I compared the iPhone 13 Pro against the Leica Q2 camera for 450 thousand rubles. This is the difference!

We have collided cameras of flagships and mid-range smartphones dozens of times, but almost never tried to compare iPhones.

Yes, there is a first generation Sony Alpha 7 in the editorial office, but its macro lens will destroy the iPhone’s 3x zoom and will not show the difference with the main camera.

They took the test Leica Q2which costs almost half a million rubles… This luxury camera from the German manufacturer is 2.5 years old, it is mirrorless and has a sensor almost 20 times larger than that of the iPhone 13 Pro. That, in turn, costs from 99,990 rubles.

Due to the price, this device is designed for narrow specialists like Hollywood photographers or reportage journalists and for very wealthy amateurs.

It would seem that in comparison, the answer is obvious: it is more convenient to shoot with a smartphone, but the photos will turn out to be unconditionally better with an expensive camera.

What if I say that it is not so?

Well, for example, can you guess where which camera shot? The answer at the end

This is absolutely not the case. For a week and a half of the test, both devices opened up for me from a side that I definitely did not expect.

Even the idea of ​​cameras with large matrices has turned upside down. And about the iPhone, oddly enough, too.

Let’s start with the details.

Camera specifications

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

Both Apple and Leica claim their devices deliver the highest image quality in their class. But the approaches to work are different.

The iPhone 13 Pro relies on “computer photography” and algorithms on the powerful A15 Bionic processor, and the Leica Q2 delivers results with a large sensor, a fixed 28mm ƒ / 1.7 aperture lens and high-quality optics.

In short, this is what we compare.

iPhone 13 Pro
Primary sensor size: 1 / 1.65 inch or 44 mm2,
Resolution: 12 MP
Aperture: ƒ / 1.5 or equivalent ƒ / 6.8 full frame
Angle: 26mm

Telephoto (3x) sensor size: 1 / 3.4 inch or 12.2 mm2
Resolution: 12 MP
Aperture: ƒ / 2.8 or equivalent ƒ / 23.8 full frame
Angle: 77mm

Leica Q2
Sensor size: 1.7 inches or 864 mm2
Resolution: 47.3 MP
Aperture: ƒ / 1.7 – ƒ / 16
Angle: 28mm
Crop up to 75 mm of the same sensor for 3x zoom


This is what the digital zoom looks like on the Leica Q2

I did not take into account the ultra-wide-angle camera of the iPhone 13 Pro, since there is no competitor in the Leica Q2, and the quality would be too weak.

According to the characteristics of Leica, it should destroy the competitor, but the second is helped by Night mode, Smart HDR 4 and Digital Fusion, which stitches up to 9 photos into one.

The first experience showed that all these digital “enhancers” actually bring the quality closer to the full frame. At first sight.

The comparison was not done in the most familiar way


The Leica Q2 cannot change the lens. It is fixed at 28mm versus 26mm on the core of the iPhone 13 Pro

These are two different classes of devices, not only in their format (smartphone versus camera), but also in the way they are used (everyday snapshot versus creativity).

But the iPhone has a Pro prefix for a reason. It was the tricks associated with advanced smartphone use that I tried to use.

Moreover, shooting in automatic mode with the Leica Q2 at first seemed like something completely wrong.


Instead of a mode dial in the Leica Q2, the main drum is responsible for the shutter speed. ISO is controlled by another ring, and for aperture it is at the end of the lens

That’s why technically, while shooting, I tried to squeeze the most out of both cameras under identical conditions.

I processed it to a minimum so that RAW images showed their strong light range, but did not win over each other due to the fact that one of the options was paid more attention.

Under ideal conditions, the difference is only in detail.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. Different processing levels produce a mobile snapshot

Left optical 3x zoom iPhone 13 Pro, right digital 3x zoom Leica Q2

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. The second shot had to be twisted in RAW to make it look like a mobile one. Also check out the similar shape of the flare on the left.

By 2021, the cameras of top-end smartphones have expanded the boundaries of what is considered to be a comfortable environment for shooting them. If earlier it was only direct sunlight, now you can add cloudy weather and a bright room here.

If you put the pictures side by side and look at them from small screens, then the overall level of contrast and illumination is alarmingly similar. When these conditions are taken into account, it might seem that the meaning in large matrices has evaporated.

Everything changes when we enlarge the image at least twice. Look at the detailing of the pipes.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. The larger 26mm angle is especially noticeable here.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

I’m not sure how the 108MP Samsung Galaxy S21 would have behaved, but you can see that the iPhone 13 Pro is already clearly lacking in detail with its 12MP.

Leica Q2 due to the matrix is ​​19 times larger and its 47.3 MP detailing unconditionally wins.

For professional use and convenient framing for social networks, shots from a large camera will come in handy more.

Leica blur adds magic, but iPhone 13 Pro tries to mimic it

Left iPhone 13 Pro in RAW mode, right Leica Q2. The usual dry spikelets from the iPhone 13 Pro turned into a magic trail thanks to Leica Q2 blur

Left iPhone 13 Pro in Portrait mode, right Leica Q2. A similar effect on the iPhone 13 Pro can be achieved thanks to LiDAR, if you shoot a scene in portrait mode. Yes, you can see irregularities, but for social networks it will do

The aperture of the main module of the iPhone 13 Pro is ƒ / 1.5.

The aperture of the Leica Q2 is ƒ / 1.7.

In a direct comparison, we would say that the lower the value after the fraction, the stronger the blur should be. But this conclusion does not fit here.

Due to the fact that the matrix of the iPhone 13 Pro is much smaller, in relation to cameras of the same class, the aperture of its lens is not ƒ / 1.5, but ƒ / 6.8.

That is, the blur is much weaker, and at equal full frame ISO and shutter speed, the photos will be darker by 4 steps exposure.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. But here, neither the main camera nor the macro mode of the iPhone 13 Pro were able to repeat the “creamy” blur that the Leica Q2 lens is capable of.

Left iPhone 13 Pro in Portrait mode, right Leica Q2

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

Thanks to the A15 Bionic and its quality Tone Mapping (display of colors) there was no difference in the level of brightness, but such a deep and delicate blur, as in the Leica Q2, cannot be physically replaced.

The interior of the car looks especially beautiful.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

The example above surprised me. At night, two different images are taken from the cameras. One is a dubious idea with a porridge of pixels, the second is a creative technique with a focus on the hero of the scene.

My takeaway is that users would go crazy if they saw such a powerful blur in the IPhone 13 Pro. Moreover, both in a good and in a bad sense. It fits perfectly for portraits and artistic macro shots, but it would be impossible to shoot food, documents, objects in hands.

The Leica Q2 has a diagram adjustment for such cases, but from mobile only the Galaxy S9 and the new Sony Xperia Pro-i are capable of this. Yes, and it is not necessary for a smartphone now, their matrices and so little light.

The iPhone’s optical zoom is weaker than the Leica’s digital zoom. But algorithms helped

Comparison from the beginning. Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. In the second photo, I had to pull out the sky using a mask when the HDR in the iPhone 13 Pro on the left did it on its own.

Due to the fact that the Leica Q2 has a fixed lens, the zoom is only digital. One of three buttons can be programmed to change the focal length from 28mm to 35mm, 50mm and 75mm.

The JPEG file will be cropped and the desired cropping is recorded in the DNG, keeping the original resolution.

In terms of the level of detail preservation, the conclusion is as follows.

The Leica Q2 has made a soft picture where one color gently blends into another.

At the same time, the iPhone 13 Pro, using its algorithm for stitching multiple photos, Deep Fusion adds a lot of sharpness and draws more contrasting lines. They give out the effect of clarity.

Left optical zoom 3 times iPhone 13 Pro, right digital zoom 3 times Leica Q2

Left digital zoom 6x iPhone 13 Pro, right digital zoom 6x Leica Q2

In the dark, the results were similar. The only thing, thanks to the tricky HDR iPhone, more gently “pulled” the backlight on the watch.

Left optical zoom 3 times iPhone 13 Pro, right digital zoom 3 times Leica Q2

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2

The same applies to shooting in motion in the photo above, although here everything is not so simple.

The Leica Q2 did better due to its narrow focus range and higher brightness, but in the above scene I was shooting a series of shots. The iPhone 13 Pro recorded nearly every frame at about 7x faster than the larger camera.

Left iPhone 13 Pro, right Leica Q2. Colossal difference

This always gives more freedom to choose a good posture in movement after the fact.

But due to the fact that each frame Leica Q2 processed better, it was from her that almost anyone could be taken to print, and with the iPhone 13 Pro it will only be released in a story under a bunch of filters

What conclusions

Taken with Leica Q2

During the 10 days of testing the luxury camera, I changed my mind several times about both it and the iPhone 13 Pro.

I was shocked that daytime photos with 3x zoom are almost impossible to distinguish from each other. Yes, in the case of a full frame, this is a digital zoom, which sometimes even wins, but given the ƒ / 2.8 aperture on the iPhone, the result is still gorgeous in terms of brightness.

Daytime shots also did not lag behind in the quality of general detail. If in too bright rooms I turned the Leica aperture up to ƒ / 6.8, then it was almost impossible to distinguish the pictures.

Until then, until he began to bring them closer during processing.

The huge, high-resolution 47.3MP full frame captured details that were like heaven and earth compared to the iPhone 13 Pro.

Taken with Leica Q2

This feature, for example, helped me to pull out the brightness of the coat and correctly retouch it in the photo above. On the iPhone, any serious chiaroscuro play would turn the shot into a noisy mess.

And also because of the size of even a JPEG file of 60 MB, I saw for the first time that the A15 Bionic is not as powerful as we all think. When I cropped such a picture in the Photos application, lags and friezes appeared. Smartphone corny “did not pull” such permission.

The second turning point was how free I felt in auto mode with the Leica because of the maximum aperture wide-angle lens.

ISO and shutter speed were adjusted within adequate limits, without blurring the frame or turning them into continuous ripples. The iPhone 13 Pro is also capable of this, but it gave a much weaker result.

Taken with Leica Q2

All in all, I almost understand why Leica Q2 costs so much. Compared to competitors in the same class, one piece of hardware (including the lens) would cost 300,000 rubles. The camera shoots video in 4K (albeit at 30 fps), synchronizes with smartphones via the application and does what it was created for in a high-quality way. Throw in the perfect build and brand status, and it’s clear why Apple products are also more expensive than anyone else in their territory.

True, after this material, it was in the capabilities of the main camera of the iPhone 13 Pro that I was upset. In the office, we shoot a full frame Sony Alpha 7 with a 90mm macro lens, so it was always difficult to compare shots from it with mobile ones.

And then I saw that it is still impossible to get around physical limitations with the help of software. But the gap is getting smaller.

📸 All photos in this material:


Source: iPhones.ru — Новости высоких технологий, обзоры смартфонов, презентации Apple by www.iphones.ru.

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