Now, let's talk image quality.
The photos from the main camera are very rich in detail, have impressively low noise levels, and the dynamic range is excellent.
The colors are accurate as to what our eyes saw them in this autumn day, but they somewhat lacked vibrancy and look a bit washed out. The contrast could have been better for sure.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the sharpening is a bit excessive and overall, the photos are over-sharpened - most notably in areas of complex detail.
The second camera is brand new to all iPhone 11s, but it's fairly common among the Android smartphones. It also uses a 12MP sensor, but with smaller 1.0Ám pixels, and is sitting behind very wide 13mm ultrawide lens. There is no OIS and no autofocus for the ultrawide snapper, unfortunately and this is not exclusive to the iPhone 11, but also on the Pro models as well.
The quality of the ultrawide shots is good, but not perfect. There is enough detail, though we expected a little bit more, the corners are pretty soft due to the automatic distortion correction that's applied, and some noise is present here and there.
The colors, contrast, and the dynamic range are a match to the main camera.
The Night Mode triggers automatically when the light is low, and while you can opt out of using it, or correct the exposure time, we suggest leaving it on automatic. It usually uses 2s or 3s exposures and the image is saved instantaneously, making it among, if not the fastest, Night Modes we've encountered so far.
And the quality of the Night Mode images is exemplary. They have plenty of detail, they are sharp enough but not over-sharpened, the colors are excellent, the contrast is top-notch, the exposure is very balanced, and overall, we loved every single picture. We should also note that not a single photo came out blurry while shooting in Night Mode, so even if you take just one photo - it should be great.
We disabled the Night Mode and shot some images this way, too. Those came out with plenty of detail and still managed to keep the noise low, but the exposure is darker - as you would expect from non-Night-Mode photos. Still, those are pretty nice low-light images, though we'd guess nobody would want to disable the Night Mode for these.
There is no Night Mode on the ultrawide camera, and as it happens pretty much every time - the low-light samples are rather abysmal. It should not be used in the dark until Apple adds Night Mode here, too.
Once you are done with these samples, you can use our Photo Compare Tool to put the new iPhones against the competition.
The Portrait mode uses the main camera for the shots, while the depth map is handled entirely by the Apple's A13 Bionic chip and its NPU. When you are in portrait mode, you can choose between various Lighting effects and the blur strength (default is f/2.4).
The new Neural Engine within the Apple A13 chip handles both subject separation and Lighting effects. Now you can adjust the simulated light strength, and this will change the person's skin tone and smoothness the same way it would happen in a real studio. This is quite a niche option, but we have to say it works as advertised and will eventually find its fans.
Since the iPhone 11 doesn't use a second camera to help make the depth map more detailed, the subject separation in the portrait shots is done well, but not perfect and you can see some defects hare and there. The detail and the colors are good, as well as the faux bokeh, so most people will be happy with these pictures. Just so you know, if the light isn't ideal, the detail levels drop drastically.
The Portrait Lighting samples are very good, and the new High-Key Light Mono is quite stunning (with the white background).
The iPhone 11 generation finally brings an update to the selfie camera. It's now a 12MP snapper, still coupled with a TOF snapper. There are new wider 23mm f/2.2 lens, but Apple kept the option to shoot with the same FoV of the old 32mm selfie camera if you've grown to like it.
When in portrait orientation the new iPhones shoot in 7MP and this crop corresponds to the old 32mm lens. The landscape orientation crops nothing, and you get a 12MP image. There is a virtual switch to enable or disable the crop mode at your pleasure, of course.
The selfies use Smart HDR and their quality is top-notch. There is more than enough detail, they are sharp but not over-sharpened, with great dynamic range, and accurate colors though still a bit washed out.
And here are a couple of 7MP cropped selfies, if you wonder what those would look like.
Portrait mode is available on the front camera helped by the TOF snapper, and the subject separation is on par with the primary Portrait mode on the rear camera. The portraits are shot in 7MP, meaning the snapper crops and the FoV is narrower.
Various portrait lighting effects are available, as well as adjustable blur.
The Apple iPhone 11 selfie snapper supports all available video resolutions and framerates the main camera offers and expanded dynamic range is available on all of those except 4K at 60fps. Cinematic video stabilization is available, too, and it works marvelously.
You can clearly see the better dynamic range on the 30fps sample, and while the resolved detail isn't impressive, it's still more than enough for a selfie cam.
The front camera can also do 1080p at 120fps slow-mo videos, which Apple called 'slofies'. Here is a sample.
Apple iPhone 11 can capture all kind of videos in all kinds of resolutions and framerates with all snappers and it can even do it simultaneously if you have the right app. If Crop Out of the Frame is enabled for videos, the phone will use the ultrawide camera to capture more footage and if you don't edit your videos, the extra footage will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
The vides from the main snapper are optically and digitally stabilized, while the ones from the ultrawide camera are only digitally stabilized. All modes, now including the 4K@60fps as well, feature expanded dynamic range thanks to the new Smart HDR. The slow-mo options max out at 1080p at 240fps, just like on the iPhone X, XS, and XR.
You can choose between High Efficiency and Most Compatible formats, as usual. The High-Efficiency mode stands for H.265 HEVC, while the Most Compatible is H.264.
The iPhone 11 captures wide stereo recording for the videos. This means spatial sound, just like some HTCs and some old Nokia phones did, and you should enjoy richer and deeper sound if compared to just regular stereo.
One other thing that the new iPhones can show off with is the smooth switching between the cameras while zooming during video capturing. Thanks to the factory calibration and the same white balance and exposure settings that are passed across all snappers, you can use the new zoom wheel and zoom in and out without stutters while switching between the ultrawide, wide, and tele shooters.
Here is a sample where we played with the zoom wheel. It was shot at 4K at 30fps. It's not perfect, but very good it is.
The 4K videos captured both at 60, and 30 fps with the main camera are virtually identical in quality. The picture is very good - plenty of detail and low noise, the foliage presentation is a bit average but not bad, the sharpness is spot on, and the colors are true to life and not washed out as on the still images. There are no focus issues or compression artifacts. And the dynamic range is nothing short of impressive thanks to the expanded dynamic range.
The 1080p videos, 30 or 60 fps from the main camera are brilliant. Plenty of detail, great foliage, jaw-dropping dynamic range. Those are among the best 1080p videos a smartphone can do.
The 4K footage from the ultrawide snapper is lacking in detail in both 30 and 60 fps options. Not only that, but the corners are very soft though not warped. Those would do when played on a 1080p TV or monitor, but in native 4K they are quite poor.
Then the 1080p footage from this snapper, taken in both 30 and 60 fps, looks better. The picture is sharp, while the corners are soft as before.
The colors and contrast, as well as the dynamic range are excellent on this camera, too.
If anyone can stabilize videos, it is Apple. It has been known for the great cinematic (EIS) stabilization and it simply excels on the iPhone 11 Pro. Whether the camera has optical stabilization (main) or not (ultrawide) - the picture is perfectly stable. Nice!
Finally, you can use our Video Compare Tool to see how the new iPhones stack up against the competition.