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iPhone 7 set to compete with dedicated cameras
iPhone 7 set to compete with dedicated cameras
Time icon23 September 2016, 10:47 am

With the announcement of its upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has changed its approach to cameras in its long-running line of smartphones – starting with "user-friendliness" and going beyond.

Image stabilization, which previously was a feature in Plus models of the iPhone, has now been added to the IPhone 7 itself. This helps prevent image blur from shaking hands or camera movement. The iPhone 7's lens has also seen some moderate improvements: with a wider aperture, the camera is set to be able to take better-lit photos in low-light conditions.

The greatest changes, however, are exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple has chosen to add dual cameras to the higher-end model: a 12 megapixel camera with a 28mm lens and a camera with a 56mm lens. The second lens will allow much higher quality photos at longer zoom levels, though unlike optical zoom, changing cameras creates a "jump" between two zoom levels rather than providing full flexibility. It can also be used to create a "bokeh", or blur-of-field effect, where foreground objects take sharp focus.

Though competitors such as HTC, LG and Huawei have featured dual cameras in their smartphones, and 1.8 lenses like the iPhone 7's have featured in phones for a long time now, Apple intends to harness its reputation for user-friendliness and integrate these new features into the iPhone's camera app.

With the iPhone 7 Plus in particular, Apple seems intent on appealing to photography enthusiasts and other corners of the digital camera market where smartphones currently don't reach. These changes are less likely to appeal to professional photographers, for whom true optical zoom is generally a must, but they could still cause a notable uptick in the iPhone's market share, and in the percentage of Plus purchases compared to standard iPhones.

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