avatarby John DyeSeptember 7, 20160 comments

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Today at the Apple Special Event, the tech titan unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. One of the key focal points of their presentation was the device’s newly revamped camera, which the company refers to as a “huge advance.”

Honestly, what they’re showing is pretty impressive: optical image stabilization, f/1.8 aperture lens, and a new six-element camera component. The camera is a 12 megapixel offering that Apple says is 60 percent faster than their previous technology and 30 percent more energy efficient. It also offers up to 3 times longer exposure and is capable of processing 50 percent more light.

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An interesting feature that we haven’t really seen before is the device’s TrueTone flash. Not only does this flash have four LEDs which guarantee to sufficiently light up your subject, but sensors also detect for the flicker of artificial light and adjust automatically with micro-second precision.

Apple says that the iPhone uses “machine learning” for every picture that it snaps, performing over 100 billion operations every time you take a selfie. Senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller said the phone offers “supercomputer performance” in terms of image processing, but we’re guessing this is taking some poetic license with the term, since supercomputing is a pretty well-defined area of research.

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The iPhone 7 Plus variant essentially doubles down on this setup by offering two rear-mounted 12-megapixel cameras: one wide-angle, the other telephoto. This dramatically increases the device’s ability to zoom and improves image quality by a factor of four. Apple is so confident in their new technology that they’ll let you go all the way to 10x zoom. With that much zoom, you’ll probably be grateful for the automatic image stabilization.

The dual cameras also allow for some impressive bokeh effects by creating a live depth map that detects the distance of objects and adjusts the image accordingly. This is done live rather than in post-processing, so you can see the effect as you are snapping your shots.

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“We are not saying to throw out your DSLRs, or that this will replace DSLRs,” said Schiller. “What we are saying is that this is the best camera ever on an iPhone. For many customers, this will be the best camera they ever own.”

Schiller went on to claim that this is the best camera ever made for any smartphone. Although the depth of field technology was impressive in the presentation, early iPhone 7 adopters won’t have access to it out of the box. The software isn’t quite ready for the commercial market yet, so Apple says they will be rolling it out as an update sometime in the coming months.