iPhone 8 Plus: the camera

Similar to the iPhone 7 Plus, the 8 Plus features two cameras-a wide-angle 12MP main camera, and a 12MP telephoto camera with a slower lens for zooming in on subjects and for special effects such as Portrait Mode.

Image quality experts, DXO Mark, have just awarded the iPhone 8 Plus their highest rating and crowned it the best smartphone camera ever tested. So, let's see what has changed in the latest flagship device...

iPhone 8 Plus key camera specifications:

  • 12MP main (wide-angle) camera with BSI sensor, f/1.8 lens
  • 12MP telephoto camera, f/2.8 lens
  • Optical zoom, with digital zoom up to 10x
  • Portrait mode
  • Portrait Lighting (beta)
  • Optical image stabilization (main camera only)
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow sync
  • Autofocus with focus pixels
  • Wide-gamut color capture
  • Body and face detection
  • AutoHDR

Color

Apple has clearly made a choice to provide a slightly warmer white balance than the previous high scoring smartphone camera, the Google Pixel, for some situations. For example, in this outdoor scene, the image from the 8 Plus has a bit warmer yellowish cast than the Pixel’s image. Both versions are pleasing, so which you prefer is a matter of taste.   

Image: DXOMark

Detail

Smartphone cameras have come such a long way, in only a few years. These crops of an area in a standard natural test scene demonstrate how much more detail the iPhone 8 Plus captures than previous generations of iPhones:

Image: DXOMark

The images were all taken under very low-light (5 Lux) handheld conditions, showing the improvement in detail preservation and noise suppression in successive iPhone models.

Noise

This next comparison image is another that shows how quickly smartphone camera technology is advancing. This image was shot with the iPhone 7 Plus and the 8 Plus, both in Portrait mode. The newer model does a much better job of suppressing noise, especially on the model’s face:

Image: DXOMark

Flash

Flash-only photos with the iPhone 8 Plus feature accurate white balance and good color rendering. With both flash and flash combined with ambient light, there is low noise and good detail preservation. There can be a slight yellow cast when flash is mixed with a low level of ambient light, and exposure and white balance can vary from shot to shot in a sequence.

Slow Sync Flash keeps the shutter open a bit longer to allow more natural light in when shooting with a flash. As a result, the image isn’t only lit by the light provided by the flash, but instead is balanced with the ambient light of the environment which creates a more balanced, natural shot.

Image: Austin Mann

Conclusion 

In conclusion, DMO Mark say that this is one of the best HDR performances of any device that they have tested. Overall, the strongest points outlined were the "excellent use of face detection to accurately expose faces", the zoom, and the best Bokeh on a mobile device. So, if you are purchasing a smartphone for the camera capabilities, it's probably worth upgrading to the iPhone 8 Plus.

Got yourself the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus? Make sure you give that "glass sandwich" the best in protection! Protect the back from that inevitable crack- Shop cases for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus here.