I did an iPhone 15 Pro Max camera test and the results shocked me

Trending 1 month ago
A personification holding nan Apple iPhone 15 Plus and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and Apple iPhone 15 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

An iPhone 15 pinch a large surface is calling your name, and this twelvemonth you really do person a prime of two. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has grabbed headlines pinch its titanium assemblage and improved camera, but nan iPhone 15 Plus has nan aforesaid size surface and is $200 cheaper; plus, it’s a awesome telephone overall.

But what astir nan camera? It’s highly apt nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera will triumph successful a test, but by really much? If it’s not a immense difference, you whitethorn beryllium good surviving pinch nan iPhone 15 Plus and redeeming money connected nan acquisition price. This is what we’re astir to find retired successful our camera shootout, and nan results whitethorn astonishment you.

What astir nan camera hardware?

The Apple iPhone 15 Plus and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max's camera modules.Apple iPhone 15 Plus (left) and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 48-megapixel main camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and a 12MP telephoto camera. This setup provides a 2x and a 5x optical zoom, positive there’s each kinds of package trickery to heighten your images — including Apple’s Photonic Engine and Smart HDR 5. It utilizes Apple’s second-generation optical image stabilization, tin sprout macro shots, and successful nan ProRAW format too.

The iPhone 15 Plus uses nan A16 Bionic processor and not nan A17 Pro successful nan iPhone 15 Pro Max. Although it’s a 48MP main camera, it’s different from nan 1 fitted to Apple’s apical caller iPhone. It’s joined by a 12MP wide-angle camera, but there’s nary telephoto camera, truthful you only get a elemental 2x optical zoom. It doesn’t connection a macro mode, and it’s nan erstwhile procreation of optical image stabilization, but features for illustration nan Photonic Engine and Smart HDR 5 remain.

On paper, nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera is acold superior, but really is this reflected successful photos? The photos beneath were taken connected various different days and utilizing car mode, past examined connected a color-calibrated monitor. They person besides been resized for friendlier online viewing.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: main camera

This comparison is defined by 3 things: focus, noise, and sharpness. Sometimes nan differences are not that noticeable until you harvest nan image down, but successful different instances, it’s very obvious. Before you deliberation each this applies positively only to nan iPhone 15 Pro Max, deliberation again.

Our first photograph shows what I’ve recovered passim nan comparison. The iPhone 15 Plus has much meticulous attraction successful immoderate cases and tin often return sharper photos. The metallic sheet down nan doorway knocker and nan wood surrounding it are much sharply focused successful nan iPhone 15 Plus’s photo, and while it’s not blurry successful nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s image, it’s missing that flimsy spot of sharpness. I emotion nan colors and tones successful some photos.

It’s little evident successful nan adjacent photo, but nan iPhone 15 Plus’ stronger extent of section is noticeable, arsenic are nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s much earthy colour tones. Crop down, and some are rather similar. I person a difficult clip deciding which photograph I prefer, but my oculus is much often drawn to nan iPhone 15 Plus’ image. It’s not a amended value image, and there’s thing incorrect pinch nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s photo, but nan Plus’ camera seems to beryllium amended tuned for this type of close-up.

Take a look astatine nan motion closest to america successful nan adjacent photo, on pinch nan crushed underneath it, and announcement really it’s much sharply focused successful nan iPhone 15 Plus’ photo, while there’s arguably amended opposition and colour successful nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s photo. After these 3 images, you tin spot nan Pro Max prefers to attraction much profoundly connected an image than nan iPhone 15 Plus, which tin make close-up photos little visually appealing.

More wide shots are highly similar, pinch a fewer flimsy differences. The Pro Max’s opposition gives bluish skies a much earthy hue, but it tin present a small much sound successful immoderate cases. Otherwise, there’s small quality betwixt them. It intends our trial has opened pinch a spot of a shock. Both cameras return awesome photos, and neither do a bad occupation astatine immoderate point. But nan Plus not only comes adjacent to matching nan Pro Max — it tin besides sometimes amended connected it. This intends it’s a tie alternatively than nan broad triumph for nan iPhone 15 Pro Max that you whitethorn person expected.

Winner: Draw

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: macro and close-up

The main cameras return awesome photos, but location is capable of a quality erstwhile taking close-up photos that I request to divided it retired into different conception conscionable to exemplify really overmuch amended nan iPhone 15 Plus is successful this respect. Yes, I said nan iPhone 15 Plus is better.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max automatically switched to macro mode successful nan first photograph and wouldn’t attraction decently erstwhile I turned it disconnected — favoring nan inheritance alternatively of nan flower. The Pro Max photograph supra is from macro mode. No specified characteristic exists connected nan iPhone 15 Plus, and nan consequence from nan Plus is still truthful overmuch much appealing pinch its ace extent of section and much detail.

The 2nd photograph was nan champion I could do pinch nan iPhone 15 Pro Max. It wouldn’t attraction connected nan spider web successful modular aliases macro modes, while nan iPhone 15 Plus focused connected it without a problem. This is nan only photograph wherever I utilized pat to focus, which still made nary quality pinch nan iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While location aren’t really immoderate awesome differences betwixt nan 2 erstwhile taking regular main camera photos, location were hints that nan Plus was amended astatine getting adjacent to a subject. This is apt down to nan hardware alternatively than nan software, truthful possibly it is simply a quirk of nan strategy and not thing that will beryllium fixed successful a package update. The iPhone 15 Plus thumps nan iPhone 15 Pro Max here, and it was rather unexpected.

Winner: iPhone 15 Plus

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: wide-angle camera

Sharper, little noise, amended focus. Once again, these 3 position are applicable erstwhile looking astatine nan wide-angle camera, but this clip it’s nan iPhone 15 Pro Max that pulls ahead. It’s not by much, and sometimes you request to harvest to spot nan differences, but nan wide-angle camera connected nan iPhone 15 Plus does lag here.

In nan iPhone 15 Plus’ photograph of nan church, there’s much separator enhancement astatine play astir nan steeple and on nan apical of nan roof, while nan Pro Max avoids each this and, astatine nan aforesaid time, pulls successful much item and much sharply focuses connected nan points closest to nan camera. You tin spot nan improved opposition and vulnerability passim and spot little sound successful nan entity too.

Inside nan church, nan differences are moreover much noticeable. There’s a batch of sound successful nan Plus’ photo, pinch nan stained solid windows and ceiling lights successful peculiar showing disconnected nan differences betwixt nan 2 cameras. Lighting wasn’t unspeakable inside, truthful nan Plus can’t usage debased ray arsenic an excuse here.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max isn’t ever perfect, and there’s plentifulness of sound successful nan entity successful our last photograph (from some cameras), but nan Plus past makes a messiness of nan water, which is smoother and little noisy successful nan Pro Max’s photo. I ended up having overmuch much assurance successful nan Pro Max’s wide-angle camera than nan Plus’, and nan differences betwixt them are obvious.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: telephoto and zoom

Let’s get this retired of nan measurement first: The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 5x optical zoom is of amended value than nan iPhone 15 Plus’ integer zoom. At first glance, it whitethorn not look for illustration there’s overmuch difference, truthful I’ve cropped nan image down (above) to exemplify really overmuch much item is successful nan Pro Max’s telephoto image than nan Plus’ integer photo. There’s nary title here, but it’s hardly a large surprise.

The 2x optical zoom mode is simply a different story, and some return rather akin photos. The situation astir nan car looks almost identical, pinch nary much aliases little item successful either, but there’s a small alteration successful achromatic balance. The iPhone 15 Plus’ car has a starker reside of white, and though I for illustration nan photo, nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s changeable is much realistic.

However, 2x zoom successful wide crossed some phones is not fantastic. There’s visible sound successful some photos, nan item successful nan region is hardly pin-sharp, and nan entity is washed-out too. The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s photograph is nan amended of nan 2 owed to a little contrasty look, but it’s only really noticeable erstwhile you comparison them directly. However, its 5x telephoto ensures it takes nan win.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: Night mode

Noise plays a large facet successful nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s improvements complete nan iPhone 15 Plus’ camera. The first photograph was taken successful almost darkness, successful that I couldn’t make retired nan trees overmuch pinch my ain eyes, but nan Pro Max avoids each nan sound successful nan entity that’s coming successful nan Plus’ photo. The trees are sharper, arsenic is nan writer verge adjacent to nan path. There’s a batch of processing astatine work, but it’s not detrimental to nan image.

Even pinch much ambient light, nan iPhone 15 Plus can’t lucifer nan iPhone 15 Pro Max successful debased light. The 2nd photograph shows really nan entity is noisy and nan crane is obscurity adjacent arsenic crisp aliases clear successful nan Plus’s photo, which besides struggles pinch item connected nan motortruck and roadworthy surface.

A batch of nan differences betwixt nan 2 cameras apt travel down to nan A16 Bionic and A17 Pro, positive really nan Pro Max tin utilization nan Photonic Engine successful Night mode. Even successful these photos, nan betterment Apple has made to lowlight photography pinch nan Pro Max is clear, and it’s nan champion prime if you return tons of photos successful this type of environment.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Plus: selfies

Both phones person a 12MP TrueDepth beforehand camera pinch an f/1.9 aperture and make usage of nan Photonic Engine, Smart HDR 5, and Deep Fusion technology. The only existent quality betwixt them is that connected nan Pro Max, you tin sprout ProRes video astatine 4K and 60 frames per second.

Unsurprisingly, it’s very difficult to opportunity 1 is amended than nan other. There are flimsy differences successful nan measurement nan Pro Max handles tegument tone, and it does look to beryllium much natural, but wide value and item are fundamentally nan same. Portrait effects are besides nan same, pinch fantabulous separator nickname throughout.

While I often preferred nan iPhone 15 Pro Max’s selfies, it’s only a individual penchant and a mini tweak successful nan photograph editor achieved nan aforesaid effect connected nan Plus. There are nary method improvements betwixt nan two, truthful it’s going to beryllium a draw. However, I do deliberation nan selfie camera is very bully connected some phones.

Winner: Draw

Unsurprising win, pinch a astonishing loss

Apple iPhone 15 Plus and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max seen from nan back.Apple iPhone 15 Plus (left) and Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 Pro Max wins nan comparison pinch 3 wins, while nan iPhone 15 Plus took one, and nan brace had a tie successful 2 different categories. The tie pinch nan Pro Max successful nan main camera category, which erstwhile you see nan value and hype quality betwixt nan phones, is really a spot of a nonaccomplishment for nan Pro Max. It really should person dominated nan full test.

The iPhone 15 Plus ever took amended close-up photos, moreover erstwhile nan iPhone 15 Pro Max switched to macro mode, and I could spot this being a problem for me. I for illustration photos pinch a beardown extent of field, and nan Plus ever returned nan image I had successful my mind. The Pro Max simply didn’t want to return those photos astatine all.

It’s an wide triumph for nan iPhone 15 Pro Max, and nan wide-angle camera and Night mode shots are overmuch amended than those taken by nan iPhone 15 Plus, but to make it perfect, it really needs to lucifer nan Pro’s superior close-up capacity too. It’s worthy asking yourself what benignant of photos you return earlier settling connected 1 exemplary complete nan other, conscionable successful lawsuit 1 aliases nan different doesn’t rather lucifer your needs. That said, you’re successful beautiful safe hands pinch both, and that’s a awesome business to beryllium successful if your main request is simply a large screen.

Editors' Recommendations

  • Apple’s October Mac motorboat arena was changeable connected … an iPhone?!
  • iPhone 16: 12 things I want to spot successful nan adjacent iPhone
  • Apple did thing pinch nan iPhone 15 Plus that I didn’t expect
  • I’d emotion to bargain an Apple Watch, but there’s thing stopping me
  • Apple’s caller in-store instrumentality aimed astatine improving iPhone setup process