Is It Worth It: Testing Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max Camera

TECHBy 2023-12-06T16:51:57-05:00December 6th, 2023|
  • iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature a strong and lightweight titanium design, a new Action button, powerful camera upgrades, and A17 Pro. Photo courtesy of Apple.

In the ever-evolving landscape of smartphone technology, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which hit the market earlier this fall, boasts an “advanced camera system” that promises to elevate users’ photography experiences. But isn’t that what they always say? Does the market really need a 15th iPhone? To answer these questions we embarked on a journey to Mexico City to a content creator workshop, hosted by Apple, to delve into the camera’s capabilities.

The workshop, attended by content creators from across Latin America, provided an immersive experience in testing some of the features of the iPhone 15 Pro Max camera. In between different rooms, we split up into several groups where Apple experts walked us through some of the new and updated features. From highly configurable settings to innovative shooting modes that enhance the camera’s quality, LATINA had the chance to explore the device’s potential and put its camera to the test. Check out what we learned below.

Camera Settings Made for the Amateur to the Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro Max allows you to customize your camera settings down to the format and resolution. Getting into the weeds of the settings menu was initially daunting, but the new phone has little pop-up blurbs that guide you through all of the options and provide recommendations. Under Camera Capture, there’s a High Efficiency Mode and a Most Compatible mode that essentially manages your file size, keeping in mind your phone’s storage (thank you, Apple). The experts recommend setting it to High Efficiency. Photo mode under Photo Capture required some guidance, ultimately we elected 24MP for optimal resolution in conjunction with High Efficiency.

However, the debate around file formats like HEIF Max, ProRAW 12 MP, and ProRaw Max (up to 48 MP) was a bit more confusing. In layman’s terms, these settings define the number of megapixels captured per image, with higher numbers translating to larger image files (note: these will take up more storage). For the average user seeking a balance between quality and storage efficiency, the experts advised setting Pro Default to HEIF Max and turning on your ProRAW & Resolution Control.

Benefits: incredible image quality at a practical file size perfect for storing and sharing.

Grainy Shots No More

Testing the camera in a low-light setting was nothing short of impressive, signaling a departure from grainy shots. Now powered by the Photonic Engine, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s Night Mode, although reminiscent of past iPhone cameras, now utilizes a complete 16-bit color space for enhanced color accuracy, ensuring a crisp nocturnal aesthetic even for Night mode portraits. This feature unequivocally lives up to the hype, marking a significant leap forward in smartphone photography.

Benefits: sharper detail, more vivid colors, and better low-light performance.

Content creator Yuri Gordinez tests the iPhone 15 Pro Max camera during the Apple workshop in Mexico City. She wears a traditional Catrina headpiece in honor of Dia De Los Muertos.

Say Hello (Again) to Action Mode

Arguably the most exciting feature, Action Mode elevates video production by stabilizing shaky footage. Though not necessarily new to the iPhone family (the 14 also has this feature), this innovation provides users with the ability to shoot dynamic videos cinematically, even when zoomed in 5x. For those aspiring to capture their own action scenes, this feature bridges the gap between amateur and professional videography.

Benefits: smooth videos no matter the distance or pace.

Definitely Worth it

The iPhone 15 Pro Max stands out as a versatile tool for content creators, striking a balance between innovation and user-friendly functionality. As with any device, investing time in understanding its capabilities is the key to unlocking a seamless user experience. Highly configurable settings might confuse some users, while the automatic correction feature caters to those who prefer a hands-off approach to capturing content. The new phone keeps both types of users in mind, offering control to photography enthusiasts, and simplicity to users desiring pristine images without the need for manual corrections.