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Apple iPhone 13 Camera review: Reliable imaging companion

Reading Time: 5 min read
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camera

The Apple iPhone 13 shares most specs, including the camera setup, with the smaller iPhone 13 mini. The main difference is the size of the Super Retina XDR display which measures 6.1 inches on the iPhone 13 and 5.4 on the mini. The device is powered by Apple’s own A15 chipset and available with up to 512GB of built-in storage.

In the camera department, the iPhone 13 cannot offer a dedicated tele module but comes with several improvements over last year’s generation. The new primary module uses the same size sensor as last year’s top-of-the-line iPhone 12 Pro Max and there is now Dual-Pixel autofocus instead of PDAF. Light is channeled through an f/1.6-aperture lens and a sensor-shift stabilization system is keeping things steady. The primary module is accompanied by an ultra-wide camera that features the same tech specs as on the iPhone 12 generation.

Read on to find out how the all-new iPhone 13 camera performed in our DXOMARK Camera tests.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 12 MP sensor, 1.7µm pixels, 26 mm equivalent f/1.6-aperture lens, Dual-Pixel AF, sensor-shift OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 12 MP sensor 13 mm equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens, 120-degree field of view
  • 4K video at 24/25/30/60 fps, 1080p at 25/30/60 fps, HDR with Dolby Vision

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary


Apple iPhone 13
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Pros

  • Accurate and repeatable target exposure
  • Generally nice colors and white balance, pleasant skin tones in most light conditions, even in complex backlit scenes
  • Fast, accurate and repeatable autofocus
  • Good detail in daylight and under indoor lighting
  • Accurate and stable exposure, wide dynamic range in video
  • Good texture/noise trade-off in video
  • Accurate white balance in video, smooth transition on scene changes
  • Mostly accurate and smooth video autofocus

Cons

  • Luminance noise on primary and ultra-wide cameras, especially in low light
  • Limited dynamic range in challenging high contrast scenes
  • Image artifacts, including flare, slight ringing and  color quantization
  • Limited detail when using medium to long-range zoom
  • Noise in video, especially in low light
  • Lens flare and ghosting in video, especially in low light
  • Some loss of texture in video, especially on faces in daylight and indoor conditions
  • Sharpness differences between video frames, strong residual motion in videos recorded while running

With the Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini sharing the same rear camera specs and processor, it’s fair to assume the Apple iPhone 13 results are very close to those of the iPhone 13 MINI in all conditions. We have confirmed this by putting the Apple iPhone 13 through the complete DXOMARK Camera test protocol. Let’s have a look at a few examples.

When capturing these outdoor scenes the iPhone 13 and 13 mini produce virtually identical image results.

Apple iPhone 13, accurate target exposure, nice colors
Apple iPhone 13 mini, very similar exposure and color

The same is true for this indoor scene. Both cameras manage good exposure and nice colors. In the 100% crop you can see that some luminance noise is noticeable.

Apple iPhone 13, indoor scene, good target exposure, nice color
Apple iPhone 13, crop: good detail, some luminance noise
Apple iPhone 13 mini, pretty much identical exposure and color
Apple iPhone 13 mini, crop: pretty much identical noise

The measurements for detail in the lab are very close between the two models across all light levels and conditions.

Detail comparison: very similar level of detail as the iPhone 13 mini

The situation is the same for video as it is for the still images. Video clips captured with the Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini look very similar.

Apple iPhone 13, nice color, good exposure and detail, but also some flare

Apple iPhone 13 mini, very similar video performance

Given the identical results, we are posting only this short article for the Apple iPhone 13. For the full set of of sample images and measurements as well as a complete analysis, please click on the link below and read the full review of the Apple iPhone 13 mini.

Go to the Apple iPhone 13 mini Camera review

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