camera exams. They’ve barely completely different types with Apple filtering little or no, whereas OnePlus is filtering to extend sharpness and distinction/saturation. When in comparison with actuality, the XS is a bit boring and the OnePlus 6T will get some particulars and colours very effectively, however appears barely unnatural on account of filtering, however to not the purpose of destroying lots of picture information.


We expect that OnePlus may tone the filtering down with out penalties for picture high quality. If something, photographs would in all probability look a bit of higher.

Low-Mild Images: 178

In low-light pictures, the iPhone XS digital camera hardware hinders the efficiency. The small aperture makes it troublesome to seize sufficient gentle to have wonderful shade seize, and particulars have gotten tougher to tell apart. Typically talking, the iPhone XS will stumble upon these points as gentle get scarce.

Context Shot


On this difficult cityscape scene, the iPhone XS is barely under-exposed for the decrease half of the scene however doesn’t have “glowing” lights within the metropolis portion of the photograph. The colours are noticeably boring when in comparison with what the scene actually seemed like (see context shot), and that is, sadly, a recurring theme with low-light iPhone XS footage.

Context photograph: as in case you had been on the scene

A number of the identical remarks will be made for this photograph: an evening shot of a home’s Christmas lights. This scene additionally illustrates how the iPhone XS can lose particulars because the street seems a lot blurrier and clean than it truly is. Though the scene is mostly brilliant within the iPhone XS photograph, colours are boring, and the volumes additionally seem flatter as a result of the brightness in low-light areas has been artificially boosted with HDR composition.


(sorry for misaligning the iPhone on this one :/)

It’s not a horrible iPhone photograph, however the iPhone XS loses lots of particulars on the street. Colours are boring, however on this case, it’s doable to spice up (+52%) the colour saturation in software program to get a more in-depth match to the unique shade hues — let’s name it “iPhone XS Increase” within the subsequent photograph comparisons. That’s exactly what the Pixel three appears to be doing, which is why lots of people would like the Pixel three photograph, particularly when it on the telephone, or in social media. However keep in mind, on the subject of low-light, brighter isn’t all the time higher.


After the saturation tweak, the iPhone XS photograph comes out as visually pleasing because the Pixel three, however once you take a more in-depth look, you’ll be able to see that the XS low-light photograph is usually much less noisy (fairly seen on the automotive/home/sky to the left). This is likely one of the explanation why the iPhone XS might ranks increased than Pixel three in low-light picture information high quality. Pixel three, then again, may be extra “handy”, in case you like flashier colours and dislike modifying earlier than sharing.


That stated, each iPhone XS and Pixel three can’t match the low-light high quality of the Galaxy Be aware 9 which produces higher picture information instantly, with no need for additional processing.


The pictures above present the iPhone XS with a 52% shade increase, subsequent to the Be aware 9 photograph “out of the field” which has extra correct shade hues. Under is the out of the field footage for each telephones. The distinction is kind of giant.


Zoom Images: 87

The iPhone XS zoom capabilities are fairly good, and it reveals that its 2X optical zoom can’t be overwhelmed by good software program such because the Pixel three’s software program zoom. The Pixel three is noticeably extra pixelated, and that’s motive sufficient to need an optical zoom. Nonetheless, in case you’re going to have an optical zoom, a 3X zoom such because the Huawei Mate 20 Professional’s will carry out significantly better and be extra helpful in real-world conditions.

Context shot, what the scene appears like when zoomed in


Apple goes for a noisier however extra pure photograph fashion. Samsung has opted for the precise oppositve with a extra filtered however much less noisy photograph tuning. Neither are excellent, they usually really go in reverse fashion instructions.

The iPhone XS’ zoom places it in as we speak’s top-5 zoom by way of picture high quality, and it comes with a unique trade-off in comparison with the closest competitors: once more the Be aware 9 / S9+. Sure, each Samsung telephones have the identical hardware, however the Galaxy Be aware 9 has benefited from vital digital camera software program updates.


The Huawei Mate 20 Professional and P20 Professional stay the highest zoom cell digital camera. It’s not even a contest.

Samsung typically carried out higher, with better-preserved particulars, which is the first energy of a helpful zoom characteristic. The road mural reveals that very effectively letters being extra legible on the Galaxy Be aware 9. Once more, Pixel three is constantly behind the iPhone XS in zoom exams.

Context Shot, we’re going to zoom on the road artwork


Ultrawide Images: N/A

Sadly, the iPhone XS doesn’t embrace assist for ultrawide (~16mm) pictures. That’s a pity as a result of ultrawide opens lots of photograph prospects that Android customers can get pleasure from proper now. It’s rumored that the next-gen iPhone may need a devoted ultrawide digital camera, but it surely stays to be seen.

Conclusion and Uber-G Digital camera IQ rating


From a photo-quality perspective, the iPhone XS is a superb daylight digital camera that captures nice footage when the lighting situations are favorable. That is certainly due to Apple’s digital camera software program engineers who’ve achieved a wonderful digital camera tuning job.

Definitely, many digital camera customers can even just like the relative lack of image-filtering results on the iPhone XS digital camera. A number of the image-processing we’ve seen includes HDR picture processing to equalize the brightness ranges and keep away from over-exposure when doable. Nonetheless, an excessive amount of of it may possibly additionally diminish volumes, shadows and result in a extra flat-looking picture.

For low-light conditions, Apple must assist its software program with higher digital camera hardware. There’s simply no means round it even when the iPhone XS ranks fairly effectively in that class. The Galaxy Be aware 9 and S9 are means forward at night time, and fairly shut through the day.

Be taught extra: what’s our Digital camera IQ rating, and full rankings

155UBER-G SCOREIQCAMERACell Excessive Finish2018-09Apple iPhone XS

Uber-G Digital camera IQ Sub-scores
Day 187
Night time 178
Zoom 87
Ultrawide N/A

Don’t miss out full iPhone XS smartphone overview in case you are contemplating getting one, and thanks to your curiosity on this XS / XS Max digital camera overview!

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Filed in Cellphones >Critiques. Learn extra about Editorspick, Iphone Xs, Iphone Xs Max and _dark_theme.

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