The iPhone 11 (and Pro) Ultra-wide Camera

iPhone 11 Ultra Wide

The new iPhone 11 (and Pro) sports a third lens. It is for ULTRA-wide shots, and pairs nicely with the standard wide lens and the telephoto lens.

But how wide is wide? The answer is 13mm! That is the equivalent on a DSLR. 13mm is pretty darn wide and should be a boon to landscape shooters, real estate photographers and architectural photographers.

The new ultra-wide lens offers a 120-degree field of view. The camera’s fixed aperture is either f/2.2 or f/2.4. Apple has published both specs. Either way, don’t let that scare you. If you have any experience with ultra-wide lenses (such as something in the 13mm range) you already know that at that focal length, pretty much anything that’s not a few feet away will be in focus. At f/2.2 (or f/2.4) the lens is fast enough to allow for lots of cool effects.

To help you see the difference, we’ve included the same picture (of the flagship Apple store in New York City) with the ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto lens. All images made from the same spot. Minor distortion correction was applied in Photoshop.

UltraWide
Captured With iPhone 11 Pro Max – Ultra Wide Lens
wide
Captured With iPhone 11 Pro Max – Ultra Wide Lens
telephoto
Captured With iPhone 11 Pro Max – Telephoto Lens

If you want to access the ultra-wide lens on the iPhone 11, tap the 1X button to switch to the 0.5x (ultra-wide) lens. If you’re on an iPhone 11 Pro, just tap the 0.5x button.

In case you were curious. You can use the ultra-wide lens in panorama mode, but it will result in a photo that is significantly more distorted than you’d get if you used the regular wide lens on the iPhone. Whether you consider that a good or bad thing is up to you.

CAVEAT

We don’t see it talked about much but remember that the new ultra-wide lens is NOT compatible with the phone’s built-in OIS (optical image stabilization.) OIS is only available when using the iPhone wide and telephoto lenses. This means you may want to invest in a small tripod or other device like a Platypod to steady your ultra-wide shots.

CONCLUSION

The new five-element, ultra-wide lens on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro is really quite something. Pair that with a good camera app, and some basic photographic knowledge and add some true artistic vision to the mix, and you’ll probably see some mind-blowing shots coming from this unit.


Image Credits: apple.com.

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Scott Bourne

Scott Bourne (ASINWP) is a professional wildlife photographer, filmmaker, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He’s been involved with photography for more than four decades and his work has appeared in more than 200 publications.

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