Last weekend I took my iPhone 11 Pro Max for a test in Sequoia National Park. I decided to mainly test the ultra wide angle camera and what a better subject to film than those huge trees? In terms of camera, we need to separate photos from videos. In the first case the 11 Pro is a huge update compared to the last year model. Photos look better, night mode is insane, portrait mode is improved and the wide angle camera really makes a big difference when you are trying to capture landscape or architecture.
In terms of videos I noticed a slight improvement in terms of noise (on the wide and telephoto lens) and mainly bug fixes from previous model. For example the extended dynamic range was working very bad for me on the iPhone X/XR/Xs; the skin tones used to look very weird and when I was filming sunset/sunrise there was something off in the way the iPhone was managing the highlights. Now that is fixed the image look way more natural. The stabilization is absolutely incredible and I think we got to a point where you don’t need a gimbal anymore, period. I’ve never seen anything like that and even on the ultra wide angle camera (which doesn’t have optical IS) the software does an amazing job in stabilizing the footage. I actually brought my tripod and slider with me, but I’ve never used them since I was able to do all my camera movements handheld.
Now, let’s talk about that ultra wide angle camera, because this is the main difference from any other iPhone. To begin with, the ultra wide angle camera is not sharp, at all. And this is why I love it so much. We got to a point where sensors are so good that the image is usually extra sharp and crisp, specially when we film in 4K. This happens not just on smartphones, but on any other cameras, that’s why cinematographers use diffusion filters so much, to smooth out the highlights, decrease the contrast and to make the image less sharp and more organic. In facts I found myself using the ultra wide angle lens for the vast majority of the time, because it almost seems to have a diffusion filter in front of the lens. The other two cameras on the other hand are incredibly sharp, too much in my opinion. With that said, the ultra wide angle lens has way more noise in low light and interior and I wouldn’t recommend it in those situations. But I have to say, I absolutely love it and it opens up tons of opportunity for creators since you can literally capture everything with that 13mm focal focal length. In terms of other improvements I could not notice anything else. iPhones are always ahead of the competition when it comes to video and this iPhone 11 Pro is just another great iPhone that captures amazing videos, every year a little bit better. The real deal here is the Filmic Pro App and I think the new version is gonna be incredible, specially because you will be able to record footage from multiple cameras at the same time. I would definitely shoot another test once the app is gonna be ready!
In this video I wanted to test the camera as it is. What you see in this test was filmed on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the original camera app (Filmic Pro was not working properly, but they are releasing a compatibility software update as we speak) and a Shoulderpod for a better grip, nothing else.
Everything was shot in 4K 60p and conformed at 24p. The video was edited and graded in DaVinci Resolve 16. For the grade I used our brand new BUTTERY LUTs for iPhone that we just released today (https://www.butteryfilms.com/luts). The package includes our super popular Natural Rec709 and 4 creatives LUTs to stylize your footage. They are fully compatible with Luma Touch so you can grade your footage on the go either on your iPhone or iPad. Speaking of Luma Touch, the only reason why I didn’t do everything on my tablet is because I could not see the external SSD in the app and I didn’t have time to transfer everything to my camera roll. My guess/hope is that the guys at Luma Fusion will release an update that will allow us to import the files directly from an external SSD and that will be revolutionary!
I hope you will enjoy the video and if you have any questions just leave a comment below. Thanks for watching!
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