It’s safe to say that the basic iPhone 14 is slowly turning into a budget smartphone – we have already written about why this is happening. For now, however, Apple continues to make some pretty major changes to the base model despite low demand. Take the same camera for comparison: in the iPhone 14 it is noticeably better! Of course, the modules themselves have been physically upgraded, but there are still serious software improvements. Photonic Engine – just one of the innovations in the iPhone 14 camera. We tell you what it is and how the new feature affects the quality of the pictures.
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Photonic Engine in iPhone – what is it
Photonic Engine function is Apple’s proprietary computational photography technology, which is based on machine learning. It improves pictures taken in low light, but is not a substitute for night mode. Photonic Engine enhances photos in general, and not just increase their brightness. The trick is that you can’t turn it on or off – the function works in the background, so it’s most logical to count it improved version of Deep Fusionwhich appeared in the iPhone 11 back in 2019.
Although Photonic Engine powered by A15 Bionic, this feature is only available on iPhone 14 models. Pictures taken in medium and low light are noticeably better. Apple itself takes a “giant leap” for photos: machine learning processes images for each individual pixel and improves detail, reduces noise throughout the image. Colors become more natural – closer to what we see, but does not distort them. It is noted that small details in the picture will not be changed and will not disappear from the photo. How to check it?
How to improve photo quality on iPhone
You can take pictures in your home: you should get a bright image if the room has windows. However, previous iPhone models darken them, passing them off as natural light shots. On the smartphone screen, they will be very different from what you see with your own eyes. The Photonic Engine corrects this situation by making the shot look realistic.
At the same time, the increase in brightness and the work of the new technology are completely different things: in the picture from the iPhone 14, the skin tone looks more realistic, as does the wallpaper, which “yellows” on the frame from the iPhone 13. Notice how detailed the fireplace and souvenirs are on the coffee table. table – the iPhone 13 smears them. In general, such color reproduction is much more pleasing to the eye, isn’t it?
Also pay attention to the photo of the dog in portrait mode: iPhone 14 makes the picture brighter and the object itself is more detailed, but does not overdo it and does not smear the dog’s fur, but it focuses perfectly on it, blurring objects from behind more strongly. The iPhone 13 takes a good photo, but due to low light, the portrait mode fades slightly.
Or take a look at the multi-colored mug standing on a dark background. iPhone 13 blurs images of Star Wars characters and mutes the color reproduction, but artificially increases the brightness of the picture, making it unnatural. I want to wipe the camera, as if it were dirty. But no: in the photo from the iPhone 14, we do not see this white veil, and the characters become more detailed. I immediately remember the meme with Peter Parker wearing glasses!
As you understood Photonic Engine feature – do not brighten the pictures, but make them more realistic. However, in the photos taken on the street, there is practically no difference: skin color in the picture from the iPhone 13 a little paler, and the background also remains in colder tones. iPhone 14 again does not “yellow”: the picture is saturated and more realistic.
iPhone 14 takes more detailed pictures, although they are still a little far from reality. In the terrarium shot from the iPhone 14, you can see how many scuffs on the stone the iPhone 13 missed, turning them into mush. They look a little sharper, although the quality of both photos leaves much to be desired.
By the way, if you think that everything iPhone 14 photo enhancements happen only thanks to the smartphone itself, then you are mistaken: iOS 16 itself helps in this, so there is hope that over time the engine will start to work even better. Of course, the improvements would not be so noticeable if it were not for improved lenses and apertures – that’s the explanation for you, why is Photonic Engine not working on iPhone 13.
Should I buy an iPhone 14 for these improvements? Perhaps, but the camera improvements are hardly worth it – in any case, opinions are divided in our editorial office. Be sure to try taking a photo on the iPhone 14 and compare with what you get on your iPhone. The difference will be noticeable in low-light shots – this is a serious victory for Apple. The differences will be best seen if you have an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12.