iPhone 12 Pro Max Lake Picture

Living With the iPhone 12 Pro Max: Taking the Camera for a Spin

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iPhone 12 Pro Max Lake Picture

It’s been a week. Between work going crazy as we approach the end of the year, COVID flaring up all over and one of my kids waiting on test results from a doctor visit today (we probably won’t know until Monday), things have been a bit crazy. Feel free to send us all the thoughts and prayers you can on that test, because I’m not quite sure what the impact will be on our family of five if the virus has entered our home.

In the meantime, life goes on and writing is a nice distraction from everything going on. I have been using my iPhone 12 Pro Max since I got it last weekend and I actually got two new HomePod Minis to try out yesterday. I just haven’t had much of a chance to write about any of this until tonight.

Now that I’m home bound at least until Monday, I have a little more time to get caught up. However, today I’m going to do a little less writing and let the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s camera do most of the talking. Here is a collection of photos that I took this weekend with a few others from later in the week sprinkled in.

Before we go any further, understand that these photos are compressed for posting on WordPress. We are capped at 2 MB per image, so these aren’t the full output of the iPhone’s camera. However, they should give you the general idea of what it’s capable of.

One more thing to note- these photos do not take into account the enhanced editing capabilities that Apple’s new ProRAW will bring to the table. I am running the latest iOS 13 beta which includes the feature on my iPhone, but I haven’t started testing the new format yet.

IPhone 12 Pro Max Flower Close Up Picture

This photo isn’t the best the 12 Pro Max is capable of, but it was taken in fairly harsh direct light with no polarizing filter or external help. What I really like is the bokeh that I got using the Telephoto Lens without Portrait Mode.

Fall around the house

These pictures were taken around my home on Saturday. It was a pretty spectacular fall afternoon and seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some good landscape shots.

While the direct light was harsh in spots, it’s hard to beat that crystal blue sky as a backdrop. The only unfortunate thing about these pictures is that the 12 Pro Max arrived a week after the peak of fall colors in my area. You can see that a lot of the leaves were off the trees at this point, but I’m still happy with the results.

Sunday at the Park

These pictures were taken in the mid-afternoon, which is getting close to sunset this time of year. That meant low light and high contrast in some pictures taken from shadow and really harsh light when facing into the low sun. I thought the iPhone handed both as well as could be expected.

My 10 year old Dachshund Ziggy is a fixture on trips like this to the park. Going to a local park or our small town’s Farmer’s Market is pretty much his favorite thing on Earth, so I couldn’t leave him out.

That’s a very happy dog.

The shadows are getting really long, so it’s time to head for home.

Close-up kitten

Ziggy wasn’t the only four-legged family member getting into the act. Here is an example of Portrait Mode with our very serious kitten Maple.

First off, I can’t believe Maple stood still long enough for me to get this shot of her looking at me. She’s crazy even by kitten standards and doesn’t spend a lot of time in one place when she isn’t sleeping.

I will admit that I don’t use Portrait Mode as much now that my kids are older and aren’t big fans of having lots of pictures taken anymore. I haven’t played with the settings and enhancements for a couple of years, so I appreciate how much more you can do with the depth effects after the shot now. That really makes Portrait Mode a lot more useful than it was at release four years ago.

This shot was initially pretty flat and the white balance wasn’t great. Using the stock editor in Photos, I was able to able to change the aperture a focal length to create a more noticeable depth effect and correct some of the white balance issues without making the colors too flat and drab.

A few night shots

I couldn’t have Ziggy and Maple in this collage without letting our Chihuahua Chloe get into the act, as well. She was not thrilled about posing at night, so this shot was the best I could get with Night Mode. She wasn’t completely still, so the 12 Pro Max did a nice job here.

It’s a new moon tonight, so it’s pretty dark out tonight apart from artificial light sources. Both of these shots take full advantage of that additional backlighting and it helps the iPhone capture additional detail, especially in the first shot.

This photo was captured with the Ultra Wide Lens, which can take advantage of Night Mode this year thanks to the addition of stabilization directly to the sensor. However, you can also see that this lens is only capable of pulling in so much light at night. It works, but this photo demonstrates that the Ultra Wide will need some extra help to pull off a great Night Mode shot.

That’s it for today. I will keep testing the limits of the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s camera as time goes on, but I’m very impressed so far.


James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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