Apple iPhone 14 test: the smartphone is still in control, but without surprise

The iPhone 14 has a photo block much like the iPhone 13, with two units aligned diagonally. We still regret the absence of a third focal length which would have helped distinguish it from the previous model (it’s reserved for the Pro models, at a much higher price). We note that Apple promises, on the side of the wide-angle module, to integrate a sensor with definition still fixed at 12 megapixels, but its pixels were announced at 1.9 μm, compared to 1.7 μm last year. Associated optics open at f/1.5 instead of f/1.6. In short, small changes give hope for better low-light management.

On the other hand, in the face of the smartphones over 1000 euros with which it competes, we must remember that the iPhone 14 lacks versatility: the telephoto lens of its competitors is for Apple Pro models.

Wide-angle module: 12 MP, f / 1.5, eq. 26 mm

The iPhone generally shines when practicing the wide angle, and it’s clear that it always works out for them. It must be said that in the face of the Galaxy S22 which tends to deliver noisy shots, the iPhone 14 wins here. Emphasis is clearer and increases the readability of small items. Colorimetry also gains accuracy. If we compare the shots of this new iPhone with those of the iPhone 13, we see a slightly higher contrast, but no more.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/180 sec, 23 mm equivalent)

iPhone 14 (f/1.5, ISO 40, 1/187 sec, 26 mm equivalent)

The pixel binning Powered by Galaxy S22+ shows its effectiveness against iPhone 14. The exposure is better, the contrast is clearer and the sharpness is higher. The result is certainly true, but beyond the market’s substance. We note that the smartphone performs slightly better than its predecessor, working in particular to deliver images that are less saturated.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/4 second, 23mm equivalent)

iPhone 14 (f/1.5, ISO 640, 1/30 sec., 23 mm equivalent)

Ultra wide angle unit: 12 MP, f / 2.2, eq. 13 mm

The iPhone 14’s ultra-wide angle provides satisfying daytime shots to say the least. They have a high level of detail, and enough subtle contrasts to reveal the finest elements, despite some inaccuracies in terms of colorimetry. For comparison, Galaxy S22 shots (taken locally at 12MP) show lower sharpness and processing that accurately favors color vibrancy.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/2.2, ISO 80, 1/100sec, 13mm equivalent)

iPhone 14 (f/2.4, ISO 64, 1/199 sec, 13 mm equivalent)

The trend is completely different at night, as Samsung-operated processing allows you to find more details. Apple’s photo suffers from noticeable noise, and to get rid of it it is necessary to go into the night mode, which requires a long exposure … and increased motion blur.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/100 sec, 13 mm equivalent)

iPhone 14 (f/2.4, ISO 3200, 1/30 sec., 13 mm equivalent)

Front and video unit

The iPhone 14, like the iPhone 14 Pro Max, benefits from a new front camera, which is called, as always, TrueDepth and maintains a 12-megapixel definition. With that said, the sensor correlates with an optical aperture at f/1.9 instead of f/2.2 and the autofocus gain is very useful. The images are well exposed and very detailed and the portrait mode retains the usual sharpness, with some hiccups on messy hair. For selfies, Apple isn’t in the race for megapixels, but it does allow you to achieve some of the most natural photos on the market, with the added benefit of interesting lighting effects.

On the video side, the iPhone 14 shoots up to 4K HDR (Dolby Vision) at 60 frames per second. A mode that does not happen alone, because the smartphone takes advantage of the cinematic mode (4K at 30 fps) allowing you to create a depth of field effect and its opening last year, but also from the motion mode. This stabilization is using the main sensor of the entire smartphone for action camera-inspired stabilization. And we must admit that the effect is convincing. Be warned, you need a properly lit scene for the mode to work, and the maximum recording is set at 2.8K at 60fps.

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