Test Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Modules photo

Absente of the iPhone 7, the most eagerly awaited novelty for photographers is within the larger format model that is the iPhone 7 Plus. The back of the smartphone reveals two distinct photo modules, offering sensors of the same definition but with different focal lengths to avoid the degradation inherent in using a digital zoom.

Comme on the previous generation of the brand's smartphones, the most classic photo module is equipped with a sensor with a definition of 12 Mpx for a physical size of 1/3".

Quelques changes are however to be noted on the optical side: it now has a focal length of 28 mm (equivalent 24x36), an aperture of f/1.8 and a stabilization.

second photo module is also equipped with a 12 Mpx sensor, but its size of 1/3.6" is smaller than that of its fraternal twin. The optical part is also quite different, since this module offers a focal length of 56 mm (24x36 equivalent) at f/2.8 aperture and unfortunately without optical stabilization.

second photo module should therefore take advantage of the ability of its (moderately) long focal length to capture portraits, the latter being supplemented by a shooting mode offering the simulation of depth-of-field effects. It takes advantage of the physical shift between the two photo modules to calculate the distance between the camera and the subject being photographed, differentiate the various planes that make up the image and thus simulate a depth of field effect. Note that such a function has already been exploited by various smartphones (including theHuawei P9 and Honor 8, the latest examples to date) and has always left us perplexed as to its effectiveness.

double photo module proposed by the iPhone 7 Plus is also equipped with a 4 leds flash, while a new home-made algorithm would ensure a dazzling efficiency in image processing (Apple promises up to 100 billion operations in 25 milliseconds).

Prise and main

Ergonomics and design

Comparé to the two previous generations, Apple's new large-format smartphone has changed very little in its design. At first glance, only the protuberance linked to the integration of a double photo module marks a real breakthrough.

We are made of solid aluminum, whose curves allow a good grip despite the imposing size of the iPhone 7 Plus.

Comme still at Apple, it is advisable to forget any idea of removable battery or microSD port to extend the storage space. However, the apple company has awarded us the IP67 waterproof certification, i.e. the resistance to immersion in a liquid for 30 minutes maximum and up to 1 m deep.

iPhone 7 Plus features a 5.5-inch (14 cm), Full HD (1920 x 1080 dpi) IPS LCD screen with a display resolution of 401 dpi. While many high-end devices do better on this last point, Apple's smartphone makes up for this by offering exemplary color management, with an average delta E of 1.4 and a color temperature of 6,841K. Laboratory tests carried out by our colleagues on the websiteLes Numériques bring moreover good results in terms of brightness, contrast and light reflection.

Alors that most Android smartphones have a physical shortcut to quickly launch the photo application, Apple has chosen a shortcut in the form of a pictogram, accessible from the terminal's unlocking screen. The operation is no less fast and the iPhone 7 Plus' dual photo module is always ready to be unlocked.

Comme on many smartphones, the volume buttons on the 7 Plus can be used as a trigger. Since they are located on the left side of the device when held vertically, they can be accessed with the thumb of the left hand or the index finger of the right hand, depending on the direction in which the smartphone is held when it is positioned horizontally.

Interface

Contrairement to its main competitors, and in keeping with Apple's tradition, the iPhone 7 Plus takes the opposite tack to the trend carried by the last two generations of high-end Android smartphones: no control over shooting settings is offered.

Seuls the classic flash and self-timer controls, some filters, as well as HDR and Live Photo modes are accessible from the main shooting interface. While it's nice to have a simple and clear interface, it's a shame to be forced to do so.

Outre the Pano and Square shooting modes already offered on the iPhone 6s generation, the 7 Plus offers a Portrait mode (currently available with the beta version of iOS 10.1). As mentioned, it takes advantage of the physical difference between the two photo modules to differentiate the various planes that make up the image and thus simulate a depth-of-field effect.

In In practice, this mode is currently somewhat limited, since it cannot be used below a certain level of brightness and outside a certain range of distance from the subject.

Bien that Apple offers a well-thought-out retouching interface with various filters and retouching tools, we prefer those available in dedicated applications. Especially since siiOS 10a brought the welcome support for RAW files, please note that it is still impossible to capture or edit photos in this format using the iPhone 7 Plus native applications. You must use a third-party application, such as Lightroom Mobile, to take photos in DNG format and take advantage of their flexibility during the editing phase.

Qualité from image

native application for Apple smartphones does not offer manual settings, no ISO sensitivity rise test is possible. However, we have chosen to present you with comparative situations in order to highlight the differences, in terms of angle of view and quality, induced by the use of a 28 mm focal length, 56 mm and the different digital zoom levels.

Angles from champ

Avec a similar shooting position from one photo to another, here is the difference in angle of view and framing implied by the choice between the photo module with a focal length of 28 mm and the one with a focal length of 56 mm.

Paliers from zoom

Parfois wrongly called "optical zoom", the device used by the iPhone 7 Plus has two fixed focal lengths of 28 mm and 56 mm. Each zoom step used between these two values and beyond 56 mm actually corresponds to a digital zoom.

This second comparative situation tries to highlight the differences in quality between the two photo modules of the smartphone and the different levels of digital zoom constituting the steps between the two available focal lengths. To this end, the same framing was used for each shot.

Using two different focal lengths for the same framing does, of course, lead to noticeable aesthetic differences in terms of perspective and crushing of shots, but images obtained using 28mm and 56mm differ in many other ways.

Les two optics having respectively an aperture of f/1.8 and f/2.8, different shooting parameters are chosen by the iPhone to obtain an equivalent exposure. At 28 mm, the image is captured with an exposure time of 1/35 s and a sensitivity of ISO 80, while at 56 mm, the same image is captured with an exposure time of 1/50 s and a sensitivity of ISO 320.

In the facts are that the 28mm module is not a master of precision, but delivers a level of detail that you would expect from a high-end, latest-generation smartphone. The white balance here is too hot, although the palette of colors retranscribed is correct. The image processing seems light, but we deplore the presence of electronic noise at ISO 80.

aesthetic result of the photo captured with the 56 mm module is less happy. The loss of detail and the presence of noise are obvious, while we note a greenish drift of the worst effect. In spite of its questionable quality, this focal length does however deliver better images than the various digital zoom steps that come close.

Application photo Apple vs Microsoft Pix

For well measure the difference in terms of image quality between the photo module having a focal length of 56 mm and a 2x digital zoom from the 28 mm focal length, we chose to compare images captured with the native photo application of Apple and Microsoft Pix. Note that the two applications have several similarities in terms of interface and results.

Outre the few aesthetic differences caused by the use of these two distinct applications, the results obtained confirm the previous remarks: despite a certain lack of sharpness, a greenish color drift and poor electronic noise management, the 56 mm module delivers images of better quality than a digital zoom offering an equivalent angle of field.

Test terrain

Si it is simple and uncluttered, the iPhone 7 Plus shooting interface limits the user experience to the most basic photography basics. Budding photographers will find the automatic controls reassuring, while experienced users will likely feel frustrated by the lack of any settings. Once again, we're a far cry from the disengageable modes offered by all the high-end Android smartphones on the market.

Notez while the use of the two photo modules does not suffer from any slowness - the 7 Plus is thus at the top of the 2016 photophone basket in terms of focusing speed and overall responsiveness.

Module 28 mm

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→ Download the original file :JPEG

→ Download the original file :JPEG

Module 56 mm

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Mode portrait

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Alors that all brands have made progress in color management and white balance, the iPhone 7 Plus often offers warm tones and a rendering that is sometimes somewhat atypical. The wide-angle module doesn't stand out from the competition with its ability to reproduce the finest details and manage electronic noise in low-light conditions, but it does have the merit of offering discreet software accentuation. Moreover, its sensor surprised us with its dynamic range: it can transcribe high and low light levels in relatively contrasting scenes.

Si the 56 mm module offers a comparable aesthetic rendering, its lower diaphragm opening and its smaller sensor size predestine it to do less well than the 28 mm module, at all levels. The result is a blatant lack of precision, while the lack of optical stabilization is sorely felt.

S 'based on a software optimization that is not definitive, the portrait mode is difficult to judge in the current state of affairs. However, our various tests have shown a loss of detail greater than the classic use of 56 mm, as well as errors in differentiating shots when creating the much sought-after depth of field effect.

Vidéo

iPhone 7 Plus offers to record videos in 2160p 30 fps, 1080p 60/30 fps and 720p 30 fps. A slow mode allows recording in 1080p up to 120 fps and 720p up to 240 fps. Since the 28mm focal length photo module is the only one equipped with optical stabilization, capturing videos with the 56mm module requires only digital stabilization.

Fidèle to Apple's streamlined shooting interfaces, the iPhone 7 Plus' video mode is extremely bare in terms of settings.

Interface for shooting video mode.

Si optical stabilization somehow attenuates the operator's movements when using the 28mm module, which is sorely lacking when the 56mm module is used. Just like its high-end competitors, the image quality and colorimetric rendering of the iPhone 7 Plus are correct, but inferior to what is offered in photos.

Verdict

Il a few months ago, when the LEG G5 was at the end of its ultra-wide-angle lens, we were skeptical about the choice of focal lengths offered, we felt that a combination of 28mm and 50mm (24x36 equivalent) lenses would have been the perfect duo. While the iPhone 7 Plus has the merit of offering such a device, we regret many of the features that come with it.

Low-aperture optics and the small sensor of the 56mm module probably meet size and cost requirements, but certainly spoil the party. In addition, we find it rather inconsistent to add optical stabilization to the wide-angle optics and deny it to the portrait module.

Malgré With good intentions, the iPhone 7 Plus does not revolutionize the hierarchy of the best photo smartphones. As things stand now (i.e. with a non-definitive portrait mode), the added value provided by the 56 mm is real, but not remarkable.

Si you have an irrepressible desire for a smartphone with a normal fixed focal length, go for it: the iPhone 7 Plus is the only one with one. Otherwise, we urge you to consider first and foremost the photographic features offered by the wide-angle module, since it is the main module of the smartphone.

Ce module is not perfect, but it rivals the quality of many high-end smartphones. Although we deplore a color management below our expectations and a retranscription of details that could be improved (especially in low light conditions), we particularly appreciate the quality screen it has and the dynamics offered by the sensor. The new iPhone is evolving, but is in line with its predecessors.

Si we recommend this smartphone only to photography enthusiasts willing to pay the price to find the ergonomics of Apple terminals, their simple and efficient shooting interface, as well as their warm images. Indeed, apple smartphones, evolving alone in an unprecedented ecosystem, constitute a unique offer of their kind.

Qu Whether it's theHuawei P9 with its dedicated black and white photo module, theLG G5 with its ultra-wide-angle optics, or the Samsung Galaxy S7 with its rock-solid responsiveness, 2016 has seen the emergence of a number of original and less expensive competing products. Buying the latest iPhone is therefore, again and again, a choice that goes beyond the simple discipline of photography.