YouTuber Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD, shared his search results 2022 Smartphone Awards Last month. And although the iPhone 14 Pro won in the Best Camera System category, the YouTuber pointed out some flaws regarding photos taken with Apple’s latest smartphone. right Now MKBHD is back on video in which he explains why some iPhone photos deteriorate — and the answer is: post-processing.
Ahead of the 2022 Smartphone Awards results, MKBHD also shared the camera blind test results. In this, the Pixel 6A from Google took the first place, while the Pixel 7 Pro came in second. This has led YouTubers and many people to wonder what is going on with the photos taken with the iPhone.
The post-processing of the images has become overdone
In order to take a good photo it is important to have a good sensor that is able to capture as much light and detail as possible. However, since the camera sensors in smartphones are quite small compared to those of DSLRs, phone manufacturers introduce new tricks every year to improve these photos with post-processing.
Pretty much any modern smartphone uses a combination of hardware and software to adjust photos after they’ve been taken in an effort to make them look better and compensate for the lack of a large sensor. This includes things like reducing the noise level, adjusting the white balance, and increasing the brightness to bring out more detail in dark scenes.
But in recent years, Apple and other companies have taken this to the next level. On iPhone, Smart HDR combines multiple photos at different settings into a single photo. This allows the phone to select the best aspects of each to get a better picture. But when there is a lot of post-processing involved, these images can look unrealistic. And this is what happens to the iPhone camera.
As MKBHD pointed out, most phones handle well in favorable scenarios, such as clear skies or a subject in front of a clear background. But when you have different colors and textures in the same scene, your post processing has to be smart enough to understand which setting is best for all of those elements.
But the thing is, while companies like Google are doing it the right way, Apple certainly isn’t. As pointed out by the YouTuber, the iPhone 14 Pro always tries to lighten shadows, especially on people’s faces, which makes the image look very artificial. iPhone also overestimates the resolution of photos compared to other smartphones. MKBHD complains that his skin tone looks completely different on the iPhone camera.
Apple is destroying the iPhone camera with all these smart features
Even if the iPhone had great camera hardware, it has been ruined by all the smart features like Smart HDR that Apple has introduced in recent years. Every year, the company adds more steps to the camera’s post-processing. But instead of making the photos better, they make them unnatural.
In the iPhone 14 Pro camera review by Sebastiaan de With, the developer of popular camera app Halide, has also pointed out multiple flaws in Smart HDR. For example, every time there is a background that is too bright, the iPhone also tries to brighten up the people in the photo, making it look too white. “I honestly never saw it make for a better picture. The result is simply heartbreaking.”
In another example, the iPhone camera applies a lot of “weird artifacts” to selfies taken in really low-light environments to try and save the image, but this ends up being a “watercolor-like mess” instead of the usual dark photos with lots of noise.
Personally, I’ve also noticed how Smart HDR messes up some of my photos, which also turn out to be very sharp and have exaggerated colors. on redditMany iPhone users seem to agree with this.
Apple should give users the option to take natural photos
For years, iPhone users have mocked other smartphones because their photos looked too artificial. Now we’ve reached the point where iPhone photos look very unnatural. While I hope the company improves Smart HDR, I would prefer an option to minimize or completely turn off image post-processing in the iPhone camera.
You can, of course, shoot a RAW image with apps like Halide (it should be noted that ProRAW images are still post-processed), but then you’ll have a much larger image file just for a more natural result.
what about you? Did the iPhone camera’s overly post-processing ruin your photos, too? Let us know in the comments section below.
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