What the New iPhones’ 3 Camera Lenses All Add Up To

As smartphones increasingly compete on photography, an additional lens gives the iPhone significantly more information about the world around it

Dave Gershgorn
OneZero
Published in
5 min readSep 10, 2019

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Apple executives present the new photography features on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro line at the company’s keynote event on Tuesday.

The new iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max now have three big, chunky cameras.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, announced the new smartphones at a keynote event on Tuesday, boasting that the addition of a new lens adds the potential for greater creativity when shooting images and video with the smartphone. The three cameras are outfitted with a 13 mm ultra-wide-angle lens, a 26 mm wide-angle lens, and a 52 mm telephoto lens.

That allows for 4x optical “zoom,” Schiller noted, between the widest 13 mm camera lens and the longest 52 mm lens. (Technically, the iPhone is switching between lenses rather than actually zooming in or out with any of them.)

Apple also added new software features to its two-camera iPhone 11 versions, including Night Mode, which promises to improve image quality when shooting in much lower light. A software update later this year called Deep Fusion will also give the iPhone 11 Pros the ability to stitch together multiple images to make a higher-resolution final photo.

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Dave Gershgorn
OneZero

Senior Writer at OneZero covering surveillance, facial recognition, DIY tech, and artificial intelligence. Previously: Qz, PopSci, and NYTimes.