With the launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple further improved the already excellent cameras from its previous generation, and added a variety of new features it hopes will continue to make the iPhone the world’s most popular camera. The iPhone 7 camera represents a very solid evolution over the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in both features and image quality. All three phones feature a 12MP 1/3-inch sensor, and a wide-angle (28mm equivalent) lens. However, the iPhone 7 has a brighter lens – f/1.8 compared to the f/2.2 of the 6 and 6s. It also adds optical image stabilization, previously only found in Apple’s Plus models. Improved image processing and a more power efficient sensor rounds out its new feature set.
The iPhone 7 put in a solid performance when it was first tested using our original DxOMark Mobile test protocol. Read on to find out how it did in our new test.
- 12 MP 1/3-inch image sensor
- f/1.8 aperture
- 28mm equivalent focal length
- Optical image stabilization
- Dual-tone four-LED flash
- 7 MP / f/2.2 front camera
- 4.7-inch 750 x 1334 display
- Apple A10 Fusion chipset
Please note that for this article we have retested the Apple iPhone 7 with our new DxOMark Mobile test protocol that includes tests for zoom and bokeh quality among other improvements. You can still find our much more comprehensive original iPhone 7 review from September 2016 here.
Conclusion: Significant advances and improvements over the iPhone 6 family
Apple’s iPhone 7 improves on the image quality of its predecessors, with a more powerful image processor helping to produce image quality improvements beyond those provided by the new sensor and re-designed lens. With advances in dynamic range and detail capture, as well as significantly reduced artifacts and very good image stabilization the iPhone 7 performs particularly well in bright light conditions, making it a great smartphone camera for outdoor enthusiasts shooting landscapes, street scenes, architecture, or portraits in good light.
- Very good exposure and dynamic range
- Stable and accurate white balance
- Good detail in bright light
- Fast autofocus in bright light
- Good white balance and color and low noise in flash mode
- Good stabilization
- Fast and smooth autofocus in bright light
- Good detail in bright light
- Vivid and pleasant colors
- Loss of very fine detail in bright and low light
- Luminance noise in low light
- Some autofocus irregularities noticeable in all conditions
- Unstable autofocus over consecutive shots and strong vignetting with flash
- Strong luminance noise in low light
- Occasionally unstable exposure and white balance transition
- Slight frame-shifting is noticeable indoors and with walking movement
- Autofocus slows down in low light
Comparing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
The iPhone 7 Plus features additional capabilities based on its dual-camera architecture. It is not the first phone with a dual-camera, but it was one of the first to use the second camera for an optical zoom and computed depth information. Its new Portrait mode uses the depth information gleaned from analyzing the images from both of its cameras to selectively-blur image backgrounds, while keeping the subject sharp. This mimics the shallow DOF effect and pleasing Bokeh that photographers using DSLRs and other standalone cameras have been able to achieve. With our new test protocols, we are able to evaluate how well those features perform, and how much difference they make in image quality compared to the single camera iPhone 7.
Because the main cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the same, most of our test results for them are similar. So to learn more about their camera features and imaging performance, as well as see how the new Zoom and Portrait features stack up in our tests, we’ve provided a special detailed analysis of how the two phones’ cameras compare.