Don’t break the bank with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 mini does just as well in photos, according to DXOMARK

After having sifted through the new iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro, the DxOMark laboratory has delivered a first verdict on the newcomers in photography. If the programs are obvious and notable in terms of sensor change, the iPhone 13 mini surprises with results close to those of the much more expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Barely available, the new iPhone 13/13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro / 13 Pro Max are already the subject of numerous technical tests everywhere. To the writing of Frandroid, we have started testing the four newcomers in order to give you an overview of their new possibilities very soon. But that did not prevent us from discussing with DXOMARK, the specialized laboratory, about the cameras that Apple promises to be greatly improved on its 2021 smartphones.

First element of response, which our first photo tests showed, the photo improves in quality on the four models. While they still all display 12-megapixel sensors, Apple has improved them, giving the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini the same wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle models, and the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max with more lenses. big on these focal lengths, accompanied by a more extensive telephoto lens (which goes from 65 to 77 mm focal length, or a magnification x3).

A disguised semi-iPhone 12 Pro Max

Overall, the tests of the French laboratory show that l’iPhone 13 Pro changes very clearly on the rendering of the colors, the exposure or the focusing thanks to a better aperture and a larger sensor. Taking more light, the white balance is also better managed and will allow a more natural rendering, especially faces and portraits in low light. This earns it 4th place in the ranking behind devices with larger sensors (Huawei P50 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and Huawei Mate 40 Pro +).

But the biggest surprise is the leap made by the camera of the iPhone 13 mini – and normally by extension, by the iPhone 13. According to DxOMark, with an overall score of 130, it finds itself at the gates of the Top 10 best smartphone cameras. It gains above all 8 points compared to the iPhone 12 mini and finds itself neck and neck with the Vivo X50 Pro +, the Oppo Find X3 Pro, the Huawei P40 Pro or the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, smartphones that carry innovations technological photos and multiple sensors when the iPhone 13 mini displays only two and no differentiating elements on paper.

IPhone 13 mini takes 11th place among smartphone cameras

The iPhone 13 mini takes 11th place among smartphone cameras // Source: DxOMARK

But the most surprising thing is to find the smaller iPhone 13 at the same level as the iPhone 12 Pro Max. And for good reason: the two devices share much more than a common paternity. Both show the same photo score (138), but the iPhone 13 mini does better in video (117 against 113) and obviously much less well in terms of “zoom” (55 against 68), for lack of have a third telephoto module and a LiDAR in addition.

We therefore find on its technical sheet the same material as on its high-end predecessor: a 12 Mpx sensor with pixels of 1.7 μm (against 1.4 μm on the iPhone 12 mini), an opening that remains at f / 1.6 and the presence now of the Sensor Shift which helps stabilize the sensor (which was exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro Max until then). The ultra wide-angle remains the same as last year on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, as on the iPhone 12 mini, with its aperture at f / 2.4, when the iPhone 13 Pro was upgraded to f / 1.8.

The change of material for the one which was the top of the range last year explains the prowess now of the iPhone 13 mini in photos, but not only. “There is clear progress in image processing”, explains Frédéric Guichard, the boss of DXOMARK. ” We arrive at similar results on the sub-scores as with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, without having a zoom. It is particularly at night that we see enormous improvements compared to the iPhone 12 mini ”.

The (almost) even and especially cheaper

The lab noted progress on textures and noise ” less present, but of quality and which keeps detail, closer to the noise of film which pleases the photographer. ” Obviously, the processing power provided by the A15 Bionic chip is not unrelated to this excellent behavior in photos. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is still better in Bokeh and Night Portrait, but the iPhone 13 mini has clearly won in low light.

The iPhone 13 mini manages exposure perfectly well, but there is still clipping and noise in the background

The iPhone 13 mini manages exposure perfectly well, but there is still clipping and noise in the background // Source: DXOMARK

This is also felt in the video where it obviously does better than its predecessor, but also than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.“As in the photo, it remains more limited in texture, bokeh and noise in low light than the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but it does much better without its strengths”, adds Frédéric Guichard. theflair, this halo of light around the light sources when night falls remains present and the scenes of strong contrast still offer limited dynamic ranges. But it is the compensation of the algorithm, capable of adjusting and rebalancing according to the situation with in particular its precise and fast autofocus, which allows it to offer a more than honest rendering in video without the same attributes as the ‘iPhone 12 Pro Max. It enjoys crisp exposure and excellent white balance as well as vibrant, true-to-life colors, according to DXOMARK.

The iPhone 13 mini is thus positioned at the same level as the iPhone 12 Pro Max in the general classification, mingling with the crowd of high-end models which often cost more than 150-200 euros more. According to DXOMARK’s test methodology, it obviously outclasses the competition from so-called “premium” devices ($ 600-800). But it is especially in video that it turns out, in view of the tests carried out, a more than interesting model, positioned only two points behind the iPhone 13 Pro (119), the only one at the top of the ranking to beat it. . And he takes advantage, like his iPhone 13 acolytes, of the quite bluffing Cinematic mode (see video at the bottom of the article).

Don't break the bank with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 mini does just as well in photos, according to DXOMARK

So the question is, is it worth the cost of spending almost $ 300 more if your primary goal is to take good photos, no matter the size of the media. The iPhone 13 mini performs just as well as the iPhone 12 Pro Max in good conditions and when the brightness starts to drop.

On the other hand, if you want to focus on portrait photography at night or in very low light, then the LiDAR and the telephoto lens will be essential for you, just like the model of last year which sees its price drop very slightly everywhere (count again around 1100 euros). The question is also to be taken into consideration between a screen of 5.4 inches for the iPhone 13 mini and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. But if you want above all an iPhone to take good photos, with a progressing rendering and without cluttering you, the reflection is worth taking. At least for your wallet …

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