When it comes to smartphone requirements, a fantastic camera is usually on the top of everybody's list.

While it's easy to see how far iPhone cameras have developed since the first generation, understanding the differences between models is much more difficult. To take a closer look at what's currently available, we put the new generation of iPhones up against previous releases.

iPhone SE (Second Generation)

Apple is calling it the "best single-camera system on an iPhone", so the second generation iPhone SE is a brilliant choice if you'd prefer to stick to a mid-range budget for your next handset. New for 2020, the new iPhone SE has been built with a 12MP rear camera and 7MP front-facing camera - that's plenty of megapixels to snap professional-looking shots in both bright and low light.


iPhone SE shares many of the photography features found on Apple's premium handsets, including Portrait Mode with all six Portrait Lighting effects. You'll be able to get creative with the subject of your shot, and on both the front and rear cameras you can access Depth Control, which will use machine learning and monocular depth estimation to allow you to adjust the amount of background blur in each picture. Simply use the toggle to add more or less blur to a photo - you can even do this after you've taken the shot.
Next-generation Smart HDR, meanwhile, helps to enhance every single photo taken. It intelligently adjusts highlights and shadows to ensure your picture has the very best lighting, removing any overexposed or unnaturally dark areas.

Last but not least is iPhone SE video. You can record on the rear camera at an amazing 4K up to 60fps, and with stereo audio recording the sound will be crisp and crystal clear. You can even use the new QuickTake feature to take a still photo while filming - perfect for capturing unforgettable moments to share on social.

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Apple's first triple-lens rear camera can be found on both iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max - two of Apple's flagships released in September 2019. With an additional lens, Apple has taken smartphone photography up a notch, and all three lenses measure 12MP.

The 12MP Ultra Wide lens shoots with a 120-degree field of view. This means you'll be able to see four times more, making it a perfect option for capturing breath-taking landscapes. The 12MP Wide lens helps autofocus happen at lightning speed - even in low light. Finally, the 12MP Telephoto lens uses 2x optical zoom to give you more control over the depth in your images. You can manually switch between all three lenses quickly and easily, so you'll never miss that vital moment.


Both iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max include a new feature called Night Mode which ensures low-light images are refined, well-lit and showcase colour beautifully. Portrait Mode and Portrait Lightning have been improved as well, with new effects added for more flattering photos.

4K video recording, slow-motion selfies (aka Slofies) and a new 12MP True Depth selfie camera are all yours to explore on both phones.

iPhone Xs and Xs Max

As Apple's current flagship devices, it should come as no surprise that both iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max are home to the manufacturer's most advanced cameras. Both share the same specs, the major difference between these two handsets has to do with screen size: iPhone Xs measures 5.8 inches while iPhone Xs Max is a whopping 6.5 inches.

Back to cameras, on the rear of iPhone Xs and Xs Max you'll find an innovative dual-lens 12MP camera. Both a wide-angle and telephoto lens are on board, alongside dual optical image stabilisation to reduce blurriness in your photos. The rear camera is also capable of 2x optical zoom and has a digital zoom up to 10x. You can record in 4K as well, at either 24, 30 or 60fps, take videos in slo-mo and use either a 2x optical zoom or digital zoom up to 6x when filming.


You'll find the phenomenal 7MP True Depth camera system on iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max too. As well as capturing your best angle in selfies, it makes some of Apple's most sought-after features possible. Tracking over 50 of your facial muscles, you'll be able to use Face ID to unlock your phone and make use of Animoji and Memoji on both handsets.

Smart HDR - an improvement on Auto HDR - made its debut in 2018, and intelligently combines multiple photos with different exposure levels to create the perfectly composed, well-lit photo. There's also Portrait Lighting and Portrait Mode, now with advanced bokeh for an improved blurred effect. Depth Control is brand-new from Apple for 2018 too, and this feature enables you to adjust the depth of field of an image even after you've pressed the shutter button.

iPhone XR

Released alongside iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, the iPhone XR's cameras share many of the same brilliant features, including Smart HDR, Portrait Lighting and the new and improved Portrait Mode with Depth Control. In fact, there are only a handful of differences to mention, with the most notable surrounding the rear camera.

Unlike iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, the iPhone XR has a single-lens 12MP rear camera. With an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation and a digital zoom up to 5x however, you can still expect sensational photos, even in conditions with low light levels. Combined with the features above, you can expect some seriously great shots.


As for the front-facing camera, it's exactly the same. The 7MP True Depth camera works equally as well on iPhone XR as it does on the Xs and Xs Max, making Animoji and Memoji possible.

You can shoot in 4K, record 1080p HD video at either 30 or 60fps and take slo-mo videos whenever you please. The digital zoom up to 3x on iPhone XR isn't quite as advanced however, compared to the Xs and Xs Max's ability to zoom up to 6x.

iPhone 8

The smaller brother to iPhone 8 Plus, you'll find a 12MP single-lens rear camera on the iPhone 8. However, unlike iPhone XR, this handset doesn't offer Portrait Lighting or Portrait Mode.

There is optical image stabilisation on board though, to help you focus on family members and friends who just won't stay still for a photo, and a Quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync to help you take snaps in darker environments. Auto HDR is also available, to help you accurately represent bright objects like the sky when other areas of the image are much darker.


The front-facing camera still measures 7MP, but on iPhone 8 you won't find Apple's True Depth camera system. Instead the Facetime HD camera is used to take your selfies, and help you chat to loved ones when you're far away using Facetime or another video messaging service, like Skype.

Finally, when it comes to video you'll be able to shoot in 4K and 1080p HD. The rear camera's recording ability can offer a digital zoom of up to 3x, and there's slo-mo support too.

iPhone 8 Plus

The dual-lens 12MP camera on iPhone 8 offers both a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens, helping you to squeeze more into one picture and zoom in further without sacrificing your image's quality. Single optical image stabilisation, a 2x optical zoom, a digital zoom up to 10x and the ability to record in 4K are all possible with iPhone 8 Plus as well.


However, Portrait Mode is only available on the rear camera and there's no advanced bokeh effect or Depth Control feature to hand. Portrait Lighting remains the same however, with its 5 fantastic effects. You'll be met by Auto HDR as well, not Smart HDR, so that may be something to consider when it comes to making your decision before you upgrade.

Like iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus also has a 7MP Facetime HD camera. You won't be able to create your own Memoji or Animoji, or use Face ID to unlock the device, but you certainly can take amazing selfies whenever you feel like it.

Whichever iPhone you choose, you can be confident that two high-spec cameras will be ready and waiting for you. And, whether you have your eye on iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone Xs Max, you'll always be able to find an unbeatable deal online at Mobiles.co.uk.