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iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 camera battle shows why small details matter

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The iPhone 14 Pro has one of Apple’s most impressive camera systems in years. But is it significantly better than the regular iPhone 14? We decided to find out.
Smartphone cameras are unbelievably good in 2022, and Apple’s latest iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 are further proof of that. The former ushers in one of the biggest changes we’ve seen to the iPhone’s camera system in years, while the latter offers a very familiar (and reliable) setup.
But which one is the best to shoot with? Do the new and additional camera sensors on the iPhone 14 Pro make it worth the extra cash, or does the tried-and-true camera formula of the iPhone 14 hold its ground? Let’s take a closer look and see how the two compare.
Before we get to the pictures, let’s familiarize ourselves with the camera specs we’re dealing with. At the heart of the iPhone 14 Pro is a 48-megapixel main camera with an f/1.78 aperture. You also get a 12MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture, plus a 12MP telephoto camera with an f/2.8 aperture.
With the regular iPhone 14, the main camera is a 12MP sensor with an f/1.5 aperture. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.4 aperture, but unlike the iPhone 14 Pro, there is no telephoto camera.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 use Apple’s new Photonic Engine for image processing, plus they have Deep Fusion tech and Smart HDR 4. Also shared across the phones is portrait mode with different lighting effects, night mode, and Photographic Styles. Only the iPhone 14 Pro supports night mode portraits, macro photography, and Apple’s ProRAW image format.
That’s how things compare on paper — but what does all of that translate to in actual photographs? We’ll start by looking at the main camera and the below photo of the lake. This was taken on a very overcast day with the sun struggling to break through the gray, cloudy sky. Welcome to Michigan in late September!
Despite the less-than-ideal shooting conditions, both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 produced great photos — and each one looks very similar at first glance. We have a nice view of the lake, the green trees surrounding it, and the swirling clouds above. But it’s in the fine details where the iPhone 14 Pro pulls out ahead. Zoom in on the downed tree branch, and you’ll see that it appears much sharper in the 14 Pro’s image compared to the regular 14’s. The same is true of the grass stands jutting out of the water, which are sharp in the iPhone 14 Pro’s image, but slightly blurry and out of focus in the iPhone 14’s shot.
The photo of my cat is a more drastic example of how the 48MP and 12MP cameras can differ. In addition to the fur appearing slightly sharper in the iPhone 14 Pro photo, there’s a significant difference in the natural bokeh that phones attempt. The iPhone 14 Pro naturally blurs the two pillows on the left, while the iPhone 14 keeps them in focus. The iPhone 14 does attempt to blur the gray couch pillow behind the cat, but it does so with a distracting halo around the edge of it — something the iPhone 14 Pro handles more gracefully.
We then get to see an interesting quirk of the iPhone 14 Pro’s 48MP main camera with the third photo of the flower. Because the camera sensor on the 14 Pro is larger, it isn’t able to focus quite as closely on subjects. That’s why its image of the flower is a bit further out, whereas the iPhone 14 photo is noticeably closer. It’s an odd thing to adjust to at first, but the 14 Pro also makes up for this with its macro photography mode — something we’ll go over a bit later.
When you add all of that together, the new 48MP sensor on the iPhone 14 Pro gives it the edge to be the winner here. It’s not a revolution over the 12MP camera in the iPhone 14, but it is the better camera to shoot with.

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