Back to Smartphones
Home > Smartphones > Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Ultra-Premium

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max Camera review: Apple flagship imaging

Reading Time: 5 min read
137
camera

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the largest and most expensive model in Apple’s 2021 smartphone line-up and features a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display with 1284 x 2778 pixels resolution. Like the smaller iPhone 13 Pro, it is powered by Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chipset and comes with up to 1TB of internal storage.

Both models also use the same camera setup that now comes with a larger sensor and faster aperture in the primary cam, compared to last year’s 12 Pro and Pro Max models. On the ultra-wide sensor, size remains unchanged but there’s also a faster aperture plus a PDAF autofocus system versus the fixed-focus lens on the iPhone 12 series. On the tele camera, Apple has increased the reach, and the models now offer a 3x optical magnification compared to the primary camera.

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

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 12 MP sensor, 1.9µm pixels, 26 mm equivalent f/1.5-aperture lens, sensor-shift OIS, Dual Pixel AF
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP sensor, 13mm equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF, 2cm macro
  • Tele: 12 MP sensor, 77 mm equivalent f/2.8-aperture lens, OIS
  • 3D sensor
  • 4K at 24/25/30/60 fps, 1080p at 25/30/60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision
  • Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)

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 Pro Max
137
camera
144
photo
76
zoom
119
video

Pros

  • Accurate and repeatable target exposure
  • Nice color and white balance
  • Nice skin tones in most light conditions, even in complex  backlit scenes
  • Fast, accurate and repeatable autofocus
  • Good detail in indoor and outdoor conditions
  • Accurate and stable target exposure with fairly wide dynamic range in video
  • Well-managed texture/noise trade-off in video
  • Accurate white balance indoors and outdoors, smooth transitions in scene changes
  • Good autofocus tracking and smooth refocusing

Cons

  • Luminance noise on primary, ultra-wide and tele, especially in low light
  • Limited dynamic range in challenging high contrast scenes
  • Artifacts including flare, slight  ringing, and color quantization
  • Limited detail in long-range zoom shots
  • Occasional pink white balance casts in some conditions and some white balance variations in videos
  • Lens flare and ghosting, especially in low light video
  • Some loss of texture in video, especially on faces in daylight and indoor conditions
  • Sharpness differences between video frames and strong residual motion in video that is recorded while running

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

In this backlit indoor scene, you can see that image results from the 13 Pro Max and 13 Pro are as good as identical. Both cameras manage good exposure on the subjects, but limited dynamic range means the sky in the background is clipped fairly heavily. Detail is good on the front subject, but the larger sensor in the new models comes with a slightly more limited depth of field. As a consequence, the subject in the back is out of focus.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, backlit indoor scene, good subject exposure but limited dynamic range
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, crop: good detail, limited depth of field
Apple iPhone 13 Pro, pretty much identical exposure
Apple iPhone 13 Pro, crop: pretty much identical detail and depth of field

The situation is very similar for this medium-range tele shot that was captured in low light. The two images are pretty much indistinguishable, with the same amount of noise and level of detail.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, medium range tele
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, crop: some noise, loss of detail
Apple iPhone 13 Pro, medium range tele
Apple iPhone 13 Pro, crop: pretty much identical image quality

Like the 13 Pro, the 13 Pro Max comes with an excellent autofocus system. The camera focuses accurately and very quickly, thanks to a negative shutter lag; the image is captured even slightly before the shutter is triggered.

Autofocus comparison (20 lux, 7EV, handheld): identical performance to iPhone 13 Pro

Our testers observed a very similar video performance to the 13 Pro, too, with the same exposure and color rendering as well as very similar video stabilization results.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, same residual motion and sharpness differences between frames

Apple iPhone 13 Pro, very similar video performance

Given the identical results, we are posting only this short article for the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. For the full set 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 Pro.

Go to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Camera review

DXOMARK invites our readership (you) to post comments on the articles on this website. Read more about our Comment Policy.