Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are getting plenty of attention right now thanks to their cameras, for better and for worse. While there’s a storm brewing regarding the aggressive smoothing that appears to be going on as part of Smart HDR, it’s clear that the new cameras are certainly more capable than those in previous iPhones. In fact, a filmmaker who has been testing the iPhone XS in low-light situations has said that the results have been so impressive, it may be best to just let the stock Camera app take care of things rather than use a pro app like FiLMiC Pro to tweak the video.

According to Richard Lackey, the camera improvements that have gone into the 2018 lineup of iPhones should not be underplayed.

[Apple,] you’ve got my head spinning trying to figure out what kind of voodoo you’re pulling off in this phone […] The iPhone XS Max, XS and XR camera system seems to generate images that are beyond the sum of its parts.

While this may have “just” been a “S” year, the significance and impact of Apple’s clear direction towards sophisticated real time computational image processing should not be underestimated […]

With the iPhone XS Max I was able to capture clean video in very low light conditions. Not only was it clean, it had more color information in dark parts of the image than any previous generation iPhone I have shot with.

That’s quite the endorsement. And the glowing review continues with Lackey also saying that the low-light performance of the new cameras is particularly impressive, as is noise-reduction. Interestingly, it’s that noise-reduction that is causing a stir in the still photo world, with the results being altogether too smooth, flat, and blurry for some people’s liking.

However, when it comes to video performance, there is apparently a case for just letting the iPhone work its magic rather than trying to fiddle with the footage yourself.

I don’t see much reason to shoot with the flat or log gamma profiles. In fact I think the best results could very well come from letting the iPhone do it’s own thing. It may be doing a better job of maximizing recorded dynamic range through it’s own intelligent tone mapping than can be achieved manually.

We suspect someone in Apple’s camera team is glowing right about now.

(Source: Richard Lackey)

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