iPhone 13 camera test – how does it fare against the other models?

The photo and video experts from DXOMark have tested the iPhone 13. atechbook reveals how the device fares against other iPhones.

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have inherited the camera hardware of the iPhone 12 Pro Max – apart from the telephoto camera. This means that both smartphones come with Sensor Shift technology for the main camera, which in the previous generation was only found in the largest and most expensive iPhone 12, the Pro Max. Sensor Shift is a type of optical image stabilization that shifts not lens, but the entire sensor itself. This allows for finer and faster correction of hand and body movements that would otherwise result in blurry images.

Recycled cameras with good performance

While the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max got completely new cameras, the iPhone 13/13 mini features components from last year’s Pro models. The main camera features a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.6 aperture, a focal length of 23 millimeters and 1.7 micrometer pixels. The ultra-wide-angle camera is also a familiar one. It resolves with 12 megapixels, has f/2.4 aperture, 13 millimeter focal length and a 120-degree field of view.

In the test, DXOMark certifies that the iPhone 13/13 mini has a good picture quality in many lighting conditions and a fast, accurate and quickly ready autofocus. Especially in video quality, the smartphone can convince with the best test result behind the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max. The accurate autofocus that enables buttery-smooth transitions is also praised here. With an overall score of 130, the iPhone 13/13 mini is ranked 11th among all smartphones in the DXOMark ranking.

iPhone 13 camera compared to iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max

While the iPhone 13 got the cameras from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max have completely new hardware. On the main camera, a larger f/1.5 aperture lets in more light and the larger pixels (1.9 microns) capture the light better. The ultra-wide-angle camera also lets in more light with an f/1.8 aperture. This is reflected in a photo score of 144 points – significantly more than in the iPhone 13. The additional zoom camera contributes its share – with 76 points, the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max plays in a completely different league. The situation is a bit different in video recordings. The iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max can capture a bit more light due to its better cameras. Nevertheless, that is only enough for 2 points more than in the iPhone 13 – 119 vs. 117.

Thanks to the better cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro models are out of reach for the iPhone 13. It’s 137 versus 130 points, and that’s not the whole story. That’s because the Pro models support additional features like a Potrait mode for videos, as well as recording in Apple’s ProRes format, which the iPhone 13 lacks.

iPhone 13 camera compared to iPhone 12 models

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 13 is on exactly the same level as the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Both smartphones have a DXOMark score of 138 points. However, both smartphones also have the same cameras. However, the fact that the iPhone 13 lacks a telephoto camera is noticeable in the zoom score. The iPhone 13 only scores 55 points here, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max scores 68 points thanks to the extra camera. However, the iPhone 13 has the edge in video recordings. This is mainly due to software improvements. The processing power of the new A15 Bionic enables the Cinematic mode with intelligent focus adjustment and 10-bit HDR, among other things. Overall, the iPhone 13 scores 117 points here and beats the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 113 points.

Although video and photo quality are slightly better in the iPhone 13, the iPhone Pro Max can make up points due to its significantly better zoom camera. Both models have a score of 130 points.

The back and forth with the notch in the iPhone 14

iPhone 12 Pro

Especially compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the camera with sensor shift technology in the iPhone 13 is noticeable. The 12 Pro still comes with conventional optical image stabilization (OIS) and has a lower score of 135 points because of it. However, the Pro model from last year can gain points in the zoom score due to its dedicated telephoto camera. Like the 12 Pro Max, it scores 66 points here and thus beats the iPhone 13. The video quality is also almost identical with the Pro Max – 112 points – and is thus lower than that of the iPhone 13.

The iPhone 13 can narrowly beat the iPhone 12 Pro in the DXOMark test with 130 vs. 128 points.

iPhone 12/12 mini

The iPhone 12 has the same camera hardware as the iPhone 12 Pro – minus the telephoto camera. Nevertheless, the iPhone 12 has a lower photo score of 132 points. This can be explained by the fact that the Pro model can take better portrait photos thanks to its zoom camera. This is also reflected in the zoom score, where the iPhone 12 can only achieve 41 points. However, the iPhone 12 is not inferior to the 12 Pro in terms of videos; it also achieves 112 points.

Compared to the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 shows the clearest difference. The newer iPhone is clearly better in photo and video quality, but also in the zoom score. This is also reflected in the overall score. The iPhone 13 is clearly above the iPhone 12 with 130 points.