The iPhone XR featured just one camera in its back - a 12MP shooter with OIS and bright lens. The iPhone 11 adds a second camera - the new 12MP ultrawide snapper.
The iPhone 11 features the same wide and ultrawide 12MP cameras as the Pro models at the back, it just lacks the zoom snapper. It has the same selfie arrangement at the front, too.
So, the iPhone 11 has an all-new dual camera with 12MP sensors. The main shooter has large 1.4µm pixels, wide 26mm f/1.8 lens, optical image stabilization (OIS) and Dual Pixel AF. Night Mode is available on this camera, and Deep Fusion should come with an update, too.
The new member of the family is a third 12MP sensor with 1.0µm pixels sitting behind the 13mm (120°) ultra wide-angle lens. There is neither stabilization nor autofocus for this camera.
The selfie camera got an upgrade, too. The 3D TOF snapper stays for Face ID, portraits, and various Animojis. But the actual selfie snapper is now a 12MP shooter behind wider 23mm f/2.2 lens - up from 30mm lens on the previous iPhones. Apple kept the old view though - if you shoot in portrait - it will simulate 32mm lens view and save a 7MP selfies as before while rotating the iPhone in landscape uses the full 12MP resolution and FoV. There is a virtual switch for this view, so while it is kind of automated, you can always change it manually.
The new main snapper on the iPhone 11 enjoy expanded ISO sensitivity, there are new min/max exposure times, too.
The cameras always talk to each other, so when you switch between them, they already know the correct focus, exposure, and tone mapping settings. This applies for both stills and videos.
The first thing anyone will notice is the viewfinder - you can see outside of the viewfinder thanks to some proper camera calibration, which allows seeing what will be left outside of the frame in real-time. This change may not sound that important at first, but we can confirm it really makes for a more immersive camera experience.
But if you enable Photo Capture Outside the Frame and/or Video Capture Outside the Frame, you can reap the benefits from this awesome calibration later in settings. The new camera app automatically captures what is outside the frame of the main view with information from the ultrawide snapper. Then the Photos app will automatically suggest you grab a wider shot if there were people cut from a group photo or parts of a building were left out, and similar features.
This extra footage requires extra space, so we'd imagine the 64GB model will be hardly enough, but the good news is if you don't use the extra info, it will be deleted after 30 days. At least you don't need to think about that, too.
It works mostly as advertised - if you open Photos and have a person cut, you will see a new icon popping at the top right corner and after a second you will see the improved photo or video. You can either keep it this way - automatically adjusted, or you can hit this button and revert to original.
Note that you can disable the automatic adjustments from the Camera settings and instead you will be able to choose the crop later from the new Editing mode. Just go there to Crop, tap the multi-crop icon and see all this new processing power in action.
And by the way - this is Crop Outside Frame is not exclusive to photos, you can do it in videos too and apply similar edits.
We have to admit that features like this Crop Outside Frame are what often distinguished Apple from the rest - the software magic was quite the thing at the past, but it vanished for a few years. And we are happy to see Apple is returning to its roots and hope to see even more of the new processing power harnessed in the future.
And speaking of power, the Crop Outside Frame for videos makes use of the two snappers at the back, but some third-party apps like Filmic can use all three snappers (including the selfie cam) to capture and save video simultaneously. And you can do that in up to 4K at 60 fps. How about that?!
Other new features coming thanks to the new A13 Bionic chip is the Night Mode and Deep Fusion.
The Night Mode icon pops up automatically when a low-light occasion presents itself, and it will take a pseudo-long-exposure shot, handheld of course. You will see the seconds suggested next to the Night Mode icon, but if you tap on it, you can change the simulated long exposure or altogether disable it. Usually, it's between 1 and 3 seconds, but sometimes the phone allows you to go for up to 30 seconds depending on the environmental light or the lack of it.
Night Mode is available on the main shooter only and does not work on the ultrawide snapper.
Deep Fusion will be released as a software update - it's Apple's version of HDR+. It takes 4 photos before you press the shutter, 4 when you do and then 1 long exposure. Then it picks the best shots and fuses them together.
An upgraded version of Smart HDR is available on all snappers for Photos, and we left it on as it is by default, but as most of the camera settings - it is also tucked away in the Settings menu. It's high-time Apple moves these on the viewfinder or at least integrate them within the camera app itself.