With the advent of the triple camera of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, computational smartphone photography reached a whole new level
A special feature of ProCamera is the ability to capture photos with the fusion camera, which creates amazing photos by combining the images of more than one lens, or alternatively utilize a single lens with custom settings and RAW output. Let’s take a look at why it’s so favorable to have this choice.
a) SINGLE LENS CAPTURE
“Single lens” means only one lens is used to capture the photo. This is primarily applicable to all single lens devices (e.g. iPhone XR), but also multi-cam devices like the new iPhone 11 Pro can make use of it in ProCamera.
To shoot with a single lens, like the standard wide lens, you need to activate the manual M mode or our semi-automatic SI mode in the Control Panel. Using only a single lens gives you complete freedom to dial in custom values for exposure time and ISO – and you can capture .dng RAW photos.
The brand new ultra wide angle lens of the latest iPhone generation presents a specialty. The f2.4 13mm equivalent lens can also be used as a single lens in ProCamera (e.g. 0.5x), but RAW output and manual focusing are not available. The ultra wide lens is fixed-focus – most likely because of the huge depth of field such wide angled lenses generally offer, where virtually anything is in focus anyway.
b) FUSION CAMERA (MULTIPLE LENSES)
“Fusion Camera” means two or more lenses are potentially used in tandem to enhance the image quality. By automatically and intelligently combining the sensor signal of more than one lens system, the final image can be optimized for detail, contrast, color, sharpness, dynamic range and low noise.
Based on the scene, the camera will select which lens(es) is/are utilized for the best possible result. When the first iPhones with two lenses arrived, this setting was called “Dual” – with the brand new triple camera iPhones being shipped, we now refer to this method as “Fusion”. It’s available on all devices with more than one lens.
Since the fusion camera combines the images of multiple lenses and even merges multiple exposures, setting explicit values for exposure time and ISO is not available – however, exposure compensation (EV dial) and exposure lock are available without restrictions. As a RAW file by definition contains the unprocessed sensor data, RAW capture is not possible with the fusion system, which is based on elaborate processing.
Single lens mode is indicated by a white circle around only one zoom factor (see screenshot above). To take photos in single lens mode on a multi-camera device, you only need to activate M or SI mode in the Control Panel. When switching lenses in single lens mode, you will notice a haptic feedback, which isn’t present in fusion mode.
Fusion camera mode is indicated by a white border around all available zoom factors (see screenshot above). To take photos in fusion mode on a multi-camera device, M or SI mode needs to be deactivated in the Control Panel.
In ProCamera v13.1, we combined digital zooming and selecting lenses into one handy control right on the capture screen. The displayed zoom factors can be quickly selected by tapping the round buttons. In single lens as well as fusion camera mode, you can also swipe over the zoom factor (left/right) to dial in a custom zoom. In fusion mode, the multiple lenses can work hand in hand to achieve better image quality than traditional digital zoom. Choose one of the base zoom factors (0.5x, 1x, 2x) for optimal results.
Single lens and fusion camera mode both have their distinct advantages – and with ProCamera, you have access to both! For general shooting, the fusion camera is a great choice, because it gives you that extra bit of image quality by combining the power of multiple lenses. For special cases, where you prefer to shoot in RAW format or want to dial in custom values for exposure time and ISO, the single lens mode stands ready. We put a lot of time and effort into reducing the complexity of this sophisticated multi-camera system – so you can easily select the best setting for the current scene to achieve optimal results.
PS In one of our next blog posts, we will take a close look at the fusion and single mode results. Stay tuned!