In an ocean of leaks, the iPhone 15 cameras managed to sneak in a few surprises

In an environment where so much information leaks, it’s always nice to actually learn something new from an Apple event. Last year, the whole software aspect of the Dynamic Island was one of those things. This year, the surprises are all about the iPhone 15 Pro camera system.

A few surprises were in the wrong direction. iPhone 15 Pro Max optical zoom, for example, is 5x. Not 6x or even 10x as rumored. You can’t blame Apple for not living up to rumors that were never accurate though, and the good stuff is really good.


For example, 48MP HEIF format joins 48MP ProRaw on the main camera. No more pro editing knowledge required to take advantage of the 48MP sensor.

When the iPhone 14 Pro launched last year, you needed a third-party camera app to do this. Fortunately, this feature isn’t limited to the iPhone 15 line either.

2x optical zoom everywhere

The 48MP sensor was rumored to come to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. What I didn’t consider was that the higher resolution sensor effectively adds a 2x optical zoom lens to the 0.5x and 1x camera system.

I’m sure some people connected the dots ahead of time. That’s how the iPhone 14 Pro works, of course, but it’s great to see on the non-Pro phones.

Spatial videos

Spatial video capture is another detail. Everyone knew spatial video capture was coming to the iPhone eventually after Vision Pro introduced it as a feature. We just didn’t know it would be before Vision Pro actually shipped. Impressive.


Other software surprises include focus editing on Portrait mode photos. This is technically a previously unannounced iOS 17 feature, but we didn’t expect it.

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max also use the new USB 3 transfer speeds well. Recording video to external storage? Sending photos to the Mac as you shoot? These all add up to some wonderful new things we learned this week.

And this list of unexpected features doesn’t even cover everything new with the iPhone 15 Pro camera! We’re excited to put all the new features to the test very soon.

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