Smartphones > Apple iPhone SE (2022) > Camera Test Results
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Apple iPhone SE (2022) Camera test

This device has been retested in the latest version of our protocol. Overall, sub-scores and attributes are up to date. For detailed information, check the What’s New article
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Competing in the High-end price segment, the Apple iPhone SE (2022) is the most affordable way to own a new iPhone. With a 4.7-inch IPS display, the device is fairly compact and powered by Apple’s own A15 Bionic chipset. In the camera department, the SE focuses on the essential and only comes with a 12MP wide-angle camera.

With no ultra-wide or dedicated tele camera on offer, let’s see how the Apple iPhone SE (2022) shapes up against the competition from the Android camp.

Key camera specifications:

  • 12MP sensor
  • f/1.8-aperture lens
  • OIS
  • LED flash
  • 4K at 24/25/30/60fps, 1080p at 25/30/60fps (tested at 4K/30fps)

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

Scoring

Sub-scores and attributes included in the calculations of the global score.


Apple iPhone SE (2022)
100
camera
126
photo
100

117

111

119

114

116

86

114

77

115

75

81

50
bokeh
50

80

71
preview
71

91

29
zoom
25

116

0

117

106
video
100

115

100

117

63

117

96

115

106

118

83

86

104

117

Use cases & Conditions

Use case scores indicate the product performance in specific situations. They are not included in the overall score calculations.

BEST 165

Outdoor

Photos & videos shot in bright light conditions (≥1000 lux)

BEST 151

Indoor

Photos & videos shot in good lighting conditions (≥100lux)

BEST 122

Lowlight

Photos & videos shot in low lighting conditions (<100 lux)

BEST 142

Friends & Family

Portrait and group photo & videos

Please be aware that beyond this point, we have not modified the initial test results. While data and products remain fully comparable, you might encounter mentions and references to the previous scores.

Pros

  • Good exposure in bright light and indoors for photo and video
  • Fast and accurate autofocus, wide depth of field
  • Accurate colors and neutral white balance
  • Preview image is close to final capture
  • Fairly good texture/noise trade-off in bright light video
  • Nice color in bright light and indoor video

Cons

  • Lack of fine detail
  • Luminance and chroma noise
  • Image artifacts, including ringing ghosting and color fringing
  • Strong lack of detail when tele zooming
  • Occasionally extremely underexposed night shots in flash-off mode
  • Strong underexposure and shadow clipping in low light video
  • Low texture/noise trade-off and indoor and low light video
  • White balance casts in video
  • Ineffective video stabilization and autofocus instabilities when moving while recording video

With a DXOMARK Camera score of 118, the Apple iPhone SE (2022) does well in its segment and has made significant improvements over its predecessor the iPhone SE (2020). But the lack of ultra wide and tele cameras on the 2022 version means it cannot quite keep up with the best-in-class Google Pixel 6.

When capturing still images, exposure is good in bright light and under typical indoor conditions, but images shot in low light are often underexposed. The autofocus performs well and is quite fast, thanks to zero-shutter-lag technology. A wide depth of field means background subjects are rendered sharp. Color rendering is accurate, with fairly neutral white balance.

On the downside, the texture/noise trade-off is fairly low. Images lack fine detail, and luminance noise and low-frequency chroma noise are often noticeable. Our testers occasionally also found artifacts, such as ringing, ghosting and color fringing.

This graph shows that the iPhone SE is capable of capturing good detail when mounted on a tripod in bright light and indoors. However, things quickly go downhill in low light. When handholding the phone detail is preservation is already low at indoor light levels and drops further in low light.

This graph shows DMC detail preservation against the light level (in lux). The DMC detail preservation metric is an AI-based texture analysis, trained on selected crops from the DMC chart.

Zooming isn’t a strong point of the iPhone SE. Without an ultra wide camera there simply is no way to zoom out from the primary camera. Tele-zooming is done purely digitally, which results in a strong loss of detail as you can see in the samples below.

Apple iPhone SE (2022), long range tele
Apple iPhone SE (2022), crop: lack of detail, limited dynamic range, noise
Apple iPhone 13 mini, long range tele
Apple iPhone 13 mini, crop: lack of detail, limited dynamic range, noise
Xiaomi 12, long range tele
Xiaomi 12, crop: lack of detail, better dynamic range, noise

In video mode, the camera produces accurate exposure in bright light and indoors but, like for stills, underexposure can occur in low light. While recording in bright light or indoors white balance is fairly neutral and colors are pleasant and saturated. Autofocus can be a little unstable, though. This is particularly noticeable with moving subjects in the scene. The footage lacks fine detail, and while noise is only slightly visible outdoors it becomes more intrusive indoors and in low light, with some chroma noise mixed in. Stabilization works well while recording statically, but when moving or running while recording there’s a lot of camera shake.

In this sample clip, the face is well exposed, and a wide dynamic range ensures good detail on both face and sky. Exposure and dynamic range are also fairly stable across the entire video. Colors are pleasant, with good saturation, but some autofocus instabilities and pumping are noticeable. When it’s in focus, the face has good detail, though, and noise is low. The stabilization system is not capable of compensating for all camera motion.

Apple iPhone SE (2022), good exposure, good detail and low noise on face, autofocus instabilities, camera shake

Apple iPhone 13 mini, better texture, lower noise, effective stabilization

Xiaomi 12, better texture, lower noise, effective stabilization, blue cast

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