back to article Why did Apple hamstring camera repairs on standard iPhone 12 but leave Pro Max module swappable? asks engineering group

The iPhone 12 Pro Max represents the top end of Apple's latest smartphone lineup. This is a tier that historically has differentiated itself not just by its price, but also by its camera, which Cupertino insists can produce shots that rival those taken on professional kit. A recent teardown from iFixit gives some weight to …

  1. hammarbtyp

    Amateur vs professional

    Some "professionals" still use 50 year film cameras, while i've seen happy snappy merchants using top end Nikons/Canons where you might as well glued the auto button in place for as much use it got.

    So define what is meant by the term professional kit?

    1. reGOTCHA

      Re: Amateur vs professional

      It's just marketing don't overthink it...

      "Our camera goes all the way to f/0.000001 just like the pros." - they say - hoping we forget a "pro" camera has more kilos of dedicated image taking/processing hardware that a smartphone will ever have for all it's possible purposes.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Amateur vs professional

        > hoping we forget a "pro" camera has more kilos of dedicated image taking/processing hardware

        Kilos of image taking hardware, yes. Image processing hardware? Yes, but the phones aren't far, if at all, behind in the processing area, since they are attempting to get better pictures from smaller sensors. The data throughput and storage wrote speeds on recent flagship phones is certainly on par.

        The workflow is also different - some pros will take RAW data, and such the processing is done by a human and desktop-class CPU/GPU.

        What will be interesting is when we start to see the processing power in DSLRs become proportional to the useful data their sensors are capable of capturing (not just number of pixels, but dynamic range per pixel, and high data capture rate), when compared to phone sensors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amateur vs professional


      I am most certainly NOT a professional, (hell, a professional would probably laugh at my efforts) but I still use my T90 a lot. And then spend hours in my darkroom developing my photos. Joy indeed!

      Cheers… Ishy

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amateur vs professional

      A pro kit is one that you can bring to the job, accomplish task and get paid?Just putting it out there.

  2. el kabong

    apple phone cameras produce shots that mimic those taken on professional malfunctioning kit

    I think i can agree with that.

    Cleverly used pseudo AI and AI fakery can fool some, especially those who are eager to be fooled.

  3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Hang on

    We haven't really seen sensor-based stabilisation in the mobile sphere

    Sony Xperia range: are we a joke to you?

    (seriously feeling sorry for Sony now, they deserve much better.)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Hang on

      Yeah, but Sony have largely done it to themselves. However, they have publically declared their intention to do better - in this case by allowing their phone division to work with their professional photography section, which previously didn't happen.

      It has seemed odd to the layman that for years Sony Xperia phone cameras haven't been the highest rated, despite Sony making and supplying the actual camera sensors found in the highest-rated phone cameras.

      It's hoped that image processing expertise from their pro camera division might help their phones output images that compete with the likes of Apple and Google.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Hang on

        From what I've seen the 5 2 5g (because that's not confusing at all....) has not just a natty camera array focusing (teehee) on bigger pixels, not more but dSLR-like level of camera controls for the aspiring photographer.

        The ability to play with settings was one of the draws on my current phone (Huawei p20 Pro) so I'm actually seriously considering the Sony since I still can't stand Samsung phones (I tried with the S7 but bloat just turned me off) and I like the idea of stabilisation for those long exposure shots I like taking along with the burst mode for action shots.

      2. Eponymous Bastard

        Re: Hang on

        Indeed. Until recently Sony was clearly of the opinion that no-one using a smartphone wanted to or needed to shoot raw which was one of the reasons I moved on from my XZ which was excellent in all other respects. No-one really wants to edit a jpg, any more than anyone wants to edit an mp3 or any other compressed i.e. compromised file format. Given that smartphone manufacturers are keen to appeal to photographers by providing manual modes which enable selection of shutter speed and ISO whilst still rather limiting aperture control - I assume because of manufacturing limitations - raw capture should be a given I think.

        I'll get my film covered coat.

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Hang on

          Again the new Sony Xperia 5 II has a raw photo mode (I might have been researching this a little bit too much)

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    If i wanted a

    camera, I'd go down the camera shop and get a basic model nikon/canon DSLR for about 300-400 euros/pounds/dollars/arcturian pobblebeads

    Much cheaper than an I phone 12 pro (coming soon.... iPhone 14 to soak even more cash off the gullible)

    And can export the pictures to GIMP* for further playing about with

    After all most phone pics I've seen are usually blurry shots of drunk people in pubs..

    *stop hissing in the background.. some of us cant afford photoshop

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If i wanted a

      basic model nikon/canon DSLR

      Should buy the next model up. Will be able to make phone calls from the camera!

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: The Gimp

      No hissing required. I could probably easily afford Photoshop/Lightroom/Premiere, but I've yet to see that lot do anything I can't do better with The Gimp, Raw Therapee and Shotcut, tbh.

      And I'll be buggered if I'm going to sign up to a subscription model and learn a whole new set of workflows, just to be able to impress people with my Adobe T Shirt!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Gimp

        Some of us have to use the much better PS and LR to keep getting work (capture one also)

        Fortunately Adobe executives ( and coders) make it easier every day to argue against the need for them,opening the door for equally powerful les expensive software. Now if Gimp could get a growth push like Blender 3d has gotten in the last few years that’d be sweet

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: If i wanted a

      That's nice Boris. But I can't slip a DSLR in my pocket and I don't want to be that guy who always carries his camera case around.

      I can attest that when I used to own a discreet camera, we never had it when something interesting happened that was unexpected. Even growing up as a kid on family holidays "did you bring the camera?" was a mantra preceding family arguments.

    4. Snapper

      Re: If i wanted a

      And with Affinity Photo at £33 for the next few days, who actually needs the vastly overpriced Photoshop.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If i wanted a

        Freelancers and other pros

    5. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: If i wanted a

      What is the exchange rate for Arcturian Pobblebeads these days anyway?

      At least the Arcturian Pobblebead investors are less annoying than the Bitcoin "get-rich-quick" snake oil peddlers...

    6. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: If i wanted a

      A long time ago, for work, I was taught basic photography by an (ex) professional news photographer.

      Ex: "Tim99, what is the best camera for work?" Me: "I’m not sure - A K1000?" Ex: "No - It’s the one you have with you!".

      Ex had several other gems of wisdom: "What’s an expensive camera good for?" - "Gentlemen’s jewellery!" (He meant showing off, by hanging it around your neck). "Why should you always leave your camera in auto-mode?" - "Because by the time that you have faffed about with range and exposure, whatever it was you were going to photograph has finished!".

      Ex was also a fan of Polaroid Land 5x4 cameras, because you knew, on site, that you actually had a photo that you could use - Instead of going back to the lab and developing a rubbish negative.

      And that’s why, ladies and gentlemen, you should have a decent-ish camera phone to hand...

    7. Dabooka Silver badge

      Re: If i wanted a

      Oh not this again.

      Yes there's stand alone kit that's far better, just like the ongoing debate regarding Sonos vs hifi kit, well done for pointing it out. However that misses the point entirely.

      Ultimately the phone in the pocket now negates the need to consider even a point and press when going away / out / to aunt Nellie's surprise birthday. Plus phones allow pictures to be shared / uploaded / even edited there and then. Try doing that on most cameras.

      I get your point, we all do I am certain of that, but it's not comparing like for like sue case is it?

    8. ryokeken

      Business insider 2013 agrees with you

      Tho the New York Times from 2013 seems to disagree with you

      Tho one has a bunch of prizes and the other not. Gonna google who’s it (smiley here)

  5. I sound like Peter Griffin!!
    Paris Hilton


    In the 12 Pro teardown iFixit noted that the battery was smaller than that in the 11 Pro - do we now know if the 12 Pro MAX battery has been zapped by the same shrink-ray?

    Paris, coz if ANYONE wants to know what the battery situation is like in her gadgets.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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