On your marks. Pro. Go! », Laughs Apple, which markets this Friday, September 24 its new range of iPhone 13. The announced novelties are very meager compared to the previous vintage: same design, chips and screen a bit improved, more powerful cameras … Except that, ” who wants to do great things must think deeply about the details “, Recalls Paul Valéry in his” Mauvaises Thoughts and Others “(ed. Gallimard). And, this new iPhone 13, in particular in its “Pro” and “Pro Max” versions, acts on this feeling that it is now a much better companion than a camera and a camera.

The sensation has been emerging in the last ten years or so, with the improvement in the quality of photos on smartphones, concomitant with a boom in image sharing on social networks, and a fall in sales of cameras. In 2020 again, the GFK institute notes a decrease of another -20% in France, when all electronics recorded increases in turnover. Globally, less than 9 million devices were sold last year, reports the association of manufacturers CIPA, against 122 million units ten years earlier!

The best of photography

The camera is dead. Digital photography has made the smartphone a herald, and the iPhone is one of its best flagship. Since the arrival of “Portrait” mode, the Apple phone has shaken up the renderings hitherto above DSLRs. With one finger, it is possible to add a beautiful blur effect to the background, but also grandiose lighting effects.

The sculpture “Héraklès archer” by Antoine Bourdelle, at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, captured with the “Portrait” mode of the iPhone 13 Pro Max

The option took a long time to become really effective (the software had to be adjusted and the arrival of the Lidar sensor made it possible to improve the rendering), to the point of being acclaimed by professional photographers. Last year, photographer Hélène Hadjiyianni (“HLenie”) took a superb series of photos, shared with “l’Obs”, taking advantage of the scene effects and the great capture of light:

Everything is simple, fluid, and I feel free to be able to do whatever I want with it. I used Portrait mode to get something that would look like a classic 35mm camera. The iPhone offers practicality versatility that comes very close to professional use.

On this, the iPhone 13 goes further. With its 12 megapixel system – equipped with a telephoto lens (ƒ / 2.8 aperture), a wide-angle (ƒ / 1.5 aperture) and ultra-wide-angle (ƒ / 1.8 aperture and field of view of 120 °) -, the device captures everything that passes in front of it. The “Portrait” mode works perfectly, in direct sunlight as in the dark, for sublime achievements.

Antoine Bourdelle's sculpture, at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, captured with the “Portrait” mode of the iPhone 13 Pro

Antoine Bourdelle’s sculpture, at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, captured with the “Portrait” mode of the iPhone 13 Pro

For more “classic” shots, in selfie as in normal capture, the device now adopts a “style” allowing to automatically play on the contrasts and the warmth of the image, to mark the “paw” of its author. Better, the iPhone 13 Pro now allows you to enjoy an optical zoom in up to 3x (in addition to the 2x optical zoom out), making it easy to play with the distance or create depth effects.

Another welcome novelty: macro photography. When the phone approaches an object, the wide-angle automatically takes full advantage to allow you to observe and capture details, some invisible to the naked eye, for high quality rendering. If the pros regret this automatic switch, the author of these lines appreciates the automation of the settings to simplify the use as much as possible.

Macrophotography of a small sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle, at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, captured with the iPhone 13 Pro

Macrophotography of a small sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle, at the Bourdelle museum in Paris, captured with the iPhone 13 Pro

The best of video

The iPhone 13 doesn’t just bury the camera, it also puts the cameras with it! All the photographic capacities are put to good use in video, where the capture in ultra high definition (4K), already at work, allows results worthy of professionals. Moreover, more and more videographers are adopting the iPhone as a working tool. Thus the director Michel Gondry, author of a short film commissioned by Apple:

I have already filmed with non-professional cameras, but this brings a real lightness.

In this regard, with one click, everything that passes in front of the objectives is filmed, in a classic way, in accelerated or slow motion. And, on the iPhone 13 Pro, we now benefit from a “Cinematic” mode, the video equivalent of “Portrait”. When filming, the camera automatically adapts the focus to the subjects in action.

Concretely, the focus is on the face of the one detected as the “main character”, creating an effect of blur and depth on the rest of the field. And, depending on the evolution of the framework, this focus adapts. A posteriori, it is even possible to modify all these settings, adjusting the blur as well as possible. The whole is effective and fairly simple to manage, allowing impressive renderings.

The option should in any case continue to depress the low sales of camcorders and digital cameras, very heavy and complex compared to an iPhone. In 2020, less than 9 million digital cameras were sold, down -40%, notes the Japanese daily “Nikkei”. Canon, Sony and Nikkon cameras, with their interchangeable lenses, are no longer attractive. Even GoPro, the company with cameras designed to capture extreme sports, is weakened, laying off 20% of its employees and closing its shops, to focus on online sales.

So, will we all soon be photographers and directors? Not quite. As Bruno Smadja, president of the Mobile Film Festival, told us: “ We all know how to write, but we are not all writers.

# Should we fall for the iPhone 13?

The different colors of iPhone 13 Pro Max

The different colors of iPhone 13 Pro Max

As often, it all depends on the starting point.

For those who, in any case, ambitions to acquire a new smartphone, then the iPhone 13 is at the top of the basket. It is inevitable for anyone accustomed to previous iPhones and Mac and iPad enthusiasts (allowing you to quickly find files, applications and settings). For players in the Android category, the switch at Apple remains a big step (now simplified to find its options and apps), but it is difficult to confirm the domination of the iPhone 13 Pro over the equivalents of Samsung, Xiaomi or Sony, as the gap between high-end smartphones has narrowed.

For iPhone 12 owners, except for an irrepressible desire to have the last born, it is perhaps better to wait another year and version 14, as the improvements of number 13 turn out to be slight – if not in matters photo and video capture. The update to iOS 15 already allows you to enjoy a lot of new features, giving your phone a facelift.

# Technical details of the four versions of iPhone 13:

The different colors of the iPhone 13

The different colors of the iPhone 13

iPhone 13 Pro : 147 x 71 x 8 mm, 203 g, 6.1 inch screen, capacity from 128 GB, 12 Megapixel camera system on the back (three sensors), 12 Megapixel front camera, 4K video, facial recognition, 5G compatible , available in silver, graphite, gold and alpine blue, from € 1,159.

iPhone 13 Pro Max : 161 x 78 x 8 mm, 238 g, 6.7-inch screen, capacity from 128 GB, 12 Megapixel camera system on the back (three sensors), 12 Megapixel front camera, 4K video, facial recognition, 5G compatible , available in silver, graphite, gold and alpine blue, from 1,259 euros.

iPhone 13 Mini : 131 x 6 x 8 mm, 140 g, 5.4 inch screen, capacity from 128 GB, 12 Megapixel camera system on the back (two sensors), 12 Megapixel front camera, 4K video, facial recognition, 5G compatible , available in black (“midnight”), white (“starlight”), red, blue and pink, from 809 euros.

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iPhone 13 : 147 x 71 x 8 mm, 173 g, 6.1 inch screen, capacity from 128 GB, 12 Megapixel camera system on the back (two sensors), 12 Megapixel front camera, 4K video, facial recognition, 5G compatible , available in black (“midnight”), white (“starlight”), red, blue and pink, from 909 euros.



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